In his second spring outing, Mets ace Jacob deGrom was allowed to go 40 pitches deep as he progresses toward Opening Day. And that is all he needed to get through three solid innings on the bump.
DeGrom allowed just one hit while striking out four against the Tigers on Friday afternoon, and he walked away more than satisfied with his performance.
"Felt good. My mechanics feel really good right now and I think that was a big thing I was working on," he told reporters. "Not falling that hard off to first base, and staying true through the baseball. So a lot of four-seamers today, kind of that belt and up area and got some swing and misses and that's what we're trying to work on."
Those four-seamers from deGrom were lethal, as some touched 98 and 99 miles per hour. Normally pitchers ease their way into their game-speed arsenal, but deGrom admitted he was surprised those fastballs clocked so high on the gun.
"I was a little surprised," deGrom said. "I did look up there when I saw that. But, like I said, I felt like it was coming out with less effort. Just everything was in line and where I wanted it to be.
"I'm not really fighting myself, and I actually feel smoother than I even did last year."
DeGrom's only hiccup came in the third when he allowed a leadoff double to Mikie Mahtook. But these were the situations he thrived in last season, and he took care of this one in the same manner.
The 30-year-old beared down and struck out the next three Tigers to step in the box to leave Mahtook on second. It was a great exclamation point to a solid outing for deGrom.
"That's where you're going to get your biggest outs -- from the stretch, runners on second or third," he explained. "That's something I did last year was try to really focus on those situations. Today, leadoff double and really tried to focus on not letting that guy score."
The main takeaway from deGrom's performance, though: If he says he feels smoother than he did in his ridiculous Cy Young season in 2018, his opponents should be even more scared this year.