September 30, 2022

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

New York Mets ace Jacob de Grom enjoyed his return to Citi Field on Sunday.

“Getting out there was a little emotional,” deGrom said he told reporters after a 5-2 win over the Atlanta Braves. “A big round of applause, he kind of took a second, took it all in and then tried to focus.”

Anthony DiComo @Anthony DiComo

🎥 Jacob deGrom in his dominant start:

The right-hander went 5.2 innings, allowing two earned runs on one hit and striking out 12 batters.

DeGrom made his long-awaited season debut Tuesday in a 5-1 road loss to the Washington Nationals. He had been out for more than a year with forearm and elbow problems and then a stress reaction in his shoulder.

Despite his lengthy layoff, the two-time Cy Young winner has lost almost nothing. Any fears that he might have lost some speed were unfounded.

Some fans were moved by New York last minute business before the MLB trade deadline. General manager Billy Eppler opted for marginal upgrades over transformative deals, adding Mychal Givens, Tyler Naquin, Daniel Vogelbach and Darin Ruf.

The return of a healthy deGrom has a much bigger impact than either of those acquisitions. Now they have perhaps the best starting pitcher in baseball again just in time for the stretch run.

The Mets have the best World Series odds (16.9 percent) of any team FanGraphsin part because manager Buck Showalter can rely on a playoff rotation of deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt.

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

The Mets before the return of Jacob deGrom were a very good baseball team.

The Mets with a healthy and stretched deGrom are a nightmare in October.

This year has been quite the contrast for the Mets.

Fans have gotten used to seeing deGrom shine on teams that have fallen short of expectations, as the Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016. Now, they’re on track to post the second highest winning percentage in franchise history despite being without deGrom for the first few months of the season.

The 34-year-old will now have an active role in the pursuit of the Mets.

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