Panic is all Mets fans know. When everything routinely goes wrong on a regular basis, nobody knows how to handle a wildly successful stretch and an expanding division lead. So when the staff ace surrenders his second six-run shelling in five starts, how can Panic City not hold a town hall meeting?
Over the last 30 days, Jacob deGrom has allowed 41 hits and 20 earned runs through 34.1 innings, pegging him with a 5.24 ERA and 1.43 WHIP. Baseball folklore tells us the ace is supposed to halt losing streaks, not snap winning ones. On Tuesday night, however, the light-hitting Miami Marlins amassed 10 hits and six runs off deGrom to end a run of eight straight wins.
And let the worrying ensue. After all, his two blow-up outings came against the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, two NL East weaklings the Mets have generally bullied this season. With their odds of winning the division up to 99.4 percent, everyone can't help but look ahead to a probable postseason duel against Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke.
Let's relax and take a deeper look. Over that same 30-day sample size, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year has compiled 37 strikeouts and eight walks with no dip in velocity. He has, however, endured a .367 BABIP and 17.9 HR/FB percentage, with three of five dingers coughed up in the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park. His 2.89 xFIP is actually lower than his season's 3.00 clip.
Some good fortune on batted balls allowed deGrom to flirt with a sub-two ERA during the season, but he ran into instant regression with two ugly outings. This is still a pitcher with a 2.64 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 22 quality starts in 28 outings. Let's not overreact to a recent bad turn.
Yesterday pushed him to a career-high 181 innings, which introduces the possibility of fatigue kicking in down the stretch. Despite the 27-year-old's desire not to skip any start, it's not a bad idea to give deGrom a breather if New York maintains a comfortable division lead. But let's not assume his arm is falling off. Even Greinke has given up five runs twice this year.