We’re running out of superlatives to adorn New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom with because we simply have never seen a start to a season like the one he’s having this year.
The 33-year-old righty was superb yet again late Saturday night in San Diego as his restrictions were completely off after two starts of limitations stemming from his return from a side issue that forced him out for a pair of appearances. deGrom went seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and a walk with 11 strikeouts in a 4-0 Mets win to improve to 5-2 on the season.
“I felt pretty good,” deGrom said. “I noticed there in the seventh I started to get a little tired, actually the sixth.”
This is where the numbers start to get ridiculous.
In each of deGrom’s nine starts this season, he has not yielded more than an earned run with more than half of them (five) featuring completely scoreless outings. He lowered his season ERA to an astounding 0.62, which is the lowest seen through nine starts in the live-ball era.
Since the start of the 1913 campaign, no other pitcher had yielded four earned runs or fewer through his first nine starts of a season until deGrom.
That ERA is a half-run lower than Hall of Famer Bob Gibson’s 1.12 mark in 1968 — the current live-ball record for lowest ERA in a single season.
“I try not to think about [the ERA],” deGrom said. “I try to go out there and put us in a position to win.”
He might not be thinking about it, but everyone else is every time he toes the rubber. And with that, comes the realization that we could be watching one of the very best pitching performances in Major League Baseball history.
At this current pace, deGrom’s WHIP of 0.569, strikeouts-per-nine-innings of 14.4, his strikeout-to-walk ratio of 16.63, and his ERA+ of 624 all stand to be MLB records should he do the almost-unthinkable of maintaining such high standards.
I said almost unthinkable, though — not completely unthinkable.