For Jacob deGrom, the actions were subtle: a quiet conversation with pitching coach Jeremy Hefner, a premature handshake with manager Luis Rojas, a walk down the clubhouse tunnel in the bottom of the sixth. Immediately, it was easy to consider the worst. For deGrom, a season of sheer brilliance has been mottled only by a series of minor health scares that have caused him to miss several starts.
While the Mets did announce after their 3-2 win over the Padres that deGrom had departed due to right flexor tendinitis, the two-time Cy Young Award winner quickly shoved aside any thought of it being a serious issue. Not only is deGrom unconcerned by the discomfort in his arm, but he intends to make his next start as scheduled Wednesday against the Cubs.
Added Rojas: “He expects to make his next start. I expect him to make his next start.”
The most jarring part of deGrom’s injury scare was how quickly it changed the narrative of his evening, following six of his most dazzling innings to date. Perfect through four, deGrom did not allow his first hit until Wil Myers grounded a ball past a shifted infield defense with one out in the fifth. He erased that runner on a caught stealing and had still faced the minimum through six innings, with 10 strikeouts, which made him the fastest player to fan 100 batters in a season in Major League history.
Before the game, general manager Zack Scott said the Mets intended to keep stretching deGrom’s pitch counts now that he is further removed from an IL stint that briefly sidelined him in May. This seemed like a prime opportunity, with a three-run lead and only 80 pitches on his ledger.