Meet the Mess
Update: Mets hitters still really hate Jacob deGrom
It's impossible to say too many good things about Jacob deGrom, a guy who right now looks so dominant that calling him the best pitcher in baseball feels like an understatement. He had an "off" game by his standards Wednesday night against the Red Sox, which meant that he went six innings, gave up one run on three hits, struck out nine, walked one, and saw his ERA rise from 0.31 to 0.51. In the process, he kept up his historical strikeout pace:
That's quite an off night. (By the way, one difference between deGrom and Ryan? In that stretch, Ryan had 25 walks...deGrom has four. FOUR.)
Before we get on to the bad stuff, let me quickly nerd out on the guy who is likely the best we've ever seen at a concept called "pitch tunneling." He's got A+ velocity with pinpoint control, and that never hurts, but the real magic of deGrom is that because he's so stupidly consistent with his release point, all of his pitches look the same about halfway toward the plate...until they're not. Here are two great visualizations of that, one from last night with a fastball and a slider, and another with all three of his main pitches:
Trying to hit this guy is basically like trying to save a penalty in soccer; you have to guess, and even if you guess right, it might not work out.
And now, let us s*** on the New York Mets. Why? Because, as you may have heard, they will absolutely not give this dude a shred of run support. It happened again last night, when they looked utterly pathetic against the Sox, mustering just two hits and no runs all game. Even Francisco Lindor—no, especially Francisco Lindor—looks pathetic. This, as you may have heard if you know any Mets fans, is too typical. In five starts, the man has thrown 35 innings, allowing five runs (again, 0.51 ERA), and he's 2-2.
Two. and. Two.
Let me borrow some stats from ESPN's David Schoenfeld to hammer home the point:
Wednesday marked the third time in three seasons the Mets have lost 1-0 in a deGrom start and the 33rd time in deGrom's career he allowed one run or no runs and failed to pick up the win -- easily the most in the majors since he debuted in 2014. (Julio Teheran is next with 25 such starts in that span.)
Maybe the most amazing part of the lack of offense for deGrom is that since 2018, which includes his Cy Young seasons of 2018 and 2019, he has a 1.99 ERA over 81 starts -- and yet is just 27-21. The Mets are just 38-43 in games he has started since 2018.
Incredible. Get this man some wins!
To deGrom's credit, he could not possibly handle it better. Every single time this happens, his quotes are basically the same—nobody's to blame, everybody's trying, I don't think about it that much. Last night, he said, "everybody's out there giving 100 percent. Nobody wants to get out. Those guys try to put together the best at-bats."
Which is very admirable, and also necessary; the fact that the Mets can't get him the easy wins he deserves would drive a lesser man insane. deGrom takes it all in stride, and that healthy attitude is no small part of his success. Besides, Mets fans are more than capable of expressing his rage for him:
There's the hateful energy we need! Meanwhile, deGrom will just keep on being the best pitcher in the game, and maybe one day he'll have an offense worthy of him.