Not that I ever root for injuries, but if Jacob deGrom hadn’t departed this game after three innings, we might be discussing something historic this morning.
deGrom struck out eight of the nine Cubs he faced, the only exception a long fly out by Anthony Rizzo in the first inning.
Here’s the official diagnosis for deGrom:
UPDATE: Jacob deGrom left tonight's game with right shoulder soreness.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 17, 2021
In some ways it’s not surprising, that a guy who throws that hard with that kind of torque on his arm will have those sorts of issues. Honestly, he’s good for baseball and I wish him well — especially since the Cubs won’t see him again this year unless there’s a postseason matchup.
Regarding Robert Stock, you can see why he’s spent all these years toiling in the minor leagues. Like deGrom, he throws hard; unlike deGrom, he doesn’t have command of his fastball and it showed in four innings of work Wednesday evening. He walked six Mets and also hit a batter. Dominic Smith homered off him and all of that added up to five runs in those four innings.
In the top of the fourth, Joc Pederson popped up, the 10th straight Cub to be retired.
That ball was a towering fly — check out the launch angle:
After going homerless for more than a month, Rizzo has now hit four in his last nine games.
As you can see, it was only 3-1 at that point, but the Mets put two more on the board off Stock in the bottom of the inning.
The Cubs bullpen again did a good job of keeping the opposition in check. Kevin Pillar homered in the fifth off Cory Abbott, but overall Abbott and Tommy Nance threw four innings, allowed just one hit (the homer) and at least gave the Cubs a chance to come back with their spring training split squad style lineup.
A glimmer of hope came in the ninth. Patrick Wisdom walked with one out.
Well, now it’s 6-3, there’s still only one out and after Eric Sogard struck out, Sergio Alcántara singled.
With the tying run on deck, the game is now in a save situation so Mets manager Luis Rojas summoned his closer, Edwin Diaz. Willson Contreras, who’d been given the day off from catching, batted for Nance. He hit the ball hard, but right to Mets center fielder Mason Williams, to end the game.
This game figured to be a tough one to win and that’s exactly how it turned out. My guess is that we won’t see Robert Stock pitch for the Cubs again this year. Because Adbert Alzolay had been shut down on the injured list, the Cubs needed an extra starter in this series and maybe they figured it was best to put “random guy from Iowa” up against deGrom. Prediction: Stock is returned to Iowa today and Brad Wieck (who was optioned on June 5) will return. The rotation now has five pitchers available: Kyle Hendricks, Zach Davies, Jake Arrieta, Alzolay and Alec Mills. It will have to do, for now.
The Brewers also lost Wednesday, swept by the Reds at home, so the Cubs remain tied with Milwaukee for first place in the NL Central. The Reds moved to within two games of the top spot with the win, and the Cardinals, who also completed a three-game sweep (of the Marlins, the Cubs’ next opponent), are now three games back.
The Cubs will attempt Thursday, as they did in San Francisco a few weeks ago, to salvage one game in a four-game road series. The pitching matchup seems a bit more even than the last couple of nights: Kyle Hendricks vs. Marcus Stroman. Game time is again 6:10 p.m. CT and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.