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Mets get bounce from deGrom's rebound

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Although he isn't sure why or how it began, sometime during the course of this early season, right-hander Jacob deGrom began to rely less on his curveball and changeup.

The Mets believe that's one of the reasons he struggled in his previous two outings and wanted deGrom to work on getting more offspeed pitches into his repertoire.

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NEW YORK -- Although he isn't sure why or how it began, sometime during the course of this early season, right-hander Jacob deGrom began to rely less on his curveball and changeup.

The Mets believe that's one of the reasons he struggled in his previous two outings and wanted deGrom to work on getting more offspeed pitches into his repertoire.

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Leading up to Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Orioles, deGrom spent time watching video from last season's outings and his first three starts this season.

"We tweaked some things there, and it's helped my offspeed [pitches]," deGrom said.

deGrom got back to using those pitches on Wednesday, surrendering just one run on six hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings, with the K's and the frames marking season highs. He began establishing his changeup from the first inning -- striking out center fielder Adam Jones -- and getting stronger as the game went on.

"His changeup got so good toward the end of last summer that it became a huge pitch for him," manager Terry Collins said. "He has kind of got away from it a little bit, and we want him to re-establish that. We talked the other day; he's got to use his curveball."

deGrom acknowledged after the game that he is still learning. He has had so much success through his short career that it might be easy to forget he had not even made his Major League debut by this time last season.

There are times when deGrom's talent can get him through a jam, such as the fifth inning on Wednesday. The Orioles had loaded the bases and had left-hander Chris Davis at the plate. After deGrom fell behind, 2-0, catcher Kevin Plawecki visited the mound to calm his pitcher for a brief moment before deGrom got back in the count and struck out Davis to end the threat.

Video: BAL@NYM: deGrom fans Davis to escape trouble

That cemented a bounceback start for deGrom, who had lost his last two starts, allowing 11 runs over 10 1/3 innings against the Yankees and Nationals. Although he threw a lot of offspeed pitches against the Yankees, he was not sharp from the start of that game. Against Washington, however, Collins believed deGrom relied too heavily on his fastball, and even though it hovers consistently around 95 mph, the overall struggle represented a larger trend to start the season.

In 2014, deGrom threw his changeup 11.92 percent of the time and his curveball 9.90, numbers that were down to 10.54 percent and 7.53 percent, respectively, this season.

"We mixed and changed speeds really well tonight," Plawecki said. "And that's why I think he had so much success."

• Binghamton right-hander Domingo Tapia underwent Tommy John surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Tuesday. He went 6-8 with a 3.96 ERA for Class A Advanced St. Lucie last season.

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom