Phillies catch break with Mets ace Jacob deGrom scratched

Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The Phillies and Spencer Howard will not oppose perennial Cy Young Award candidate Jacob deGrom on Friday

A lot has seemed to be going against the Philadelphia Phillies’ way in recent days, but the tide perhaps could be changing as the team is set to begin its series opener on Friday against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

Rookie Spencer Howard was originally slated to oppose three-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, however the right-hander has since been scratched due to him experiencing neck tightness. Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil will also be sidelined in Friday’s game due to suffering a left knee bone contusion following a wall collision on Thursday

Right-hander Walker Lockett will start in place of deGrom; the rookie last faced the Phillies in San Diego on August 11, 2019, while a member of the Padres. In 4 1/3 innings, he allowed five hits, five runs (all earned), two walks, and two home runs en route to a losing decision.

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It is not currently known when deGrom will make his next start, although the right-hander hopes his injury will not last too long. This is a huge break for the Phillies, as deGrom is 7-1 with a 2.23 ERA and even 1.000 WHIP against them through 15 career starts. In particular, catcher J.T. Realmuto is just 4-for-25 lifetime against deGrom with a double, two RBI, and nine strikeouts.

The seven-year veteran in deGrom has dealt with a few injuries so far since the return of baseball. During summer camp, he experienced a back injury, but was still able to be ready for Opening Day — in which he tossed five scoreless innings and yielded only one hit and one walk while striking out eight Atlanta Braves batters in five innings.

During deGrom’s most recent start, he allowed seven hits, two walks, and two runs over five innings despite having a small blister on his right middle finger.

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In conversation with reporters ahead of Friday’s Phillies-Met game, deGrom said he does not think his neck injury is related to the back injury he had last month, adding: “This popped out of nowhere; I don’t know if I slept on it wrong.” The pitcher continued that he began to feel neck tightness after his most recent start.

Overall through four starts in 2020, deGrom is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA.

The Phillies will play the Mets in three home games through the weekend, before having their first scheduled off day (excluding the August 7 rain-out due to inclement weather) since returning to action following the Marlins COVID-19 outbreak.