And with nine more strikeouts on Wednesday, deGrom tied Nolan Ryan’s record 59 strikeouts in his first five appearances of a season.
DeGrom’s debut has long garnered attention, but this year it was elevated to date viewing, just as it did when Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Pedro Martinez and even Matt Harvey featured. at home. The stands were often full and the buzz palpable when these aces were in their prime numbers.
This year, seating capacity is limited at Citi Field due to the coronavirus pandemic, but 8,000 fans are still able to make a fuss when deGrom is at its peak, as it was against Washington. On Wednesday, they felt he was not on the same level, especially when it took 10 shots to rule out Nick Pivetta, the opposing starting pitcher, who fouled on six consecutive shots before hitting in the third.
This is not supposed to happen against deGrom. The teams also didn’t hit him with three hard doubles as he throws his best tricks. But he allowed just two earned runs all year and lost those two games, prompting more questions about the Mets batting lack of running support.
“I try not to think about it too much,” said deGrom. “I’m more disappointed not to have been able to throw in the second set.
The pitchers who were mercilessly booed after being punched were far less critical of themselves than deGrom was on Wednesday night. He said his mechanisms were off so he couldn’t locate his fastball, especially in the strike zone. He said it helped a good team like the Red Sox to profit.
But really, they only took advantage of it once. Xander Bogaerts started the second set with a brace against the wall in left field, and a strikeout later Christian Vazquez doubled on the right, scoring Bogaerts. That was it. The only other success deGrom returned was a brace down the right field line by Rafael Devers with two strikeouts in the fourth inning, then he struck out Vazquez.