deGrom Not An Excuse For NL DH
For the second straight season, the Mets potentially lost their best player to a fateful swing and miss. Last year, it was Michael Conforto swinging and missing, falling to the ground, and having his season end with a disclocated shoulder. This year, it was almost Jacob deGrom.
In deGrom’s third inning at-bat, he swung and missed at a Sean Newcomb pitch, and he struck out. After that at-bat, deGrom would go out and pitch a scoreless fourth before heading into the tunnel into the clubhouse. After a quick examination, it was determined deGrom needed to come out of the game.
Fortunately, deGrom suffered nothing more than a hyper-extended elbow, and by some miracle, he could make his next start. However, knowing it was his elbow and with what happened with Conforto last year, we know things could have been worse, far worse.
Naturally, in some corners, it was a rallying cry for people to try to make their claims that the National League needs to implement the DH. Of course, cooler heads like deGrom disagree:
Asked if he's now in favor of the DH since he hurt himself on a swing, Jacob deGrom smiled.
"Nah, not really," he said.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 3, 2018
Now, in the case of deGrom, the issue at the forefront for implementing the DH was to protect pitchers. Hopefully, this is just a straw man because it is a flimsy argument.
If deGrom was truly injured swinging the bat, at least to the extent he would have required a stint on the disabled list, his injury would have been as rare of an injury as the one Conforto suffered last season. That doesn’t mean teams shouldn’t investigate ways to keep pitchers healthy. It just means pitchers swinging the bat is really not one of those areas in which we see them befall injuries.
Look at it this way, can you remember the last time you saw a pitcher get injured swinging a bat? Maybe even getting hit by a pitch? It might just be me, but I don’t know recall any off the top of my head.
As for running the bases, my only memories are of Adam Wainwright and Chien-Ming Wang tearing tendons while running. No, not because they were awkwardly sliding or misstepped on a base. They were running. This is a sport, and as we see with his highlight defensive plays, even Bartolo Colon runs. Much as we may like, you can’t legislate running out of baseball.
And really, if we are that concerned about pitcher injuries, why aren’t the people calling for the DH calling for actual reforms which will protect pitchers? How many times has a pitcher had to come out of a game, even for precautionary reasons due to a comebacker? Whether it was liner off some part of the body, them foolishly trying to barehand a ball, or even one of those gruesome instances where a pitcher got hit in the head, we have seen more pitchers go down with injury due to comebackers than to taking an at-bat.
Why not look for protective screens or protective gear? Note, those calls aren’t made because this isn’t really about pitcher’s health. After all, why would you add another potent hitter to a lineup thereby forcing a pitcher to go full effort to record an out thereby putting additional strain on their elbow and shoulder?
No, it’s not about health. It is because some people prefer games with the DH. Fortunately for them, the entire American League plays with the DH. There are other fans who don’t like. That is one of the great things about baseball. If you like or dislike the DH, you have a league to watch, and you don’t have to subject yourself to the other league.
So really, don’t pretend this is about pitcher’s health. It isn’t. This is just because you can’t stand to see two or many three at-bats where a pitcher is hitting. Overall, that’s a really bizarre reason to radically change the sport using the pretext of injuries which rarely if ever occur.