Chisholm homers off deGrom, says heater on ‘lighter side’

Sports
Jacob deGrom

New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) walks off the field after striking out Miami Marlins’ Jesus Aguilar in the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, April 10, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Jazz Chisholm Jr. watched Jacob deGrom’s first 100 mph fastball whiz by and wasn’t impressed.

“People were saying, ‘It’s an angry 100, it gets on you,’” the Marlins’ brazen, blue-haired Bahamian said. “It didn’t really get on me like I was expecting.”

“Some people’s 100 is a little lighter,” he added. “To me, it felt like he was on the lighter side.”

Safe to say, Miami’s youngsters don’t scare easily.

Chisholm hit a stunning homer off an otherwise dominant deGrom, Trevor Rogers beat the two-time Cy Young Award winner for the second time and the Marlins blanked the New York Mets 3-0 Saturday.

DeGrom (0-1) matched a career best with 14 strikeouts over eight innings, the 23-year-old Rogers (1-1) fanned 10 in six and the teams combined for 28 overall.

For a while, the difference was Chisholm’s rip in the second inning.

DeGrom looked unhittable early — until the 23-year-old Chisholm barreled a 100.4 mph, 0-2 fastball thrown above the strike zone. The left-handed hitter’s drive reached the second deck in right field for a 1-0 lead and was estimated at 402 feet.

Chisholm took a 100 mph strike to start the at-bat, then found himself swinging too quick for a 99 mph pitch. He claims he was looking for something offspeed when deGrom reached back for a third straight heater — 100 above the letters.

“He threw me a fastball up and I just reacted to it,” said Chisholm, who called deGrom the best pitcher in baseball. “Got my hands above the ball, and yeah, it was a homer.”

It was the first 0-2 home run deGrom has allowed in the majors.

“He sold out for it,” deGrom said. “Probably should have done a better job recognizing he was going to try to get to that fastball.”

The next time Chisholm came up, deGrom struck him out with one fastball and then five straight changeups.

Coming off their first postseason berth since 2003, the Marlins are 2-7 but with encouraging signs from a rotation featuring a 2.01 ERA in 2021.

Rogers outpitched deGrom for the second time in nine major league starts. The left-hander got his first big league win against him in a 5-3 victory last Aug. 31. This was his second.

“Best in baseball, Jacob deGrom is,” Rogers said. “You really have to bring your best and then some. To see me and our whole team go out and compete with the best, it just shows you how good we are.”

A 2017 first-round draft pick, Rogers cruised in his third career outing against New York. He scattered three hits and two walks, retiring 11 straight in one stretch.

Rogers mixed a fastball averaging 95 mph with a slider and changeup, inducing 19 swing-and-misses among his 82 pitches. He ended his outing with strikeouts of Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso, stranding two runners to preserve a 1-0 lead.

“This kid’s growing up right in front of our eyes,” Mattingly said.

Dylan Floro followed with a perfect seventh, Richard Bleier was helped by shortstop Miguel Rojas’ diving catch to rob pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar during a 1-2-3 eighth, and Yimi García completed the three-hitter for his first save, spelling struggling closer Anthony Bass.

Chisholm’s homer was all Miami could muster against deGrom. The right-hander reached 14 strikeouts for the fourth time — including three times against the Marlins. He allowed a run, five hits, walked none and threw 76 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

Plagued throughout his career by insufficient run support, deGrom was tagged with another disappointing loss. He even accounted for one of New York’s three hits.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been through this before,” center fielder Brandon Nimmo said. “It’s never easy.”

New York closer Edwin Díaz relieved deGrom and struggled. Starling Marte hit a leadoff double and scored the next at-bat on a single by Jesús Aguilar. Rojas added an RBI single before Díaz was pulled and booed off the mound.

Mets fans also jeered Conforto — even after he leaned into one for a walk-off hit by pitch in their home opener Thursday, a call plate umpire Ron Kulpa later admitted he missed. Conforto struck out three times to extend a slump to start what could be his final season in New York.

Kulpa was cheered by fans when the umpires were announced before the game.

DEGROMINANT

The 32-year-old deGrom looks better than ever in his eighth major league season. Not only is he averaging 99 mph with his fastball — up from 94 mph when he debuted in 2014 — he’s throwing it with more “rise,” too. The pitch is dropping one inch less on average than it did in 2020, making it look to batters like it’s moving up in the strike zone as it approaches.

DeGrom punched out at least 10 hitters for the 47th time, passing Dwight Gooden for second most in Mets history, trailing only Tom Seaver’s 60.

Despite deGrom’s 2.06 ERA in 78 starts since the start of the 2018 season, New York is 36-42 with him on the mound.

“Their guy was really good on the mound,” deGrom said.

SHORT ARMED

Mets acting general manager Zack Scott said several players have been vaccinated, but the team hasn’t reached the 85% threshold set by MLB to begin easing some health and safety protocols.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: C Jorge Alfaro was scratched from the lineup shortly before first pitch with tightness in his left hamstring. The issue also kept him out of Thursday’s game. Chad Wallach started instead.

Mets: 3B J.D. Davis was placed on the 10-day injured list shortly before first pitch with a bruised left hand. Davis was hit by a pitch Tuesday and hasn’t played since. The move is retroactive to April 7. … INF José Peraza was selected to the big league roster and active for the game. RHP Franklyn Kilome was designated for assignment.

UP NEXT

The teams conclude the three-game series Sunday. New York will start RHP Marcus Stroman (1-0, 1.50), who looked sharp in his season debut against Philadelphia. Miami was waiting to see how Saturday’s game played out before determining a starter for Sunday.

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