Jacob deGrom missed a couple of starts earlier in the season, but that didn’t seem to hinder him. He’s struggling to find reasons why he hasn’t been able to live up to his own expectations since.
He’s made a habit of dominating the Milwaukee Brewers, and doing so again should get his mind right.
The New York Mets have been struggling too, but they’re coming off a much-needed victory as deGrom takes the hill Saturday at Citi Field.
DeGrom (3-1, 2.50 ERA) had a solid first outing before missing one start with a minor shoulder injury and another while tending to a medical issue for his child. He still pitched well in his next two and had a 1.02 ERA prior to his fourth start.
He’s posted a 3.93 ERA while the Mets (23-18) have lost his three outings since. He wasn’t very sharp Sunday against Colorado, walking three — he issued five in his first five starts — while allowing three runs in 6 1/3 innings and getting a no-decision in the Mets’ 4-3 loss.
"I still don’t feel very comfortable on the mound. Front side still is not getting up where I want it to," deGrom said. "But I kept us in the ballgame — that was my main goal."
The right-hander has looked just fine in his last three starts against the Brewers, winning them all with a 0.44 ERA. Ryan Braun is 0 for 10 against deGrom, but he missed his third straight game in the opener and his status for this one is unclear.
Zach Davies (1-3, 5.58) has taken an opposite path during than deGrom, getting off to a rough start before coming on strong recently. He lost his first three starts with an 8.78 ERA, but he’s been showing improvement with a 3.12 ERA over his last three.
Davies gave up two runs in 6 1/3 innings and got a no-decision in the Brewers’ 3-2 win over San Diego on Sunday. He attributed that effort to some changes in his delivery.
"Small, mechanical things," Davies said after his longest start of the season. "Getting through the ball. Making sure I’m not stopping (my pitching motion) and limiting myself around the zone."
The right-hander has never faced the Mets, who had dropped six of seven prior to Friday’s 3-2 victory over the Brewers (18-24). They were outscored 37-13 during that slump, and their offense did just enough in the series opener.
Michael Conforto had two of the seven hits, including a two-run homer, as Steven Matz shut down Milwaukee for seven innings.
"It is nice to get that one after a rough series," Conforto said. "It feels like now we’re headed in the right direction."
The Brewers couldn’t get much going after taking two of three from the MLB-best Chicago Cubs. They finished with only three hits, one being Chris Carter’s two-run homer in the first.
"We did a good job of hitting with guys on base," manager Craig Counsell joked. "You have to give yourself opportunities."
Milwaukee will be without right fielder Domingo Santana after it placed him on the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s game.