Welcome to The Opener, where every weekday morning you’ll get a fresh, topical column to start your day from one of SI.com’s MLB writers.
For much of the 2021 season, Jacob deGrom’s assault on National League hitters has led to talk that he would not only win his third Cy Young Award, but he also had the inside track at becoming just the third pitcher in the last 29 years to be named MVP. Following the Mets ace’s latest stint on the injured list, that discussion is now shrouded in uncertainty.
deGrom is on the IL with forearm tightness, and though no timetable for his return has been set yet, he was seen playing light catch at Citi Field on Wednesday. We’ve been down this road before, unfortunately, but at this point in the calendar, it’s fair to start doing some math and wondering how many more starts deGrom would have to make in order to remain atop the list of the Cy Young contenders.