Morning Briefing: deGrom still seeking 'W'


FIRST PITCH: Jacob deGrom makes his eighth major league start Saturday, still looking for his first win.

DeGrom (0-4, 4.39 ERA), the victim of a lack of run support in his first few starts, more recently has proven mortal. He has allowed 13 runs on 26 hits and six walks in 15 innings over his past three starts.

DeGrom will need to pick things up soon with Dillon Gee getting closer to returning from the disabled list. Otherwise, the rookie could find himself in the bullpen or back in Triple-A, rather than Daisuke Matsuzaka reverting to a relief role.

Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports

Jacob deGrom again bids for his first major league win Saturday.

“He’s been here long enough where, not that teams are seeing him two times, but there are starting to be films on him. And a lot of advance scouts are seeing him now,” Terry Collins said about deGrom. “He’s got to go back to the same thing we’ve told him before, and that’s to make sure he uses all of his pitches. He has good enough command of everything he throws that he doesn’t need to sit on one pitch. If he gets behind in the count, throw a changeup or drop your breaking ball in. You’re going to get outs just as easy as trying to pitch with your fastball all the time.

“It’s all a learning process with Jake. I know all he’s trying to do is give us quality innings. He’s not worried about wins and losses right now. He’s worried about making sure he gets deep into a game.”

As for deGrom’s future in the rotation, Collins added: “Well, when Dillon comes back I think there will be discussions about a lot of guys.”

DeGrom opposes Stony Brook University product Tom Koehler (5-5, 3.84 ERA) on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. at Marlins Park.

Saturday’s news reports:

• The Mets challenged Marlins left fielder Marcell Ozuna twice on Friday. They lost twice. And they lost a challenge, too. Ozuna threw out David Wright at the plate trying to score the tying run from second base in the eighth on Eric Campbell’s bases-loaded single. Then, Ozuna stunned the Mets by throwing out Kirk Nieuwenhuis at the plate to end the game on a would-be sacrifice fly by Chris Young as the Mets lost, 4-3.

The Mets unsuccessfully challenged the eighth-inning ruling, claiming catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia did not provide a lane for Wright to slide. Afterward, the Mets expressed displeasure with what they deemed the inconsistent application of the blocking-the-plate rule. Sandy Alderson strongly implied he already had discussed the matter with MLB.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Journal and at MLB.com.

Travis d'Arnaud says his major league struggles were "all mental."

• D’Arnaud went 3-for-4 and started a four-run ninth-inning rally as Las Vegas posted a 5-4 walk-off win against Nashville. Savannah, which graduated six players to St. Lucie, lost to Greenville 21-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

Juan Lagares went hitless in four at-bats and played seven innings in center field in his first minor-league rehab game. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Matt Harvey, who advised Marlins ace Jose Fernandez about Tommy John surgery rehab, expects to be on a mound for the first time since the Oct. 22 procedure in about two weeks. Read more in the Times and Journal.

• Read more on deGrom and the rotation once Gee returns in the Post, Record and Star-Ledger.

• John DeMarzo in the Post profiles catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, a former supplemental first-round pick out of Purdue.

• Michael J. Fensom in the Star-Ledger writes about the Mets’ captivation with the World Cup.

BIRTHDAYS: Former reliever/Harvard product Jeff Musselman was born on this date in 1963.


YOU’RE UP: Does MLB need to throw out the rule about blocking the plate and allow collisions again?