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deGrom, Ramos pairing 'still work in progress'

March 7, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Mets ace Jacob deGrom took preparing for his first Opening Day start to a new level on Thursday afternoon. During the Mets' 6-4 loss on Thursday, deGrom, the NL’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, faced a Nationals lineup that featured six of the team’s eight

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Mets ace Jacob deGrom took preparing for his first Opening Day start to a new level on Thursday afternoon.

During the Mets' 6-4 loss on Thursday, deGrom, the NL’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, faced a Nationals lineup that featured six of the team’s eight projected starters, including former All-Stars Ryan Zimmerman, Brian Dozier and Yan Gomes. First baseman/outfielder Matt Adams served as the designated hitter, a role he could hold in American League ballparks.

deGrom will hope for better results when he makes his first Opening Day start on March 28 against the Nationals after he allowed two runs and walked two in three innings, leaving with the Mets down, 2-0.

“Those guys gotta get ready, too,” deGrom said. “So I figured they would get most of their guys in the lineup.”

The Nationals also started regulars Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. deGrom struck out Turner in both at-bats and also punched out Adams and center fielder Michael A. Taylor, who started in place of top prospect Victor Robles.

“I’ve seen them before,” deGrom said. “Probably pitch them different during the year. Spring Training is to get your work in, so you have a little bit better game plan in the regular season.”

deGrom gave up a sacrifice fly to Zimmerman in the first inning before pitching a perfect second frame. Adam Eaton cranked a 3-2 pitch to left field with one out in the third for his first home run of the spring.

“Changeup up, that’s probably not normal, the home run,” deGrom said. “And then the four-pitch walk to Eaton, those are really what I’m a little upset about, but other than that, I felt like I threw the ball pretty well.”

deGrom said he tried to throw more offspeed pitches and didn’t feel as comfortable as he did in last Friday’s start against the Tigers. Of deGrom's 60 pitches, 43 of them went for strikes, though he allowed two walks.

There were only three times last season where deGrom walked multiple hitters and gave up a home run in the same game. None of those outings came after July 1.

“Same approach as last year, just control what I can control,” deGrom said. “And go out there and establish the strike zone.”

deGrom said he’s still working to forge a strong relationship with catcher Wilson Ramos, a two-time All-Star the Mets signed in December. deGrom mentioned miscommunication between the two as a reason for Thursday’s struggles, citing a cross-up when he wanted to throw a backdoor slider to one of Washington’s left-handed hitters.

deGrom has allowed three runs in three innings this spring with Ramos catching. He pitched three scoreless innings and struck out four against the Tigers in Lakeland last week when throwing to Devin Mesoraco, who served as his personal catcher for most of last season.

“It’s still a work in progress,” deGrom said of Ramos. “He’s new, he’s got to get used to what I like to do, and he’s done a good job asking us what we want to do. I think it’s just getting into those situations and really figuring out, seeing like my game plan and my approach.”