Jacob deGrom is on pace to shatter some MLB records this year, but he grabbed one sure one and moved within reach of a second on Monday.
By pitching five innings of shutout ball in Game 1 of the Mets’ doubleheader with the Braves on Monday, deGrom notched his 12th straight start with three innings pitched or more and one earned run or less allowed – surpassing Bob Gibson for sole possession of the MLB record in that category.
Monday was deGrom’s 12th start of 2021, which means, of course, that he has allowed one run or less in every outing this season – as exhibited by his sparkling 0.50 ERA, with four earned runs allowed in 72 innings. The last time he failed to do so? His final outing of 2020, a five-inning, three-run outing against the Nationals last Sept. 26, ironically enough in the first game of a doubleheader.
Both deGrom’s performance streak, and his scoreless innings streak, were saved in the fifth inning thanks to the dimensions of Citi Field.
After deGrom issued a two-out walk, Braves catcher Kevan Smith cracked a long fly ball to left center that dropped in between Dom Smith and Albert Almora – but went over the wall for a ground-rule double, saving a run by sending the runner back to third and keeping Smith at second. The next batter, pinch-hitter Pablo Sandoval, popped up to end the inning, leaving deGrom unscored upon and extending his streak to 30 scoreless innings, dating back to the third inning against the Rockies on May 25.
In addition to all that, deGrom’s 1-2-3 first put him at 34 consecutive batters retired in the first inning – he hasn’t allowed a baserunner in the first inning since walking Bryce Harper with two outs in the Mets’ opening game – and ran a streak up to 22 consecutive batters in a row retired (over three starts) before walking opposing pitcher Kyle Muller with two outs in the third.
Entering Monday, deGrom had an ERA+ of 724, and if you think that sounds insane, it is; ERA+ is an analytic measure that adjusts league ERA numbers to ballparks, and all-time, the highest for an entire season is 292, recorded by Trevor Bauer in the shortened 2020 season, and the highest for a full 162-game season was Pedro Martinez’s 291 in 2000 – the year he won his second straight Cy Young Award and third in four years.
The latter Cy swing is what deGrom is going for (and that interruption was Bauer last year), and if he gets through three scoreless innings in his next outing, deGrom will set a new Mets record for consecutive scoreless innings, surpassing R.A. Dickey’s 32 2/3 in 2012.
And, because Game 1 of Mets-Braves was the first on MLB’s slate Monday, and the Mets were the home team, deGrom also became the first pitcher to be inspected between innings as part of MLB’s initiative to crack down on foreign substance use – and he passed with flying colors.
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