Mets Jacob DeGrom showed again Wednesday why he’s baseball’s best pitcher. After allowing a leadoff home run to Milwaukee’s Louis Ureas, he gave the Brewers another run in seven innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts. His earned run average actually went up – to 1.08 – but the Mets won the game, the doubleheader’s first, 4-3, in eight innings.
After the game, however, deGrom said he would reserve his dazzling performance for the Mets. He said he had decided to decline an invitation to the All-Star Game on Tuesday at Coors Field in Denver, where he would certainly have been the starter of the National League and might have faced the home run leader of the Majors, Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels, who was named as both a pitcher and designated hitter for an American League team.
“It’s a huge honor to be named to an All-Star Game, but I’m just going to spend that time with my family and get healthy for the second half,” said DeGrom, who was selected for the All-Star Game. stars four times. “It’s best for me and this team that I don’t go and rest for the second half,” he said.
DeGrom has made 15 starts this season – with 146 strikeouts and just 11 walks – but has suffered minor injuries to his back, flexor tendons and shoulder. He said he hoped a teammate, right-handed Taijuan Walker, would take his place. Walker, a nine-year veteran who has never been an All-Star, is 7-3 with a 2.44 ERA in his first season as the Mets.
“He deserves to go 100 percent,” DeGrom said.
Each team is required to have an All-Star representative, but that player is not necessarily active for the game. So while the Mets have no All-Stars other than DeGrom, the league is under no obligation to replace him with one of their teammates.
DeGrom reached a milestone on Wednesday, scoring his 1,500th career strikeout in just 198th game of his career. Only one pitcher has achieved 1,500 strikes in short appearances: U Darvas of the San Diego Padres, who did so last month in his 197th career game. DeGrom brought a smile to the mound when shortstop Francisco Lindor told him what he had done.
“I didn’t really know I was close to 1,500 until Lindor said, ‘Throw the ball in’ — and then I looked up and I was like, ‘Oh, whoa,'” DeGrom said. “It was very special.”