Jacob deGrom went into Sunday’s series finale with the Atlanta Braves on a 75-pitch limit as he’s coming off an injured shoulder. Well, he almost gave Buck Showalter a difficult decision to make because deGrom was flirting with a perfect game into the sixth inning.
He’s in a league of his own.
The way deGrom’s slider was working against the Braves, it was easy to see why Atlanta’s hitters struggled against the Mets ace. His stuff was simply on a different level.
Of the 33 sliders that deGrom threw on Sunday, Braves hitters made contact just twice — a pair of foul balls from Michael Harris II in the sixth inning. On top of that, deGrom threw the two fastest sliders for strikes this season on back-to-back pitches to Austin Riley. One was clocked at 95.3 mph, the other at 95.7 mph.
Fastest sliders thrown by starters this year for a called
or a swinging strike:
95.7 deGrom on 8/7
95.3 deGrom on 8/7
94.8 deGrom on 8/7
94.7 deGrom on 8/7
94.5 deGrom on 8/7
94.5 deGrom on 8/2
94.3 deGrom on 8/7
94.1 deGrom on 8/7
93.9 deGrom on 8/7 https://t.co/ZBfSk2CsPO
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) August 8, 2022
Just absurd. And the overlay of that slider with his fastball explains why hitters were swinging at pitches that broke wildly out of the zone.
Jacob deGrom, 100mph Fastball and 96mph Slider, Overlay. 😳 pic.twitter.com/wlTs5nFMv0
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 7, 2022
At 95-plus mph, the pitch looks like a fastball before breaking, and the batter simply does not have time to adjust. And even when deGrom doesn’t get the break he wants, it’s still a 95 mph pitch. There was almost nothing Braves hitters could do until Dansby Swanson broke up a no-hitter with a home run in the sixth inning off of a fastball.
Understandably, MLB fans were in awe with deGrom’s slider on Sunday.