Jacob deGrom just put the finishing touches on a brilliant 2018 season, one that should end up with a National League Cy Young Award.
The 30-year-old, in typical deGrom fashion, was dominant once again on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Braves, going eight shutout innings while allowing just two hits, lowering his already-sterling ERA to a jaw-dropping 1.70 on the campaign.
It was his 29th-consecutive start in which he allowed three runs or fewer and the eighth time he didn’t allow a single run.
Just take a look at how dominant he was over his 32 starts:
0 earned runs: 9 times
1 earned runs: 12 times
2 earned runs: 5 times
3 earned runs: 5 times
4 earned runs: 1 time
That 1.70 ERA is the sixth-lowest mark since Major League Baseball lowered the pitcher’s mound in 1969. Only Zack Greinke’s 1.66 ERA in 2015 was lower than deGrom’s over the past 23 years.
The superlatives don’t end there.
Since 1908, there had only been two pitchers in Major League Baseball that had a sub-2.00 ERA, over 250 strikeouts and fewer than 50 walks. The legendary Christy Mathewson did so for the New York Giants 110 years ago as well as Pedro Martinez with the Boston Red Sox in 2000 during his brilliant five-year run as the game’s most dominant pitcher.
DeGrom becomes pitcher No. 3 in that category as he finished with 269 strikeouts and just 46 walks.
But what feels even more rare for deGrom on Wednesday night was that he actually got some semblance of run support and a victory. The 3-0 Mets win improved deGrom’s record to 10-9, a pedestrian mark that shows just how insignificant the win-loss column really is.
Yet, when looking at a pitcher’s stats, his record is one of the first things that is looked at alongside ERA. It’s that record that will dissuade some Cy Young voters from going with deGrom, picking Max Scherzer or Aaron Nola instead.
Had deGrom actually pitched for a competent offense, we would be talking about one of the most remarkable pitching seasons in MLB history, even more so than we are right now.
Over his 32 starts, deGrom received an average of 3.53 runs of support per outing, second-worst in the majors. Only Cole Hamels had worse and he ended with a 9-11 record despite a far worse 3.87 ERA.
Of the 21 times this year he allowed one run or fewer, deGrom was laden with a no-decision 10 times and with a loss twice.
If the Mets scored four runs in each of deGrom’s starts, which is still below the MLB average of 4.45 runs per game, his record would have been approximately 20-4 this season.
That’s far more fitting for a pitcher with a resume like deGrom’s this year.