NEW YORK — It’s a shame – for Jacob deGrom, for baseball, for all of us.
DeGrom, the New York Mets ace who now has a 0.54 ERA, might be the most dominant player in baseball this season. He slings 102 mph fastballs, laces run-scoring hits and dashes around the bases. In almost every situation, he is superior to his opponent.
And yet, he’s fallen victim to something that is sometimes out of an athlete’s control: Injuries.
The latest scare came when he departed Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Cubs after three perfect innings – in which he struck out eight of nine batters he faced – because of right shoulder soreness. This injury comes after the right flexor tendinitis, which followed the right side tightness.
Mets ace Jacob deGrom left Wednesday night's game against the Cubs after three innings due to right shoulder soreness. (Photo: Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports)
Injuries have ripped away deGrom from the mound at certain points this season. They’ve kept him from showcasing his greatness as often as he – and Mets fans – would like.
At this point, there seems to be a collective weight on the fanbase. With each new injury scare, fans worry more and more.
And it’s because everyone understands this: deGrom is putting together a season we’ve never seen before. He entered Wednesday’s start with the lowest ERA (0.56) and lowest WHIP (0.53) ever for a pitcher through his first 10 starts of the season. Not only is he the NL Cy Young front-runner, but he is a legitimate NL MVP candidate.
Following three perfect innings on Wednesday, deGrom still holds the majors’ longest active scoreless streak at 25 innings. He has driven in six runs at the plate while only allowing four on the mound.
Sticky situation: Unlike past MLB scandals, players face instant scrutiny in crackdown on foreign substances
He is incredible, unbelievable, otherworldly, superhuman.
Which is why we all worry.
The sport is better with its superstars – especially when they are at their best. Somehow, deGrom keeps improving. You think he’s at his best, then he outdoes himself five days later. Not only is he untouchable, but he’s provided a spark offensively.
Jacob deGrom’s 2021: 6 RBI, 4 ER allowed
He’s now hitting .423 🤯 pic.twitter.com/p4Rgzkyyhs
We deserve to watch someone like Jacob deGrom. Baseball needs him, and its fans crave him.
His injuries this season, however, seem concerning. They bring questions, like: Does deGrom throwing 100-plus mph consistently increase his injury risk? They also bring a dose of reality, like: Even the best aren't immune to injuries.
It's far too soon to speculate how deGrom's latest injury, the right shoulder soreness, will affect his season. Or the Mets' season.
But we do know this: He is the Mets' best player and, without him, their road to achieving their ultimate goal of winning the World Series is much tougher. That's simply a fact.
Scott Boras: Superagent demands explanation for illegal-substance rule from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred
Of course, let's hope we don't have that conversation. As human beings, we should be rooting for deGrom to not be dealing with anything too serious. Baseball is better with him on the mound every five days.
DeGrom on Wednesday had just completed three perfect innings. He didn't have his best stuff, but the Cubs couldn't touch him as only one of the nine batters he faced put the ball into play.
All of the sudden, the Mets' bullpen stirred. Then came the worst: deGrom never returned to the mound.
Once again, the Mets are left hoping and praying this isn't serious.
Justin Toscano is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. Email: [email protected]; Twitter: @justinctoscano
Source: Read Full Article