Jacob deGrom’s twenty-sixth start came on a day that his two main competitors for the Cy Young were facing off against each other in Washington. It also came on a day when deGrom was facing tough competition with Madison Bumgarner on the mound for the Giants.
The day before they were set to square off on the mound, Bumgarner advocated for deGrom to win the Cy Young at the end of the year, but once game time rolled around, Bumgarner returned to the scene of the Wild Card and was in Wild Card form.
This game was always going to be a tough hill to climb considering the Mets’ past performances against Bumgarner, but deGrom also did not have his best stuff. He was a bit wild and walked four batters—the first time all season that he walked more than three batters in a game. His fastball wasn’t as sharp as it normally is, and he relied on his offspeed pitches to get batters out.
deGrom’s changeup was especially effective, which has been generally the case for the month of August. He has been relying more on his changeup as his main secondary pitch this month, when it had been his slider for most of the year beforehand. Perhaps the changeup has led to his recent string of dominance for the month. He sports a 1.21 ERA for in August and has 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings pitched. Take out the game against Atlanta to begin the month and it gets even better.
As it starts getting down to crunch time in the National League Cy Young race, Jacob deGrom has posted a 0.98 ERA over his last four starts, and struck out at least nine batters in each of his last five. He's lowered his league-leading ERA from 1.85 to 1.71 over that stretch.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) August 23, 2018
Jacob deGrom did get a bit unlucky when Devin Mesoraco’s passed ball allowed the first run to score, and umpire Tony Randazzo missed an obvious strike call that would have ended the fourth inning. Instead, the inning continued and Bumgarner drove in the second run of the game with a double. deGrom was incensed and voiced his displeasure with the umpire.
He settled down enough to pitch six innings and gave up just one earned run. He also struck out ten, even without his best stuff. He struck out Andrew McCutchen three times and ended his day by striking out three in the sixth. Since the offense couldn’t touch Bumgarner, deGrom was handed the loss to bring his record to .500 once again, but his ERA remained at where it was to begin the game at 1.71.
Meanwhile in the capitol, the Scherzer-Nola duel was as good as advertised. Neither blinked until the the seventh, when Scherzer gave up a two-run home run to Odubel Herrera. Scherzer’s ERA went up and Nola’s went down, and they both now stand at 2.13 for the year.
Jacob deGrom today:— David Adler (@_dadler) August 23, 2018
6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 10 K
Max Scherzer today:
7 IP, 2 ER, 10 K
deGrom's ERA in losses: 2.73
Scherzer's ERA in losses: 2.84
Nola is proving to be tough competition in the Cy Young race. Putting the frustrations of the season aside, three pitchers from the same division are putting up some incredible numbers, which has been awesome to see, especially with the “NL Least” reputation the division owns. deGrom still leads in ERA, HR/9, BB/9, FIP, ERA+, and fWAR. His FIP is 2.07, Scherzer comes in at number three at 2.63, and Nola’s stands at 2.66. His ERA+ is currently 216 with Scherzer and Nola behind him at 200 and 196, respectively. Scherzer still leads in strikeouts, innings pitched, and K/9, but Nola is gaining ground in almost every category.
deGrom vs. the NL Cy Young Field
Sadly, Matt Harvey’s twenty-sixth start was his last in the 2013 season, but overall his season was still pretty outstanding and a great follow-up to R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young campaign the year before. As for deGrom, his ERA is now ahead of all the other Met greats through this point in the season. It will still be tough for him to catch Gooden’s numbers at the end of the year, but to be ahead at this point in the season is very impressive.
deGrom vs. Mets History
|Jacob deGrom (2018)||174||1.71||214||40|
|Matt Harvey (2013)||178.1||2.27||191||31|
|R.A. Dickey (2012)||182.1||2.76||183||41|
|Dwight Gooden (1985)||202.2||1.82||192||51|
|Tom Seaver (1973)||212.2||1.78||182||45|
Even on a day that wasn’t his best, Jacob deGrom managed to look like an ace, and on any other day it might have been enough. The Cy Young race remains super tight, and it won’t get any easier as all three pitchers are looking good entering the home stretch.