Monday, April 6, 2015

deGrom-Zimmermann matchup promises to frustrate hitters

One certainty in any series between the Mets and Nationals is starting pitching. Following an off-day Tuesday, each team will reload with one of its best for Wednesday's second game of the season, with the Nationals sending right-hander Jordan Zimmermann to the mound and the Mets countering with reigning National League Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom.
Three things to know:
• Though Zimmermann has mostly owned the Mets over the years, posting a 2.98 ERA in 20 career starts, second baseman Daniel Murphy and third baseman David Wright have hit a combined .304 against him with five home runs in 92 at-bats. No other current Mets player has homered off Zimmermann, who threw a no-hitter the last time he took the mound in the regular season, Sept. 28 vs. Miami.
• What enabled deGrom to take such a significant step forward last summer was his ability to generate strikeouts at an elite rate. After averaging 7.44 strikeouts per nine innings as a Minor Leaguer, deGrom transformed into a swing-and-miss machine in the big leagues, fanning 9.24 batters per nine.
• The Mets went 4-15 against the Nationals last season, tying their most losses to the Expos/Nationals in any single season. New York went 15-41 (.366) against Washington from 2012-14.

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