Should the Mets be concerned about Jacob deGrom? Last year’s NL Rookie of the Year was off from the outset Monday night and later told reporters, “it boils down to location.”
Well, it always boils to location and deGrom (3-4, 3.46 ERA) has been off in three of his last four starts. To put it bluntly, he’s been bad since his April 24, three-homer debacle at Yankee Stadium. Some hitters get their swings screwed up after a series in Fenway Park. Maybe this is the pitcher’s version.
DeGrom entered the Yankee Stadium game with a 2-1 record and 0.93 ERA and only one homer and three walks given up in his previous three starts. Since then, he has failed to pitch out of the sixth in three of those four starts. His ERA has spiked to 3.46, with five homers and nine walks given up. Batters are hitting .269 off him, which is 31 points above his career average.
“`I can’t throw the pitches that I want for strikes,” deGrom said about last night, but easily could have been speaking about the last month. “I made some mistakes over the middle of the plate and they seemed to hit it a long way.”
The pregame talk was of deGrom’s secondary pitches, but that’s the icing. The most important thing for a pitcher is getting ahead in the count with his fastball, and that’s something he’s not doing with consistency.
That’s how Collins described the problem.
“When he had to make a pitch, he didn’t make it – couldn’t make it,” Collins said. “You can talk secondary pitches all you want. You’ve got to locate your fastball. That’s what made him so good last year was the location – moving it around side to side.”
Collins said two words that are most important: locate and moving. With a fastball there’s velocity, movement and location. By order of important, it goes location, movement and velocity.
There’s no doubt his velocity is good, otherwise we would have heard of it decreasing. Because we haven’t, we can rule out something wrong with his arm.
Collins also said deGrom’s body language has been bad, which is a great, but startling admission for a manager to make. If he can see it from his dugout, the opposition can from theirs as well.
Last year was last year. DeGrom doesn’t have the same “stuff’’ or the same demeanor as he did last season.
Something is wrong. Collins didn’t come out and use the word “concerned,’’ but he didn’t have to.
ON DECK: Previewing Noah Syndergaard.