Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom dominated an injury rehab assignment in the low minor leagues Thursday night, and the party most prepared for it was the social media team of the Cardinals affiliate he pitched against.
Apparently not holding anything back after being sidelined for 11 days, deGrom reached triple digits in miles per hour with his fastball, striking out eight of the 10 batters he faced in three nearly perfect innings against the Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinals, a low Single-A team. His only baserunner reached on an error by one of deGrom’s temporary Gen Z teammates. Nerves. We get it, it’s deGrom.
As deGrom was predictably laying waste to the Cardinals, like Godzilla smashing a model skyline of Tokyo, the Twitter pilots for Palm Beach played their role perfectly.
There would be no help from the outside world.
And no help from deGrom’s teammates, who, uncharacteristically for deGrom, gave him lots of offensive support.
This was just brutal:
Finally, there was mercy.
Although he received no-decision in a 7-0 victory for St. Lucie, deGrom certainly was viewed as a big winner. And the P.B. Cardinals players, several as young as 18 and none older than 23, seemed to be gracious hosts despite having no chance against the 32-year-old perennial Cy Young candidate. Among them were left-hander John Beller, who struck out 10 himself and lived a dream by going up against deGrom:
Things began optimistically for Palm Beach in the first inning, with 19-year-old leadoff man Masyn Winn reaching on a throwing error by second baseman Jimmy Titus. Winn, possibly emboldened by a little hubris, promptly stole second base.
Oh, they had deGrom where they wanted him.
The next two batters, 18-year-old Jordan Walker and 21-year-old L.J. Jones, struck out on four pitches apiece. With two outs, Jacob Buchberger, 23, grounded out 5-3, his maturity paying off. And so it went. Everyone else deGrom faced struck out, including his last batter, Winn, in the third inning. No, you can’t steal first base.
A night earlier, Noah Syndergaard was on a rehab assignment of his own against Palm Beach for his first outing since Tommy John surgery. He shut out the Cardinals for four innings.
The big-league Mets have not had deGrom since an appearance on May 9, right before they put him on the injured list because of “right side tightness.” He seems to have loosened up after throwing 41 pitches against Palm Beach plus another simulated bullpen inning afterward. The Mets might give him another start in the minors before bringing him back to the big club. Oh, those poor underpaid young men.
Then again, well-paid major leaguers don’t deal well with deGrom either. He has an 0.68 ERA in 40 innings over six starts with the major-league Mets this season. He also has a 65-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and he’s only allowed 17 hits. So, yeah, there really isn’t an appropriate league for deGrom right now. He’s too good for all of them.
Same goes for @GoPBCardinals.