“Hello I am Jacob of Gromand I’m blessed with my business to dominate baseball for years to come.
Never has Joe Buck made such a prophetic call.
The 27-year-old rookie of the year was quick to be welcomed onto the All-Star stage. It was his fault.
If you blinked, you missed it. If you saw him, as a national audience did, it was hard to say he was the Mets’ new superstar pitcher.
DeGrom didn’t just retire each of the three American League All-Stars he faced in the sixth inning at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. It was almost immaculate.
“I had nerves,” deGrom said. “First All-Star Game, I wanted to go out there and do a good job.”
He was quick to realize that the only nervous people were those who hit him. Eight precision-placed fastballs hit between 96 and 98 miles per hour. He threw in two sliders for good measure. The helpless AL trio swung five times and missed five times. Only once did deGrom throw one out of the strike zone, and it happened on an 0-2 offering.
Oakland A Receiver Stephane Vogt was not up to three heaters. Nor was Cleveland’s second baseman Jason Kipnis, but at least he stayed long enough to take a bullet. Realizing he had strayed a bit from perfection, deGrom normalized and used minimal throws to fade Jose Iglesias of the Detroit Tigers during an out-of-speed delivery of around 80 mph.
Ten locations. Nine shots. Three withdrawals. “DeGromination” in its purest form.
“Because I knew I only had one run, I gave up,” he said.
The performance was at least somewhat reminiscent of the dominant throwing efforts of All-Star pasts, like the 19-year-old Dwight Goode stoking the side in 1984 at Candlestick Park or even Carl Hubbell striking off five Hall of Famers in succession.
Many All-Star pitchers have K’d three hitters in an inning. But few, if any, have done so with such effectiveness. DeGrom’s outing in Cincinnati is the only three-out, 10-or-less inning in the recorded history of the Midsummer Classic (full pitch count tracking began in 1988).
Vogt was asked during the clubhouse postgame about hitting in his first All-Star Game and he quickly delivered a correction. “I had a chance to retire,” Vogt said. “He was kind of good.”