After pitching in a sim game last week, Mets ace Jacob deGrom told reporters "I'm ready" when asked if he feels set for Opening Day.
Well, he proved that on Sunday in his first spring training outing against the Nationals.
DeGrom was every bit of his ace self over three innings of work, allowing just one single and striking out two hitters in 33 pitches total on the day. And at this point, it just looks too easy for the back-to-back Cy Young Award winner. However, he admitted after his outing that he still gets those nervous butterflies whenever he toes the rubber.
"Any time I take the mound, I'm nervous. I was nervous in the sim game," he said. "Any time you're out there competing, I always seem to get nervous and it felt good to get back out there. A real game feel -- people in the stands, another team."
Once deGrom warms up, though, he says everything goes away and he just locks in. His focus looked to be in mid-season form on Sunday, as he worked the ball around the plate with his lethal holster of pitches. There was one he was working on in particular, though, as the changeup was featured more than normal.
Spring training is obviously the safe space to test things out, and if you're a pitcher, make sure every pitch in your arsenal feels good by Opening Day. That's why deGrom was throwing that changeup more than normal, and it was working for him especially in the third inning.
"That's kinda what I'm most inconsistent with right now," deGrom said of his changeup. "Messing with my grip a little bit. The one to [Nats OF Michael] Taylor that he popped up was a terrible changeup -- just floated in there."
Comments like those explain why experts are pegging deGrom to win his third straight Cy Young this season, as he is still critical of himself through all the dominance.
Manager Luis Rojas just smiled in his post-game presser after his Mets won 3-1, and simply said "he was great" when asked about deGrom's performance. He pointed out that deGrom's first 13 pitches of the day went for strikes, and it was smooth sailing from there.
So, yeah, if deGrom's sim game wasn't enough to prove to the Mets their best pitcher is ready to take on the 2020 season, this outing most certainly did.
And it was only his first one.