Friday, May 16, 2014

New York Mets' Rookie deGrom Ends the Teams' Pitchers' 0-64 Slump

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The New York Mets have had a slight problem with their pitchers this season. Not necessarily with their actual pitching performances, although the Mets have had better years in regard to pitching statistics - the problem was with their bats. Being primarily a fan of the American League and the designated hitter, I really did not see that this was some kind of record. Had I heard mention of the hitless streak? Sure. Did it mean that much to me? Not really. 

A huge proponent for the National League to just give in and adopt the DH, it did not occur to me that anything was amiss. I watch interleague play, of course, but I always assumed that pitchers just did not really put in much effort towards hitting (I have seen that Bartolo Colon has had some interesting at-bats since joining the Mets but I loved watching him literally stand there and look at the opposing pitcher like they were crazy ... I miss him on the A's!).

That the Mets' pitchers were 0-64 to start the season? In my mind was really a "so what, who cares?" type thing. Pitchers, in my little world at least, are just not supposed to hit. Seriously, I sound like a ridiculous baseball fan to some people when I say things like that but I definitely believe it (I do not think that the NL's lack of the DH makes anything THAT much more "strategic" - Am I biased? YES! Grew up an A.L. girl but still this is a "smart persons' sport" which I believe and a smart person should be able to see the merits of the DH vs. anything slightly "strategic- but whatever, that's just my opinion). It opens them up to injury and half of them are not even good at it anyway. Actually I'd say more than half but whatever I'm completely digressing from the story at hand ... one I actually found to be quite cute and interesting.

So as I was saying the Mets' pitchers were a Major League Baseball record 0-64 at the plate to start the season. I'm sure to the Mets' fans that seemed like an eternity and I guess it is. They broke the previous record held by the 1914 St. Louis Browns who opened their season in an 0-45 slump. A century is a long time to hold a record, however random or unpleasant, and the Mets pitchers beat it by being worse by 19 at-bats! Damn! 

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But as all streaks must come to an end the Mets' undesirable one did Thursday when rookie pitcher, Jacob deGrom, singled in the third inning of the final game of the Subway Series against the New York Yankees. The story would still be a good one if I only described deGrom as a "rookie." However, it the first MLB start of this kid's career as well as his first big league at-bat. He was a shortstop and would sometimes come in to pitch, in a relief role, while playing in college at Stetson University. 

The 25-year old was a starting pitcher during his four seasons in the minors going 21-11 in 58 starts with a 3.62 ERA but he would not have been the person you, I or anyone else would have picked to break the Mets' pitchers' hitless streak. deGrom hit .176 in just 34 plate appearances during time in the minors and he had only just been brought up from Triple-A Las Vegas to replace injured Mets' starter, Dillon Gee. Gee is on the disabled list with a right lat strain.

Even though the Mets went on to lose the game to the Yankees by a score of 1-0, I'd consider this somewhat of a win for deGrom - breaking the hitless streak, getting his first major league hit and compiling some good statistics - giving up just one run on four hits while striking out six and walking only two. The one run came on a RBI double in the seventh inning by Alfonso Soriano. I feel for the Mets since they didn't get the win but they will get more wins if deGrom pitches and hits the way he did at Citi Field on Thursday afternoon. The Mets and Yankees split the four game each winning two games apiece.

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