SAN DIEGO — Jacob deGrom’s campaign for a third National League Cy Young Award in four years is a go.
He offered more of his usual excellence Saturday in the Mets’ 4-0 win over the Padres: seven innings, no runs, 11 strikeouts. San Diego managed three hits and a walk.
Beginning with a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fourth, deGrom retired 11 of his final 12 batters.
His ERA is 0.62, first in the majors. Next best is the White Sox’s Lance Lynn at 1.23 — pretty much double deGrom.
His WHIP is 0.57, also first in the majors. Next best is the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff at 0.74.
"You know you’re watching something special," manager Luis Rojas said.
"I try not to think about it," deGrom said of his minuscule numbers one-third into the season.
Among the other statistics that begin to convey his dominance:
* DeGrom’s average fastball velocity was 100.4 mph, the fastest by a starter in a single game since 2008, when MLB started tracking such data.
Second on that list? DeGrom, five days earlier, at 100.1 mph.
* DeGrom’s 0.62 ERA is the lowest by any pitcher through nine starts since 1913, when earned runs became an official major-league stat.
In 1968, Bob Gibson was at 1.34. In 2000, Pedro Martinez was at 1.19.
* DeGrom’s ninth strikeout — Eric Hosmer swinging to end the sixth inning, stranding Fernando Tatis Jr. on second base — was the 1,450th of his career. That moved him into fourth place on the Mets’ all-time list, passing Sid Fernandez.
The only pitchers in Mets history with more strikeouts: Tom Seaver (2,541), Dwight Gooden (1,875) and Jerry Koosman (1,799).
A hint of potential struggle Saturday came in the fourth, when the Padres (36-24) loaded the bases on Jake Cronenworth’s single, Tatis' grounder to shortstop that became an error by Francisco Lindor and Eric Hosmer’s bloop single to left.
DeGrom responded by striking out Wil Myers (swinging at a slider) and Tucupita Marcano (swinging at a full-count slider).
"Lindor felt terrible about not making that play," deGrom said. "He kept saying, ‘Hey, pick me up, pick me up.’ That was my main goal. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to win baseball games. We’re all pulling in the same direction. Any time you can pick up your teammates is a plus. Whenever you are actually able to do it is a huge plus."
Rojas pulled deGrom at 85 pitches, his most in more than five weeks. DeGrom said he was fine with that.
"They asked me if I wanted the eighth and I said, ‘I’m pretty worn out, to be honest with you.’ So that came from me," deGrom said. "I felt good most of the night, except for those last couple of innings."
Rojas added: "If he felt right, he would’ve kept going, probably throw a complete game against those guys."
The Mets (28-23) took the lead — for the first time in the series — in the top of the fifth, moments after deGrom escaped the bases-loaded situation. Jose Peraza and Lindor homered against San Diego righthander Joe Musgrove.
Peraza’s came first, a one-out fly ball to leftfield. Two batters later, Lindor hit his, a two-out line drive to rightfield.
It was Lindor’s fifth long ball of the season. He is tied with James McCann and Jonathan Villar for second on the team behind Pete Alonso (seven).
"You could see deGrom a little bit more uplifted once he knew he was up," Rojas said.
Musgrove finished with three runs in five innings-plus, scattering eight hits and a walk. He also struck out 10.
He was solid. But he wasn’t deGrom.
"His stuff, along with his command, along with the athlete that he is fielding his position — it’s just his mindset," Rojas said. "Altogether, it’s something that I don’t think anybody else has in the world. This guy, we can single him out as the best pitcher."
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