The New York Mets enter the most consequential series of the 2022 MLB regular season tonight against the Atlanta Braves, but that doesn’t mean the Mets have issues going into this season-defining tilt. Fans should look at multiple concerns in different parts of the roster as the division rivals collide with the Mets holding a one game lead with six games to go.
1) Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom has struggled as of late, just in time for the biggest regular season start of his careeer.
It is rare for a two-time Cy Young award winner and the best pitcher in baseball to be an issue for one’s own team, but that is exactly the case with the Mets and Jacob deGrom.
In each of his last three starts, against the Cubs, Pirates, and A’s, he is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA and is coming off one of the worst of his 208 career regular season starts on Saturday against the A’s, where he gave up five runs (four in the first inning) in just four innings pitched. It was clear his command was the slightest bit off, and the A’s, the team with the worst team batting average in a non-shortened season in 54 years, went off.
Now, Buck Showalter moved deGrom ahead of Chris Bassitt to pitch the series opener tonight. It is mainly for name recognition and his matchup against the Braves is favorable since they strike out a lot and that deGrom has 14.0 strikeouts per nine frames this year. But the Braves offense is much better than the other teams that deGrom has faced, and deGrom must locate his pitches well, or else this Braves team, one that has hit a NL-best 234 home runs, may very well mash the ball out.