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Jacob deGrom’s stellar season: Start #30

The righty kept his streak alive against a potent offense.

New York Mets v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Jacob deGrom’s thirtieth start came against a Red Sox team that is averaging over five runs per game, which is the best in the majors, and they are toward the top or at the top is almost all the other offensive categories. They are also one of the toughest teams to strike out and had a MVP candidate in the lineup.

This game also featured a premier pitching match-up between two Cy Young contenders and the ERA leaders in their respective leagues. Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom of course squared off in college and they were finally opposite each other again eight years later at Fenway Park.

Sale got the better deGrom’s team in college despite deGrom taking him deep for his only collegiate home run. So perhaps deGrom was looking for a measure of revenge when he took to the mound in Boston. He came out firing and struck out five of the first six batters he faced. His slider was particularly wicked and it kept Red Sox hitters off balance all afternoon. It went for a strike almost 65% of the time which complimented his blazing fastball nicely.

As good as he looked early on he proved mortal in the third. He gave up three runs with the biggest blow coming off the bat of Brock Holt who blasted a two-run home run off of him. That was only the tenth home run deGrom has given up all season. Even after getting hit hard he refocused and allowed only three baserunners for the rest of the day and was never in any real danger.

Luckily for him Chris Sale was on a pitch count and only lasted three innings. The offense was able to get the Boston bullpen which got deGrom off the hook for the loss. It still wasn’t enough to get him the win which is par for the course this season.

With the way deGrom has pitched this season this could potentially be viewed as a “bad” start. A bad start for him is seven innings pitched, three runs, and twelve strikeouts against the league’s most dangerous offense. In fact, the twelve strikeouts were the most by any pitcher against Boston this season. Nevertheless, his ERA rose .07 points and stands at 1.78 for the year.

He was unhappy with his performance but he continued his streak of starts allowing three runs or fewer for the twenty-seventh straight game. It was also his twenty-second consecutive quality start. After the start he surpassed 200 innings for the year and has over 250 strikeouts for the season. Both Chris Sale and Boston manager Alex Cora were impressed with deGrom and had high praise for him after the game.

Max Scherzer also had a bad start in his latest outing but his looked quite a bit different than deGrom’s. He lasted only four innings against Atlanta and gave up six runs. He struck out six and saw his ERA rise .22 points. It stands at 2.53 for the season which is .75 points higher than deGrom’s. It is even higher than Aaron Nola’s which is at 2.42 at the year.

After Scherzer’s latest performance a Hall of Famer weighed in with his thoughts.

This start is not necessarily deGrom’s crowning achievement for Cy Young but it is certainly something to add to an already sparkling resume. While his closest competitors struggled he put in yet another quality start which is all the more impressive considering the opponent.

deGrom’s FIP, ERA+, and fWAR are vastly superior to both Scherzer and Nola, whereas in the few categories Scherzer leads, deGrom has significantly closed the gap. deGrom’s fWAR is 8.0 compared with Scherzer who is in second at 6.8. deGrom also has the advantage in BB/9 and is tops in the league in HR/9. Scherzer leads in average, strikeouts, K/9, innings pitched, and WHIP.

deGrom vs. the NL Cy Young Field

Jacob deGrom 202 1.78 251 45 0.95 9.1 2.05 207
Max Scherzer 206.2 2.53 277 49 0.915 9.1 2.66 168
Aaron Nola 193.2 2.42 2.01 51 0.971 9 2.97 174

deGrom has joined an elite group in Mets history who have had 250+ strikeout seasons. Tom Seaver accomplished that feat three times and Doc Gooden did it twice in his Mets career.

Considering the past accomplishments of the elite pitchers in this franchise, having deGrom’s name listed among them is a pretty special feat. This season will unquestionably go down as one of the best in Mets’ history no matter what awards are handed out at the end of the season.

deGrom vs. Mets History

Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB
Pitcher (Year) IP ERA K BB
Jacob deGrom (2018) 202 1.78 251 45
R.A. Dickey (2012) 212 2.67 205 50
Dwight Gooden (1985) 232.2 1.74 229 56
Tom Seaver (1973) 251 1.69 218 47

An argument could be made that deGrom should be getting MVP consideration to go along with the Cy Young award at season’s end, but that might be too much for voters who are already having a difficult time with deGrom’s record. For as good as he has been, this season could be historic for a completely different reason. He could be the first Cy Young winner with a losing record. This would certainly further the conversation about the win statistic and it will be interesting to see how pitchers are viewed going forward.