Hoping to overcome a series of injuries, the Mets need deGrom to embrace his spot as the club's ace, and he is beginning to do so. The righty, who turned 29 on Monday, made some mechanical adjustments and went 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA, eight hits allowed, 12 strikeouts and six walks in 17 innings last week.
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"You've got to have that guy," Mets manager Terry Collins said on Sunday. "And right now, Jake's leading the pack to be the guy. ... He got away from who he is, and now he's back."
A shortstop in college, deGrom has always been a solid hitter for his position, and he raised his season average to .290 with his solo homer. Using David Wright's bat, deGrom went deep for the first time in the big leagues leading off the third inning on Sunday against Nationals starter Joe Ross.
"I didn't know it was gone," deGrom said of his opposite-field drive. "But that's where I seem to hit balls in batting practice, so I knew if I got it over there, it would have a chance."
Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.