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Jacob deGrom’s stellar season: Start #29

It was a record-breaking start for the righty against the Marlins.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jacob deGrom’s twenty-ninth start was delayed twice. He was originally supposed to start the finale against the Phillies, but with rain in the forecast Corey Oswalt got the start instead. The Mets ended up playing the game uninterrupted and getting the victory. The following day did get rained out so deGrom started the opener against Miami with some extra rest. The delay also unfortunately cost him a start at the end of the year which will cost him some innings in the Cy Young race.

It would have been understandable if deGrom was a bit rusty when his start against the Marlins got underway. By his insane standards, he typically struggles against the Marlins. He is 0-2 this season against them in four games. His ERA is 3.12 in those starts and Miami is the only team he has given up more than three runs to this season. He gave up four back on April 10 in a game the Mets eventually won.

When the 30-year-old walked the first batter of the game it seemed like perhaps the delay had gotten to him. However, he righted himself quickly and struck out the next four batters he faced. He didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning when Jeff McNeil couldn’t quite corral a ball on the infield. It seemed harmless enough at the time since there were two outs in the inning. Derek Dietrich then followed with a bloop hit to put two runners on. That brought up Lewis Brinson and he sent an 0-2 fastball hurtling toward the centerfield wall. Austin Jackson initially broke in on the ball, and perhaps Juan Lagares makes the catch, but the ball fell for a double and two runs scored.

Outside of that one hiccup deGrom was dominant. He pitched seven innings and struck out nine against a pesky team. His ERA slightly rose from 1.68 to 1.71. He of course got the loss since the Mets only scored one run while he was in the game so his record now sits below .500 for the year.

Even with the loss it was a historic game for the ace. He broke a record that was set two years before Titanic set sail.

Even with that new record under his belt, his season joins several other notable names as one of the few to have 200 strikeouts and a 200+ ERA in the same season.

Luckily for him, but not so much for Aaron Nola, Nola has struggled in his past two starts. He reached 200 strikeouts but he has seen his ERA balloon to 2.42. After keeping home runs down for most of the season, the long ball has plagued Philadelphia’s ace in September. In three starts this month he has given up seven home runs and is sporting a 5.60 ERA for this final month of the season. Perhaps it is fatigue but Nola has struggled during the home stretch which could cost him in the Cy Young voting.

The same could not be said for Max Scherzer. Despite giving up three runs he pitched a complete game against the Cubs and struck out eleven. His ERA did rise to 2.31 but he is showing no signs of slowing down as the season nears its end.

As for deGrom he has a tough schedule ahead with the Red Sox up next but that could work in his favor.

deGrom still has quite the lead in not only ERA but FIP and ERA+. His FIP is 2.06 and is well ahead of Scherzer who sits in third at 2.66 and Nola in fourth at 2.97. deGrom’s ERA+ is also miles ahead of the rest of the field. His stands at 216 whereas Scherzer and Nola are at 186 and 173 respectively.

deGrom also still leads in HR/9 and fWAR but Scherzer still has the advantage in innings pitched, strikeouts, K/9, and WHIP.

deGrom vs. the NL Cy Young Field

Jacob deGrom 195 1.71 239 44 0.954 8.8
Max Scherzer 202.2 2.31 271 46 0.883 9.7
Aaron Nola 193.2 2.42 2.01 51 0.971 8.8

No matter how you slice it, deGrom’s season will go down as one of the best in Mets’ history. It might be better viewed with some distance after the season since the frustration over the lack of run support is still fresh, but one former Mets’ Cy Young winner is definitely rooting for deGrom to join the illustrious club.

deGrom vs. Mets History

Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB
Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB
Jacob deGrom (2018) 195 1.71 239 44
R.A. Dickey (2012) 205 2.68 197 48
Dwight Gooden (1985) 223.2 1.81 219 56
Tom Seaver (1973) 242 1.71 205 47

One mistake cost deGrom against the Marlins to hand him is ninth loss of the season but he is still holding his own in a tight race. Perhaps one stat that illustrates this tight race is opponents batting average with runners in scoring position. Batters against deGrom are hitting just .148/.206/.219 with a .424 OPS with RISP. As for Scherzer, they are hitting .145/.207/.218 with a .425 OPS. After over five months and almost 200 innings, they are separated by mere thousandths of a point in this one particular statistic.

There are those who scoff at deGrom’s record and that might cost him somewhat in the voting, but other than the number in the W column, all the other numbers suggest deGrom is having a special season and one that should be rewarded at the end of the year.