Studious deGrom ready to take ball for Mets
WASHINGTON -- From the Mets' perspective, Bartolo Colon's Opening Day win couldn't have primed their rotation any better. Colon's work done, the Mets will now hand their 1-0 record to their two best pitchers on paper, with reigning National League Rookie of the Year Award winner Jacob deGrom starting Game 2 of the season on Wednesday, followed by Matt Harvey in Game 3.
Soaking in his first career Opening Day in the visiting dugout Monday, deGrom watched Colon dominate the Nationals by keeping the ball low in the strike zone the entire afternoon. He plans to mimic that blueprint to the best of his ability on Wednesday, albeit with a few more breaking balls mixed in and much more velocity.
"That's always my game plan: throw strikes and keep it down," deGrom said. "So watching him, I learned some things from him that I'm going to take into Wednesday."
Don't, however, expect deGrom to go seven or eight innings in his first start of the season. As one of two young pitchers with whom the Mets are being "somewhat conservative," in the words of general manager Sandy Alderson, deGrom never threw more than 81 pitches in a Spring Training game. Like Harvey, the Mets will limit him to approximately 90 pitches during his first regular-season start.
"I'll just go out there and go as long as they let me go," deGrom said.
A year ago, deGrom did not come close to making New York's Opening Day roster, resting beneath Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jenrry Mejia, Noah Syndergaard, Rafael Montero and at least three others on the starting-pitching depth chart. But injuries forced the Mets to turn almost immediately to deGrom, who responded with a 2.69 ERA in 22 starts and Rookie of the Year honors.
It was enough for the Mets to entrust deGrom with their second game of the season, lining him up for next week's home opener as well.
"I feel like every game's a big deal, so I'm not going to think too much about that," deGrom said. "I just go out there every time and no matter who steps in, or who I'm throwing against, just try to put us in a position to win."