Dissecting Jacob deGrom's outing after his performance was loudly cheered by the biggest regular-season crowd in Citi Field history didn't seem right -- until deGrom added his own voice to the constructive criticism expressed after the game.
DeGrom pitched the first 6 1/3 innings of the Mets' 2-0 victory over the Phillies in the home opener before 43,947. He allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked one.
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So what did he do so wrong?
"Well, I really didn't think he had his 'A' game today," Terry Collins said. "But as we've seen in the past, he competes. He just doesn't let down. If he has to throw a strike, he throws a strike; he's got good enough command.
"He has to get used to this stage. If you're going to pitch in the big leagues, you got to get used to this stage . . . He is just a young man, his first home start, he should've been a little nervous. I've seen him enough to know that there's a lot more in there. So it's good to get this one out of the way and now we can see the big boy [Matt Harvey] tomorrow. That'll be fun."
Harvey, when asked to comment on deGrom, who lockers next to him, said he wasn't giving any further interviews for the day.
DeGrom thought he pitched better in his first start against Washington, a 2-1 loss, when he allowed two runs in six innings but struck out six. "Yeah, I think my stuff was better in Washington," he said. "When you realize you don't have that, you really got to concentrate and try and make the pitches that you can make. My off-speed wasn't really that good and I was having a hard time locating my fastball, so I really had to bear down and try to get guys out."
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud added: "We just [had] to battle, try to use the pitches that he knows he has the command of and just mix it up and hope for the best. Fortunately, a lot of balls were hit at people and we were able to get outs. His four-seam command wasn't all there, his two-seam command was good, his changeup was OK. His slider was OK, his screwball was OK."
DeGrom didn't allow a hit until Freddy Galvis singled off the glove of shortstop Wilmer Flores in the third. In the fourth, two hits by the Phillies sandwiched a double play.
After that, deGrom's only significant problem occurred in the seventh when, with one out, Cody Asche singled up the middle and Galvis singled to right-center. That was it for deGrom, and the record crowd rewarded his effort with a loud ovation.
All the pickiness aside, for 2014 National League Rookie of the Year deGrom, starting the first game at home was a thrill.
"That was a lot of fun," he said. "I was looking forward to it ever since they announced it. It was like my debut."