It took 40 games and 65 at-bats, but a Mets pitcher finally has a hit. Unfortunately (at least for comedic purposes), it wasn’t Bartolo Colon who broke the streak – though he did his part in contributing 11 outs to the cause. Nor was it Jenrry Mejia, who aside from being unable to get through a lineup more than once, swings as wildly as an unlatched, rusty gate during a hurricane. And no, it wasn’t Jon Niese, the owner of a .205 batting average last year and who I reckoned the staff’s best hope for salvation.
Nope, the pitcher to finally end the record-setting futility was Jacob deGrom. Who you say? Jacob. deGrom. A 25-year-old rookie making his very first appearance in the big leagues, in the final tilt of a subway series no less. And how did he do it? With all the skill left over from his former days as a shortstop at Stetson University, singling in the third inning – his first at-bat in the majors.
So what if it came against Chase Whitley?!* Though it came way too late to prevent the Mets’ motley crew of hurlers from establishing the longest hitless streak to start a season in Major League history, deGrom’s single ensured the pitchers no longer have to collectively worry about challenging the all-time longest hitless streak for pitchers – a 100-year record set by the 1914 Cleveland Naps, who contrived to go 0-for-92 (!) during one especially putrid midseason stretch.
If only deGrom could possibly have batted more for New York, perhaps then he’d have left with a debut win. His ungrateful teammates however, only scratched 2 more hits all night (in related news, Dellin Betances is a monster out of the bullpen). Poor deGrom then, who went 7 innings while allowing only four hits and two walks and striking out six, was unfortunately awarded a rather tough-luck loss.
I’ve got your back Jacob, even if your horrible offense doesn’t.
A couple of other things to note concerning this special occasion;
– If Jacoby Ellsbury had gotten just a minutely better jump out in center field, that ball is being caught. Seriously, it lands within a few feet of him. Now Ellsbury and the Yankees are probably overly-conscious of the consequences of laying out considering his brittle injury history, hence why he didn’t dive, but I prefer to believe that Ellsbury was simply in too much shock to comprehend fully what was happening. The poor guy probably wasn’t expecting the ball to leave the infield if contact was made at all.
– This is no way makes up for the shocking haircut (or lack thereof) deGrom is currently sporting. I can absolve him of blame for the silly spelling of his surname – that isn’t his fault after all – but that hair… It’s like some nasty cross between Clay Buchholz, the 2010 version of Tim Lincecum, and Jeff Samardzija. Mind you, if he pitches anything like the latter, fans at Citi Field will soon be coveting his gnarly tresses to place in lockets over their hearts (this is how depressingly weird I imagine life as a fan of the not-so-Amazin’s to be).
* If you were looking for well-known starting pitchers, this game was not for you.