"I said it to him a few times," he recalled on Saturday morning, prior to the Mets' 5-0 loss to the Yankees. "But they decided not to let me throw."
Instead, deGrom will receive the Matt Harvey treatment: The Mets are tentatively planning to skip his next turn through the rotation, originally slated for Tuesday, due to concern over his career-high innings total. That could still change, based on the National League standings after this weekend, and the club could decide to push deGrom back a few days instead of skipping him entirely. But the staff has already notified Logan Verrett, who has twice filled in admirably for Harvey, that he is probable to start on Tuesday in deGrom's place.
"There's nothing wrong with his stuff, but I think the rest will help the command side of things a little bit better," manager Terry Collins said of deGrom. "Jake, certainly, there are no innings limits. There's no pitch limits. I just think the rest will help him."
Said deGrom: "I don't know if I necessarily need it, but it can't hurt."
In his last outing, deGrom gave up six runs on 10 hits over five innings, his second poor performance in five starts -- though the first of those came when he was ill in Philadelphia in late August. His fastball velocity sat in the mid-90s, as usual, but deGrom struggled to pitch down in the zone as he typically does. Collins pointed to deGrom's release point as the culprit, citing fatigue as the reason.
Still, deGrom says there are no health concerns -- nothing like last year, when the Mets briefly shut him down late in the summer due to shoulder soreness. The Mets simply want deGrom, whose 181 innings already represents a career high over last year's 178 2/3, to be as fresh as possible heading into October. Because Harvey's innings total remains in question, deGrom is the Mets' presumptive Game 1 starter in the NL Division Series.
Overall this season, he is 13-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 28 starts, though deGrom owns a 6.41 mark since Aug. 24.
"I've been more up in the zone than I want to be," deGrom said. "Normally, I pitch down and then go up when I want to. I haven't been able to get the ball down in my last start like I normally do. I'd like to say it was just one start, but I don't think I'm tired. I think I'm all right."