Jacob deGrom and the Mets got some good news on Thursday regarding the ace's health status.
UPDATE: Jacob deGrom's MRI revealed no ligament damage. He's going to try to start Monday. #Mets— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 3, 2018
DeGrom hyper-extended his right elbow during his third inning at bat on Wednesday night. He returned to pitch the fourth, then removed himself from the game. He has not surrendered a run in his last 18.2 innings and has pitched to a 1.87 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP this season.
Obviously, losing Jake for any time would have been a setback, especially for a team that has regressed back toward the mean since their 11-1 start. DeGrom is the ace of this staff, and no team wants to lose its ace. But the fact that there is no structural damage should allow everyone involved in this team to breathe a huge sigh of relief. And even if Monday doesn't go according to plan and they have to do without Jake for a few starts, if the Mets want to contend, they need to keep going.
The Dodgers have lost Clayton Kershaw for stretches each of the last two seasons, which left their rotation to be anchored by guys like Alex Wood, Kenta Maeda, and Rich Hill. Good MLB pitchers, but hardly a dream rotation. They won the NL West both seasons. The Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright for the 2011 season...and won the World Series. So no matter how many times deGrom toes the rubber for the Mets this year, no one should be packing it in. Quite the contrary: It's time for next man up.
If deGrom can go in Cincinnati on Monday and he's 100 percent, fantastic. Bullet dodged. If not, Matt Harvey or Corey Oswalt will likely take his turn, and it's up to them to be worthy of that spot. If deGrom does end up needing time off, it's up to the others in the rotation -- from enigmas like Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler to presumably-steady veteran Jason Vargas -- to dial it up a notch, for the offense to get itself in gear, and for the bullpen to not squander any chances to win valuable games.
Without deGrom, the Mets would undoubtedly have a smaller margin or error. Fortunately, it looks like that may not be the case. But in the event there is a set back, they have plenty of bullets left in the chamber. They're going to have to make sure their marksmanship is precise.
Photo credit: Charles Wenzelberg