We won’t see Jacob deGrom suit up for the New York Mets until probably September at the absolute earliest. Regularly hurt throughout this year, deGrom was having an MVP-caliber campaign when able to stay on the mound.
The problem: he hasn’t been able to do so at a consistent rate.
Landing on the IL in the second half for what should be his longest stay there of the year is a blow to the Mets’ chances at capturing the NL East. It can’t possibly be the end, though. He only plays every fifth day. One starting pitcher cannot possibly make that much of a difference.
So why does it feel like losing him hurts more than it logically could?
The Mets starting pitching depth remains questionable
Maybe it’s because there’s no one guy in the Mets rotation we can count on to end a losing streak anymore. Taijuan Walker’s first half seems like a distant memory. Marcus Stroman, while still able to turn in good starts, has a losing record this year. It’s not all his fault. He hasn’t risen to the occasion enough for us to view him as a suitable replacement for deGrom.
The long-awaited Mets debut of Carlos Carrasco does provide some ease to our troubles. Even if he has to progress slowly, at least we know there’s a veteran who has pitched well in the past and should be able to do more than many of the Four-A starters the club has used.
A similar feeling comes from the thought of Rich Hill on the mound. Another seasoned veteran making a Mets debut recently, he’s an experienced postseason arm we can hopefully see start some big games down the stretch and maybe even into October.
Finally, there’s Tylor Megill. Seemingly invincible until his most recent outing, my worry with him is how many innings he actually gets.
Without deGrom, the Mets could seemingly have an August rotation of Stroman, Walker, Carrasco, Hill, and Megill. It’s not too shabby. The idea of Noah Syndergaard returning is another added element—but we all know not to count on that this month or maybe even in September at all.
deGrom is important to the Mets even if he can’t contribute to each game. I know it doesn’t make sense to wave a white flag when any one individual player is lost; particularly in the case of a starting pitcher.
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No Mets fan has given up yet. The team has not relinquished first place for months and there’s no sign of anyone catching the club and pinning them down. The loss of deGrom should only be temporary anyway. For a positive spin to end it, maybe this just means a fresher arm for the games that really count.