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What Jacob deGrom threw in his first start of 2021

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deGrom relied heavily upon his fastball in his first start.

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

On Monday night, Jacob deGrom started his season strong. In six scoreless innings of work, he struck out seven, walked two, gave up three hits, and only threw 77 pitches. If not for the Mets’ long layoff between their last spring training game and their first real game of the year—thanks to a COVID outbreak among Nationals players—he might have been left in the game longer.

The Mets’ offense and bullpen ultimately failed deGrom in that game, thanks in part to some questionable in-game managerial decisions, but focusing on what deGrom did is never a bad thing. Early in the game, deGrom exclusively threw fastballs, and as the game went on, he mixed in some sliders.

In total, deGrom threw his fastball 59 times (76.6 percent) and his slider 18 times (23.4 percent), opting not to throw any changeups or his rarely-used curveball at all in the outing. But he topped out at 102.0 miles per hour with the fastball and averaged 98.8 with it, and he still had a very good 18.2 percent swinging strike rate in the game.

deGrom is so good that this kind of start seems routine, but it’s worth appreciating that he did so well despite keeping things so simple. And it will be fun to see what he chooses to do in his second start of the season on Saturday at Citi Field, as he’ll be working on regular rest.