It was almost a cruel joke for Jacob deGrom against the Los Angeles Dodgers last night.
One start removed from being the only offensive contributor in a game where he pitched eight innings of one-run, 10-strikeout ball, the should-be Cy Young and his orange and blue counterparts were back to their old ways.
deGrom promptly surrendered a solo home run to former Met Justin Turner in the bottom of the first. Of course, though, New York’s ace settled down in typical fashion and proceeded to totally blank hitters the rest of the game with his seemingly unhittable fastball and filthy slider.
This was business as usual for deGrom. The ability to mix in his changeup with his primary pitches along with a uniquely cerebral approach and forward motion to the plate predictably dominated a lost Dodger lineup.
But like I said, this was close to being another unfair joke. deGrom found himself with no run support for the infinity-th game this season and yet again took matters into his own hands with the bat. Alex Wood was on top of Mickey Callaway’s squad, allowing one run over five innings. That one run, however, was thanks to a deGrom single. Deja vu… kind of.
Things were looking unsettling for the Mets as they could not execute on their seventh inning bases-loaded chance. But like so many other times this season, Brandon Nimmo saved the day.
In the ninth, after Jay Bruce doubled to right and Jeff McNeil was hit by pitch from a shaky Kenta Maeda, Nimmo uncorked a pinch-hit three-run homer which would eventually be the obvious difference-maker in another almost Metsy loss.
And MLB record alert: Last night was the 25th consecutive start Jacob deGrom has allowed three runs or fewer.
What is truly incredible about all of this is that deGrom still holds an unfathomable 8-8 record with an MLB-leading 1.68 ERA and eye-popping 0.98 WHIP. His season is the best argument people have against the importance of pitcher wins. What more can a starting pitcher do to help his team secure a victory night in and night out?
P.S. I, along with everybody else, would like to see Brandon Nimmo starting every single day.
P.P.S. Why was Jeff McNeil batting eighth? Entering last night’s whirlwind of a game, McNeil was hitting .346 against lefties.
Photo credit: David Mackson – USA Today Sports