Jacob deGrom was completely dominant in the Mets’ 6-0 victory over the Nationals in the series opener at Citi Field. He tossed a complete game—the fourth of his career and the second shutout. He struck out fifteen batters, a career high, topping his mark of fourteen, which he had set in each of his prior two starts. He finished with a Game Score of 98, a mark that has only been surpassed by Tom Seaver and David Cone in a Mets uniform. His season ERA is now 0.31. And his career ERA is now 2.55, surpassing Tom Seaver for best all time with the Mets.
Oh, and did I mention that he had two hits and an RBI too? By doing so, he became the first pitcher in MLB history with at least fifteen strikeouts, zero walks, two hits or fewer allowed, and two hits as a hitter in an outing. His RBI was the one that got the Mets on the board in this contest, snapping a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth inning. Prior to that moment, Nationals righty Erick Fedde was putting together a strong outing in his own right, matching zeros with deGrom and keeping his own pitch count low as he did so. But with one out, Fedde hit J.D. Davis with a pitch and walked Jeff McNeil to bring deGrom to the plate, batting eighth, which is indicative of how deGrom’s season has gone with the bat. deGrom laced a double down the left field line to drive in Davis; it looked like another night where if the Mets were going to win, deGrom was going to have to do it all himself.
But luckily Brandon Nimmo broke out of his mini cold stretch to help things along. After Tomás Nido grounded out, Nimmo singled sharply past a diving Josh Bell to plate two more runs and give deGrom a little more breathing room to work with. It was all he would need.
deGrom never looked back. He struck out the side in the sixth and then did it again in the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, the Mets added a run off Austin Voth. Nimmo started the rally, missing a home run by inches and smoking a one-out double to left-center. Francisco Lindor then struck out swinging, but Dominic Smith came through with a bloop single to make it 4-0 Mets. The Mets threatened for more when Pete Alonso hit a bloop down the line to send Smith to third and Michael Conforto walked to load the bases. But J.D. Davis struck out looking to end the threat.
deGrom retired the Nationals 1-2-3 in the eighth and did not spend many pitches doing so. He had reached the 100-pitch mark at that point, but there was no question—at least not in deGrom’s mind—that he would be returning to the mound for the ninth. His spot was due up in the bottom of the inning and he put on his batting helmet as soon as he returned the dugout, signaling to Luis Rojas, “This game is mine.”
And reader, Jacob deGrom strode to the plate with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and got another hit. His 2021 batting average is now .545. He has more hits than runs allowed this season. And with two outs, Brandon Nimmo sent a Kyle McGowin pitch into the Coca Cola Corner to drive in deGrom and make the score 6-0 Mets. Nimmo finished the night with three hits and four RBIs, which I guess means his sore hip is on the mend.
After a dreadful series in Chicago, Jacob deGrom did exactly what aces do. He righted the ship. It’s only a shame that we will have to wait another five days to see what he can do next. In the meantime, the Mets will send Marcus Stroman (and a well-rested bullpen) to the hill to face off against Joe Ross in the second game of this weekend series against the Nationals at Citi Field.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jacob deGrom, +36.4% WPA (pitcher), +15.6% WPA (hitter)
Big Mets loser: Tomás Nido, -9.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: +36.4% WPA
Mets hitters: +13.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jacob deGrom’s RBI double in the fifth, +19.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Andrew Stevenson’s two-out double in the third, -2.6% WPA