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Jacob deGrom won’t pitch in 2021 All-Star Game; endorses Mets teammate Taijuan Walker as replacement

USATSI

New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom announced after his start on Thursday that he will not pitch in the All-Star Game, scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 13 at Coors Field in Denver. “I’m gonna take that time and enjoy it with my family, hopefully Tai gets in there and takes my place,” deGrom said, endorsing teammate Taijuan Walker as his replacement.

DeGrom added to his phenomenal season on Thursday by holding the Milwaukee Brewers to two runs on four hits and no walks. He struck out 10 batters and saw his seasonal ERA increase to 1.08. He had entered the afternoon with a seasonal ERA of 0.95 in his first 85 innings pitched.

It should come as no surprise that deGrom won’t pitch in the Midsummer Classic. He suggested as much on Sunday, when he said  “For me, I don’t think it’s smart to go pitch in the All-Star Game. I’ve been a little beat up this first half and obviously missed a few starts that I wish I wouldn’t have missed, so I don’t think it makes sense for me to throw in it.”

He’s right, of course. The Mets are in first place and deGrom has battled multiple injuries in the first half. There’s no reason to change the rotation in order for him to pitch in a meaningless exhibition game with the whole second half looming. Obviously it would be great if the circumstances were different and we’d get deGrom to face a loaded AL lineup — which includes Shohei Ohtani — for two innings in Coors Field. It would be excellent theater. It just didn’t line up with the plans of deGrom and the Mets. It happens. 

For those curious: deGrom has never started the All-Star Game. He pitched an inning in 2015 (he struck out all three hitters he faced), 2018 and 2019. 

As for Walker, he would be a worthy replacement. In 15 starts this season, he’s posted a 2.44 ERA (157 ERA+) and a 3.22 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Walker has never made an All-Star Game before.




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