This seemed like it was shaping up to be a tough week for Jacob deGrom to keep pace in the Cy Young race. Both Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer pitched shortly before it was Jacob deGrom’s turn and the gauntlet was thrown. Scherzer didn’t allow any runs in his most recent start and deGrom even got an up close view of Nola dominating the Mets before he was set to take the mound the next day.
Seeimingly unfazed by his two closest competitors for the Cy Young, deGrom pitched one of his best games of the season. It was his first complete game this year made all the more impressive since he had a 40-minute rain delay to deal with.
deGrom was going head-to-head with former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, but the Mets managed to get their starter a 1-0 lead in the fourth before the skies opened up. There was some concern that would end deGrom’s outing, but out popped the righty from the dugout before the tarp was even fully off the field. When play resumed, he gave up a leadoff hit to Rhys Hoskins and then settled into a groove. He retired the next eight batters until Hoskins got to him again, this time with a double.
The Mets added to their lead in the seventh, but the Phillies managed to score an unearned run in the bottom of the inning when deGrom couldn’t handle Amed Rosario’s throw on a potential double play ball. Odubel Herrera was still tagged out at first after he stepped toward second and ran back toward first.
In the eighth the Phillies emptied their bench in attempt to get to the Mets’ ace but he was equal to the task. First up was pinch hitter and old friend Asdrubal Cabrera who flew out to left. Justin Bour was the second pinch hitter of the inning but he struck out on three pitches, the last pitch an absolutely flithy slider from deGrom. Philadelphia did get a baserunner that inning but deGrom emphatically ended the inning with a strikeout of Hoskins.
Despite how dominant deGrom has been this year, he did not have a complete game yet this season. That would soon change. The first batter of the inning reached but Mickey Callaway stuck with his ace. The runner was immediately erased when Wilson Ramos grounded into a double play. That brought up Nick Williams and he was all that stood between deGrom and his first complete game of the season. deGrom saved the best for last and threw his hardest pitches of the game to get Williams to ground out to end the game.
Jacob deGrom threw his first complete game in a Cy Young season.— David Adler (@_dadler) August 18, 2018
The final at-bat -- a game-ending groundout from Nick Williams:
Pitch 106: 98.3 mph
Pitch 107: 99.0 mph
Pitch 108: 99.1 mph (groundout)
Those were, successively, his three fastest pitches of the game.
When the final out was recorded, deGrom’s ERA stood at 1.71 after pitching nine innings and giving up no earned runs. He struck out nine and definitively answered back in the Cy Young race. This was the twenty-second consecutive start where he has allowed three runs or fewer which is two away from the record Dwight Gooden set in 1985.
deGrom leads the league in fWAR, HR/9, FIP, and ERA+, and he is ahead of both Scherzer and Nola in BB/9. His ERA+ stands at an incredible 217 and his FIP of 2.09 is well ahead of Scherzer’s at 2.59.
Even during a week where Scherzer and Nola threw their best at the competition, deGrom was equal to the task and proved once again why he belongs at the top.
deGrom vs. the NL Cy Young Field
If deGrom continues to pitch down the stretch like has has all year, his season will definitely end up as one of the best in team history. This is the third season of his career where he has over 200 strikeouts and only Tom Seaver, David Cone, and Dwight Gooden have more 200+ strikeout seasons for the Mets.
deGrom vs. Mets History
|Jacob deGrom (2018)||168||1.71||204||36|
|Matt Harvey (2013)||171.2||2.25||187||31|
|R.A. Dickey (2012)||175.1||2.82||181||40|
|Dwight Gooden (1985)||197.2||1.64||188||50|
|Tom Seaver (1973)||203.2||1.86||175||44|
This was a great start for deGrom who lowered his ERA from 1.81 to 1.71 over the span of nine innings. He picked up the win to bring his record above .500 and put in his own bid for why he is the best pitcher in the league. It is now up to the others to catch him if they want the Cy Young at the end of the year.