The veteran allowed one run and struck out seven batters in his start, picking up a career-high 15th win and reaching a personal best of 195 1/3 innings pitched this season.
“Tonight, I felt really good,” deGrom said. “I felt my mechanics were the closest to where I want to be. … I wasn’t falling off as much and things are starting to fall in line how I want them.”
deGrom limited the Braves throughout the night. He pitched around first-inning trouble before relying on his slider and changeup to keep hitters off-balance. According to Statcast™, deGrom threw 22 sliders that averaged 91 mph. The pitch got seven called strikes, and the changeup registered three swinging strikes.
As a result, deGrom got ahead of nine hitters, efficiently working both sides of the plate. His aggressiveness also helped to keep his pitch count down.
“It was definitely big, as I had a good changeup early and we threw quite a bit of them,” deGrom said. “Earlier in the year, I kind of got away from it, as my mechanics weren’t allowing me to throw it how I wanted to. I wasn’t on top of it and it was floating in the zone. These last few [starts], I have thrown it more and been on top of it. It has been a big pitch for me.”
deGrom put it together to snap the Mets’ five-game losing streak. He won his first game since Aug. 25 against the Nationals. Entering Saturday, he was 1-4 with a 5.35 ERA in his last six starts.
His start caught the attention of Braves manager Brian Snitker. Atlanta’s skipper thought deGrom found a rhythm early as he quickly shut down the Braves in the second inning. Snitker knew that after two consecutive strikeouts by Rio Ruiz and Johan Camargo, the Braves were in for a tough night.
“When they scored the second run, I thought maybe we were in trouble the way he was throwing,” Snitker said. “He was really good.”
The Mets hope deGrom’s start is a positive sign heading into next season. With so many injuries to New York’s starting rotation, deGrom believes the team can return to form with everyone healthy in 2018. He said his start is hopefully a step in the right direction.
“The plan for next year is hopefully everybody is healthy and go to a World Series again,” deGrom said. “Getting to this amount of innings is something that I want to do in the next few years. Getting there and seeing what it is like is a big plus for me this year.”
Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta who covered the Mets on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.