If there is one slice of adversity the Mets cannot afford to face, it is an injury to Jacob deGrom . In the views of many, deGrom has risen to the title of undisputed best pitcher in the world. Even for a Mets team that invested so much to improve all aspects of its roster this winter, deGrom remains the most indispensable piece.
That is why the Mets practiced such caution in the sixth inning Sunday at Citi Field, when deGrom departed due to what the Mets called a bout of “right side tightness.” The episode occurred six days after deGrom skipped a start due to inflammation in his right lat, a major muscle on the side of the body. And it cast clouds over what was otherwise an uplifting fifth straight win and series sweep for the Mets, who relied on another strong bullpen performance to topple the D-backs, 4-2.
deGrom pitched the first five innings, looking imperfect at times but nonetheless managing to retire the first dozen batters he faced. As the game progressed, so did deGrom, who recovered from an early inability to spot his fastball to strike out four batters across the third and fourth innings.
His run of excellence ended in the fifth, when deGrom walked three batters in an inning for the first time in three years. He escaped that jam having allowed just one run, but as deGrom began throwing his warmup pitches in the top of the sixth, he called for head trainer Brian Chicklo. The two briefly conversed before deGrom departed.
Miguel Castro entered in relief of deGrom, taking all the time he needed to warm up because of the injury. He and two other Mets relievers combined to squelch any thought of an Arizona comeback after deGrom left the game, with Edwin Díaz locking down a five-out save.
deGrom had missed his last start due to inflammation in his right lat, which initially began bothering him late in April. Following that missed outing, deGrom played catch multiple times and threw a bullpen session without issue, prompting Mets officials to declare him good to go for Sunday.