Even though he won the Rookie of the Year award last season, it is likely only the most knowledgeable of baseball fans really know who Jacob deGrom is. That all changed Friday night in sunny Los Angeles, where he had his coming out party.
“Before the game, I was pretty nervous,” said deGrom. “But once I got out there warming up, I kind of settled down. It really went away after the first pitch I threw.”
Given the national stage for the first time, all Jacob deGrom did was outduel Clayton Kershaw, the best pitcher of this generation. He threw seven shutout innings, allowing five hits and one intentional walk. deGrom also struck out 13 batters, tying him with some guy named Tom Seaver for the Mets record for strikeouts in a playoff game.
“He was unbelievable right from the get-go,” Travis d’Arnaud said. “He had command of all four of his pitches, and he was just being himself out there, having fun. There’s a lot of good seats out there, but I had the best seat in the house.”
Before he walked the bases loaded in the seventh, Kershaw was right there with deGrom. Kershaw struck out 11 batters, making it just the second time in post-season history that both starters struck out double-digit batters. The last time was in the 1944 World Series.
“To have him go out there against Clayton tonight and win the game is a huge lift for us,.” Terry Collins said. “This is a good start for a team that hadn’t been in the postseason in a long time. We needed a confidence boost and Jake gave it to us.”
“I got out-pitched. That’s basically the moral of the story,” Kershaw said. “He out-pitched me, plain and simple.”
Now Mets fans have to share Jacob deGrom with the rest of the country. And that’s a good thing.