At least for one night, Jacob deGrom was mortal.
Not just in the way he threw the ball — his six innings were the least he has thrown since May 13 and his three earned runs were the most he has allowed since April 16 — but in the way he uncharacteristically showed some frustration on the mound for the first time in what’s been a downright frustrating season.
The Mets ace was irritated by home plate umpire Ed Hickox’s strike zone and, at least in a few instances, let it be known in the Mets’ 8-3 loss to the Dodgers at Citi Field on Saturday night.
“I don’t think I lost it mentally. I was frustrated with myself,” deGrom said. “Change-up was terrible, slider was good at times, but other times it wasn’t even close to being a strike. I had one pitch, the fastball, that I couldn’t really locate. You’re trying to get big league hitters out with a pitch you don’t really know where it’s going and the other ones were garbage. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”
One of the pitches deGrom appeared most bothered by was a 1-2 change-up that came in at the bottom of the zone to pinch-hitter Chris Taylor with two outs in the fourth inning. Hickox called it a ball and Taylor roped the next pitch for a two-run double that gave the Dodgers the lead for good, 3-2.
The final line was still one most pitchers would be satisfied with — six innings, five hits, three runs, three walks, six strikeouts and 112 pitches — but deGrom was not happy with himself on a night he lacked his typical command.
Before Saturday, deGrom had allowed one earned run or less in 10 of his past 11 starts, but his lack of run support was no different on this night. The Mets sank to 6-10 started by the right-hander.
Meanwhile, deGrom’s name has been at the center of plenty of trade talks in recent weeks as the Mets continue their slide into the basement of the NL East.
All of that would be grounds for frustration, something manager Mickey Callaway said they continue to monitor.
“I think you’re always concerned with those type of things, so we have conversations with him often just to make sure he’s in a good spot,” Callaway said. “They’re probably never needed. He always takes it one day at a time and focuses on the things he can control. That’s what makes him so good.”
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