WASHINGTON — In the final analysis, Jacob deGrom’s microscopic 1.68 ERA was no match for the All-Star Game being played in Max Scherzer’s backyard.
As deserving as deGrom may have been to start Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic, despite the 5-4 record hung on him by the awful Mets, National League manager Dave Roberts didn’t disguise the primary reason why he picked Scherzer, who was 12-5 with a 2.41 ERA at the break.
“You look at the performances by both guys and I think they are . . . clearly ahead of the rest, in my opinion,” Roberts said Monday at Nationals Park. “Then you look at why we’re all here, and it’s for the fans. So I think when you sort of take in everything — the location, the ballpark, this great city — for me, the tiebreaker was the ballpark.
“I think that it’s trying to make it bigger than all of us, and I think the game is about the fans. Jacob will pitch right behind him.”
With all the frustration deGrom has dealt with this season, getting the NL start would have been a silver lining to the dark clouds hovering over him at Citi Field. And up until Monday morning, deGrom was still holding out hope that maybe he’d beat out Scherzer.
“I honestly didn’t know,” deGrom said. “I was thinking there might be a decent chance. But I had the feeling, being here in Washington, that it was probably Scherzer who would start and it was probably the right thing to do . . . I’m looking forward to watching him pitch.”
This will be deGrom’s second All-Star appearance, and it will be hard for him to match his impressive inning at the 2015 game in Cincinnati, where he struck out the side on 10 pitches.
“Yeah, I still remember that,” deGrom said. “I was really nervous that time. Probably going to be nervous this time whenever it’s time for me to throw. But this is all about having fun, and going out there and just enjoying the game, so I’m looking forward to doing that.”
Gleyber Day soon
Rookie Gleyber Torres is here as a first-time All-Star, and the 21-year-old described himself as “a little bit sad” that he won’t be able to play.
Torres has been on the disabled list with a right hip strain but, more significant to him, he could rejoin the Yankees as soon as Monday when they start a series in St. Petersburg against the Rays.
Torres, who was accompanied here by Yankees trainer Steve Donohue, ran the bases at Nationals Park Monday afternoon and will work out again Tuesday. Torres said he’ll fly to Tampa Wednesday morning and likely start a rehab assignment there this weekend.
“Super-excited,” Torres said of returning. “I can’t wait. I want to play. I think I’m ready right now. I’m just waiting for more [rehab] games. If everything is all right I’m back to play.”