NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom pitched through the rain and around an hour-long delay, and before a second stoppage forced him out of the Mets' 10-2 win Friday over the Cubs at Citi Field, his stuff looked as good as it has all season.The Mets right-hander shut down one of
NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom pitched through the rain and around an hour-long delay, and before a second stoppage forced him out of the Mets' 10-2 win Friday over the Cubs at Citi Field, his stuff looked as good as it has all season.
The Mets right-hander shut down one of the highest-scoring offenses in baseball for five-plus innings, holding Chicago to three hits and a run with seven strikeouts. As important as the result was how he got it. In his 14th start of a season in which his pitches haven't been at the level of his All-Star 2015 season, deGrom's repertoire finally resembled that of a year ago.
His fastball hit 97 mph for the first time all season, according to Statcast™, and also averaged 95 -- a velocity he sustained across the entirety of 2015 -- for the first time. It had been sitting in the lower 90s most of the year. His slider averaged over 90 mph for the first time this year, and deGrom's changeup and curveball were also as hard as they've been.
"I'm finally starting to get everything in line," deGrom said. "Honestly, I felt like I wasn't trying to throw as hard and it was coming out better."
Only in his most recent starts has deGrom's velocity, and the sharpness on his pitches, started to return. Friday's game was more progress. deGrom had been battling his mechanics -- dropping his front side and falling off toward first base -- which was depressing his stuff.
The tough part, he said, wasn't dealing with the constant mechanical struggle during outings. He was able to work through that -- deGrom had a 2.67 ERA even before beating the Cubs. What was weighing on him was his inability to correct what he saw as straightforward issues.
"I think just not being able to make the mechanical fix that I needed to was getting frustrating," deGrom said. "Taking so long to be able to figure out and finally get my front side up was kind of frustrating, because it doesn't seem like it would be that tough to do."
On Friday, he said, all his pitches were signs that he's ironing out the kinks. He cited the quality of his changeup against the Cubs as an indicator since it "hasn't been good all year" as well as his ability to get strikeouts on high, running fastballs.
"That kind of tells me that my fastball's where I want it to be -- kind of deceptive," deGrom said.
All season, the Mets have been banking on deGrom's recovery, as well as Matt Harvey's, as two key pieces of the dynamic rotation that led them to the 2015 World Series. Both of them, lately, are starting to look like they could be turning a corner.
"It's been hard, it's tough to stay with, because it's a process involved," manager Terry Collins said. "But you saw from Harvey the other day, it's starting to come back; Jake's starting to come back."
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.