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Jacob deGrom’s stellar season: Start #24

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The righty was dominant against the Mets’ crosstown rivals.

New York Mets v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jacob deGrom was originally supposed to start against the Yankees on July 22, but heavy rain postponed the game until August 13. At the time, with speculation and rumors surrounding the Mets trading their ace, Aaron Boone was asked if he would start deGrom against the Mets for the make up game. Boone laughed, but it was instead the Mets who made sure deGrom started that game. It was technically Jason Vargas’s day to start, but the Mets went with their ace on regular rest instead.

The Mets were facing Luis Severino but they got to him early to give deGrom an early lead. The game then seemed to turn however, when Jeff McNeil made an error on a potential double play ball. The Yankees tied it up and deGrom showed visible frustration on the mound as this seemed to be another start wasted.

Enter Jose Bautista to the rescue. Bautista has seen enough of the Yankees over the years from his time playing into Toronto. The very next inning he deposited a Severino pitch into the right field stands to give the New York (NL) a two-run lead.

That was all deGrom would need. He allowed the Yankees to creep within a run but for the most part he was dominant. Greg Bird was a strikeout victim three times against the ace and even Giancarlo Stanton struck out in a key situation. Stanton has good career numbers against deGrom, but the slugger was held in check. deGrom left the game after pitching six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs, and striking out a dozen Yankee batters.

According to Mickey Callaway he had to convince the entire infield that taking deGrom out was the right thing to do with Brett Gardner coming up. The righty walked off the mound at Yankee Stadium to a standing ovation while wearing the road grays instead of the Yankee pinstripes.

deGrom exited the game with a 1.81 ERA which is still good for tops in all baseball although Chris Sale has now joined him the sub-2.00 club. The offense and bullpen backed him up and he won his second straight start to raise his record to 7-7. This is the first time he picked up back-to-back wins since the beginning of the season.

deGrom once again had all of his pitches working but his most effective pitches were his slider and fastball. He got the highest percentage of whiffs on his slider and he threw it for a strike 72.7% of the time. He didn’t throw many curveballs but out of the eight he threw, seven were for strikes. His best inning was the second when he threw a total of fourteen pitches and twelve were strikes. Despite missing some power in the lineup, this was still a very good offensive team and deGrom’s pitch count did rise fairly quickly. Overall, it was a successful start even after giving up three runs, two of which were earned.

There are still arguments about the win stat in baseball and if deGrom has a reasonable shot at the Cy Young award with his record being what it is. Callaway defended his pitcher saying what he has done with the run support he has received, or lack there of, has been doubly impressive. The numbers back it up. deGrom has received an average of 3.75 runs a game whereas Max Scherzer gets an average of 5.38 and Aaron Nola gets 4.16.

deGrom has now surpassed Nola in home runs per nine and leads the league at 0.453. Nola is second at 0.468 and Scherzer is not even in the top ten in that category. deGrom still leads in FIP and ERA+ as well. His FIP stands at 2.13 and ERA+ at 208.

deGrom vs. the NL Cy Young Field

Pitcher IP ERA K BB WHIP bWAR
Pitcher IP ERA K BB WHIP bWAR
Jacob deGrom 159 1.81 195 36 0.969 7.3
Max Scherzer 168.2 2.19 227 40 0.883 7.8
Aaron Nola 154 2.28 149 43 1 7.2
Miles Mikolas 151.1 2.85 102 26 1.05 3.4
Zack Greinke 156 3 158 31 1.05 4.4

deGrom’s ERA is outpacing other memorable seasons in Mets history except Doc Gooden’s otherworldly 1.57 ERA. The innings pitched is still a bit low but deGrom did miss a start and was pulled early from two other starts.

deGrom vs. Mets History

Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB
Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB
Jacob deGrom (2018) 159 1.81 195 36
Matt Harvey (2013) 165.2 2.23 181 31
R.A. Dickey (2012) 168.1 2.89 175 38
Dwight Gooden (1985) 188.2 1.57 179 50
Tom Seaver (1973) 194.2 1.9 168 40

Shining on the national stage against a powerful team expected to win 100 games certainly helped his case to claim the Cy Young award at the end of the season. However, Max Scherzer remains unyielding but more and more the win statistic is becoming a national topic of conversation. If the numbers remain similar to what they are now, the voters will have quite the decision to make and one that could potentially change how pitchers are viewed going forward.