Mike Stobe/Getty Images
New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom enjoyed his return to the Citi Field mound on Sunday.
“It was a bit emotional going out,” said deGrom told reporters after a 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. “A big ovation. It lasted a bit, took it all in and then tried to focus.”
Anthony DiComo @Anthony DiComo
🎥 Jacob deGrom on his dominant start: pic.twitter.com/O5uLHMBH8q
The righthander hit 5.2 innings, gave up two earned runs on one basehit and struckout 12 batters.
Jacob de Grom pitching. Simple man who blares.
Sports Center @Sports Center
Jacob deGrom DEALDE
12 strikeouts in only 5.2 innings pitched 😤 pic.twitter.com/WIvdhfNA6I
DeGrom made his highly anticipated season debut on Tuesday in a 5-1 road loss against the Washington Nationals. He had been out of action for over a year due to forearm and elbow problems and then a stress reaction in his shoulder.
Despite his lengthy layoff, the two-time Cy Young winner barely missed a beat. Any fear that he might have lost some speed was unfounded.
Sarah Langs @SlangsOnSports
fastest pitches in MLB so far today
deGrom threw 1 inning pic.twitter.com/q9Uhu4yo1R
Some fans were impressed by New York’s last minute business before the MLB trading deadline. General manager Billy Eppler opted for fringe upgrades rather than transformative deals, adding Mychal Givens, Tyler Naquin, Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf.
Getting back a healthy deGrom has much more impact than all those acquisitions. They may now have the best starting pitcher in baseball again, just in time for the stretch run.
The Mets have the best World Series odds (16.9 percent) of any team on FanGraphspartly because manager Buck Showalter can lean on a playoff rotation from deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt.
This year was quite a contrast for the Mets.
Fans have grown accustomed to seeing deGrom shine on teams that fell short of expectations, as the Mets have not made the playoffs since 2016. Now they are on track to second highest win percentage in franchise history despite being without deGrom for the first few months of the season.
The 34-year-old is now getting an active role in the Mets’ pennant pursuit.