The ERA of his ways may just land Jacob deGrom the Cy Young Award. Victories do not seem relevant when compared to his ever-shrinking, major league-leading 1.77 earned run average.
But a win every now and then is satisfying, and in deGrom’s case, he hadn’t had a ‘W’ since June 18. In seven ensuing starts, the Mets scored 16 runs. They scored eight in shutting out the Reds Wednesday at Citi Field.
DeGrom (6-7), the recipient, acted the same way he always does, win, lose or no-decision. “I just try to go out there and put up zeros,” he said, “whether we score eight runs, one run, no runs, that’s my main goal when I get out there.’’
Mickey Callaway has coined the term run prevention. It might even replace ERA in the ever-burgeoning sabermetric world that so consumes the sport.
Callaway said it should be the determining factor when analyzing candidates for the Cy Young. “DeGrom has been so much better than everyone else at preventing runs,’’ the manager said, “I mean way better...For him to prevent runs like he’s doing at this rate, it’s almost historic. It’s going to be an interesting cite when the time comes. I think at this point run prevention is everything, and that should probably be accounted for more than anything else.’’
DeGrom does not speak in sabermetrics in describing the mission on his mind. “When I go out there, I don’t want anybody to score,’’ deGrom said. “That’s been how I approached this year. Try to keep guys from getting around the bases.’’
As for any postseason awards, deGrom said, “Haven’t thought about it really...I said before that’s what as a starting pitcher that’s kind of the highest honor you can have, so I think you go around and ask any starter in here or pitcher at all that would be, yes, I would like to win one, but I haven’t kept track of it.’’
DeGrom needed time to get loose and was tested early, needing 60 pitches through the first three of his six-inning, 10-strikeout performance. Phillip Ervin and Scooter Gennett reached him for one-out singles in the first. With runners on first and third, deGrom got a big out by striking out slugger Eugenio Suarez. The inning ended when Gennett was thrown out trying to steal second.
“Early on I was struggling with command and I felt off,’’ deGrom said “I came up here [the clubhouse], I did a couple of towel drills and felt like I got back in line where I wanted to be later in the game.’’
It was exactly what Callaway expected.
“He always seems to step it up even when he doesn’t quite have his best stuff and there’s a runner in scoring position or a runner at third with less than two outs,’’ Callaway said. “He gets the big strikeout, no matter how he’s feeling…He’s always getting ahead attacking and then wiping them out with his slider.’’
DeGrom’s teammates gave him a 5-0 lead by the fifth inning. Austin Jackson’s RBI double in the second made it 1-0. In the fourth, Reds starter Robert Stephenson (0-1) walked DeGrom on four pitches with the bases loaded for the righthander’s second RBI in as many games.
“I’m seeing the ball,’’ deGrom joked.
Brandon Nimmo had three doubles, tying a franchise record, and drove in three runs. Jackson had three hits and also drove in three runs.
It was all for the benefit of deGrom.
“Jake is definitely doing something special this year,” Nimmo said, “and obviously something we all are privileged to watch.’’
Jackson added, “Everybody knows what type of pitcher he is when he’s on the mound. If you get him a couple of runs, he’ll do his job and take care of the rest. We did a good job of getting guys out there and getting timely hits when we needed them.’’
deGrom's overall ERA
deGrom's ERA during seven-start winless streak.
Total strikeous (tied for second in NL)
Double-digit strikeout games this season.
Times deGrom has allowed one run or fewer this season in 23 starts.
Starts in a row deGrom has held an opponent to three runs or fewer.