The Mets have activated right-hander Jacob deGrom in advance of Sunday’s game against the Phillies. deGrom has been held off of the mound for nearly two weeks after hyperextending his right elbow during an at-bat.
Prior to the injury, the 29-year-old deGrom posted impressive numbers in his first seven starts with the team. He went 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 10.7 SO/9 over 43 1/3 innings and was working on a scoreless streak of 18 1/3 frames after stringing together three shutout appearances against the Braves and Padres.
There’s no reason to believe that deGrom’s elbow issues are more serious than reported, and given the team’s caution in bringing him back, he should be more than capable of taking the mound on Sunday. All told, he missed 10 days between scheduled starts, with rookie southpaw P.J. Conlon picking up his missed start in a 7-6 win over the Reds last Monday. He’ll face off against Phillies’ right-hander Aaron Nola when the Mets kick off their series finale today at 1:35 PM ET.
The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.
The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.
In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.
Most of the time anyway.
Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:
One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.
The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.