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Tracking Jacob deGrom and the NL Cy Young race

deGrom’s dominant outing last night helped his cause.

Arizona Diamondbacks v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

With his outstanding start against the Arizona Diamondbacks last night, Jacob deGrom served up a reminder that he still has a real chance at repeating as the National League Cy Young winner. In his seven innings of work, deGrom struck out eleven, walked one, and gave up just one run on three hits—with the lone run scoring when Wilmer Flores hit a solo home run against him.

With that, deGrom now has a 2.70 ERA and 2.84 FIP on the season with 231 strikeouts in 183 innings over the course of 29 starts. That combination makes him a legitimate contender for the award this year, if not the current frontrunner.

Among qualified National League starting pitchers, deGrom’s ERA ranks fourth, trailing on Hyun-Jin Ryu at 2.45, Max Scherzer at 2.56, and Mike Soroka at 2.67. And Sonny Gray is close behind deGrom with a 2.75 ERA. But none of those pitchers have racked up the innings that deGrom has, with Ryu’s 161.2 innings the second-highest of that group.

Given the innings lead that deGrom has, it’s not surprising that he ranks first in the league in strikeouts, with Scherzer sitting in third with 216, six behind Stephen Strasburg, who’s having a good-not-great season with a 3.50 ERA.

Pitcher wins haven’t been nearly as significant a factor in recent Cy Young voting as they were in the past, but deGrom doesn’t even have all that much of a disadvantage there with his 9-8 record. Of the top five in the NL in ERA, Ryu leads the pack with 12 wins, while Soroka has 11, and Scherzer and Gray have 10.

If the season ended right now, deGrom would be a deserving winner of the award. A little over a month ago, he had clearly put himself in this position, and now he has an opportunity to put an exclamation point on an already-excellent season.

Assuming the Mets continue to roll with their five-man rotation, deGrom is in line for three more starts on regular rest. If the Mets’ regular season finale against the Braves on September 29 has any playoff implications, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start on short rest—by just one day—and squeeze in a fourth. If all three remaining starts go about as well as last night’s, which sounds like a silly proposition for the vast majority of major league pitchers, it would be awfully difficult for any of his competitors to beat him out for the award.