Despite another early exit for New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom, the Amazin’s managed to pull out a win. This is the second start in a row where number 48 has left the game early. Last time it was six innings, this time it was three.
Obviously, deGrom missing time is not ideal. This rings especially true in the next stretch of games where the Mets play 32 games in 30 days including several doubleheaders. To use Internet speak, we must protect Jake at all costs!
Mets should limit deGrom’s between starts activities
It’s quite possible that no professional athlete is as in tune with their body as Jacob deGrom. The way he tunnels his delivery and pitches is as consistent as hitters swinging at his slider out of the zone. This is the key to his success. Another key to his success – multiple bullpen sessions.
deGrom is quoted as saying it was something he learned from John Smoltz. Most pitchers will throw one bullpen session in between starts to keep their arms loose. Jake throws two. Another thing he does is throw the entire year. Many pitchers will take some time off or lightly throw in the offseason. For the two-time Cy Young winner, there are no days off. This is why he hits 100 mph in spring training.
The Mets have been very cautious with their prized commodity, taking him out early, and not over-taxing his innings. However, it seems he’s the one who’s maybe not being careful.
The deGrom program works, but at what cost?
It’s clear that what deGrom has decided to do as his throwing program works. Another big part of his success is the relatively low mileage on his arm because of his late start to pitching and joining the big leagues. But, there’s a chance those miles are catching up to him because of the quality of excellence he always pitches at.
His pinpoint mechanics with incredible up to 102 mph speed certainly can’t be good for an elbow and shoulder, especially on his 190-pound frame at age 32. Despite the effortlessness at which he throws, there’s something both mentally and physically happening to his body that is creating max effort on his arm. If you do this three times a week or more depending on how his starts line up, fatigue seems natural.
Think about the latest two injuries. One was elbow tendonitis. Tendonitis is a reoccurring, nagging injury that is typically managed with rest or in worst cases surgery. deGrom isn’t resting, he’s still throwing and testing his elbow. Now his shoulder is sore. Why is his shoulder sore? Is it possible that throwing all those pitches so hard is not a great way to keep a shoulder loose?
It also doesn’t help that he’s swinging the bat, no matter how good he is at it (and clutch). In fact, if you paid attention to his at-bat where he drove in yet another run, you see him kind of grimace after a swing and take a practice cut while flexing his shoulder. Swinging the bat left-handed as he does, puts torque on the right shoulder with his follow-through. If he was a right-handed batter, this wouldn’t be a problem at all because his follow-through would be left-handed.
So what do the Mets and deGrom do?
The solution to that question is tough. Even Jacob himself seemed at a loss for words in the press conference for the next steps. He’s determined to try and make his next start, but the fact of the matter is, he just might need to slow down. If going on the IL isn’t something needed, then rest that arm! We know if he goes on the IL, he’s going to keep his routine until he’s ready and we’ll see the same thing.
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Pitchers don’t have historic seasons when they slow down, but then again, injured ones don’t either.