The Mets took a huge sigh of relief today as Jacob deGrom looked super sharp beating the Braves 4 to 2 with 5 innings of one-hit ball showing no after effects of the body discomfort he had been experiencing in his last start.
He threw all of his pitches with pinpoint command as his fastball and slider had super late movement. He even shrugged off the umpire checking for a sticky substance having a smile on his face throughout the whole process. Seth Lugo gave up a 2 run homer to Ozzie Albies in the 6th but Edwin Diaz shut the door with another no nonsense dominating inning earning his 15th save of the season.
The offense got a first inning run without a base hit as Jonathan Villar scored on a wild pitch after a walk and a stolen base and in the 5th inning Dom Smith laced a three run double down the line that put the Braves away for good. Smith is starting to hit the ball better in the past few weeks especially in RBI situations and Met fans got a chance to see Jeff McNeil who lined a pinch hit single prior to Smith’s big hit. His presence in this lineup can be huge in this stretch with so many twin bills in the future for this team.
But the story on this day was the Met ace as the best pitcher in baseball keeps piling up scoreless innings fooling hitters and that is music to the ears of Met fans. This homestand features 8 games with the Braves and Phils giving the Mets a chance to place even more distance between themselves and the other teams in the NL East. And the pitcher who might indeed be the MVP got the week off to a good start with a pain-free dominating performance.
That performance also included a stellar defensive play as he snared a line shot showing his infielder like prowess to field his position. Just all in a day’s work for the best pitcher on the planet. I have run out of ways the describe him but he is an automatic punch press and watching him perform is like watching a great artist paint a masterpiece. You can see the finished product but you also can watch how he executes his greatness making it believable because you see every portion of his work.
When deGrom entered the sport, his fastball was dominating low in the strike zone but as the launch angle became a huge part of baseball, he knew he had to adapt so he now combines a rising fastball with a drop off the table slider leaving so many hitters shaking their heads after leaving the batters box after a strikeout. And he does all this with pinpoint control while being the most competitive hurler I have been around.
That is the mark of a championship pitcher and I remember watching Tom Seaver in this town as a youngster going to Shea Stadium. And every game I watch Jacob deGrom pitch he makes me fondly remember Tom Terrific who must be watching the game from up above with a big Kool Aid grin every time deGrom takes the mound.