NEW YORK -- Unlike Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom is not subject to a tight innings cap this season. Still, the New York Mets plan to skip deGrom on Tuesday and instead use Logan Verrett against the Atlanta Braves.
DeGrom has a 6.41 ERA and .330 opponent batting average over his past five starts. Though his fastball velocity has remained the same during that stretch, deGrom's release point has changed. As a result, his pitches have drifted up in the strike zone and become more hittable. So manager Terry Collins believes resting deGrom will eliminate any fatigue and get him back on track.
"I've been more up in the zone than I want to be," deGrom said. "Normally I pitch down, and then go up when I want to."
DeGrom did not endorse the decision to skip him, although he did not publicly grouse about it, either.
During Friday's Subway Series opener, deGrom was lobbying pitching coach Dan Warthen to pitch on Tuesday.
"I don't know if I necessarily need it, but it can't hurt," deGrom said about getting skipped. "I don't think it can hurt. That's what they chose to do. So that's what we're going to do."
Mets staff reminded deGrom how effective he was down the stretch last season after coming off an Aug. 8-23 disabled-list trip. That time, deGrom was dealing with shoulder fatigue. He had a 2.25 ERA and .191 opponent batting average in six starts the remainder of the season after being activated from the DL en route to the National League Rookie of the Year award. This time, deGrom insisted, he feels fine.
"I think I needed that time last year," deGrom said. "There was some shoulder fatigue going on there. This year, like I said, I feel fine."
DeGrom's innings total is of little concern to the Mets this season. He logged 178 2/3 innings in 2014 between the majors and minors. This season, he is at 181 innings. A 30- or 40-inning jump from the previous year is generally considered acceptable.
The Mets will heavily lean on deGrom during the postseason.
Verrett, a rookie right-hander, twice has filled in for Harvey in recent weeks. He has allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks in 13 innings in those outings.
"He's done a great job stepping in and filling in for guys when they need a break," deGrom said. "He's pitched really well. He's pitched well out of the bullpen and when he's had a chance to start."