Slice it up any way you’d like, but no one is going to want to see the New York Mets in the postseason.
Not only do the Mets possess the second-best team ERA (2.90) since July 1 but their starting pitchers own a 2.87 ERA after the All-Star break — and they’re only getting stronger.
In fact, the Mets have three of the game’s most dominant pitchers within their ranks.
Jacob deGrom is officially back in the fold and looking like his former self after a superb outing on Sunday against the Atlanta Braves, which was just his second start of the season and his first appearance at Citi Field in over a calendar year.
He went 5.2 perfect innings before faltering to allow two runs on just one hit — a Dansby Swanson homer — that ultimately led to his hook, striking out 12 and overpowering one of the more imposing lineups in the National League in a 5-2 Mets win.
Above all else, his slider was working as the Braves swung and missed on each of the first 18 thrown their way.
“It was kind of emotional walking out there. I hadn’t taken this mound in over a year,” deGrom said. “I noticed [my slider] was good in the bullpen. I didn’t throw any changeups and that was part of the reason why, was how good I felt my slider was, so I didn’t want to make a mistake on my changeup and leave one over the middle of the plate, so I mainly stuck fastball, slider.
The dominant performance featured a MLB record, too, as he racked up the most career strikeouts, (1,523) over his first 200 career starts.
“I wish I was more equipped to say something deserving of his outing,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It was something to watch.”
After Joely Rodriguez provided 2.1 scoreless innings, the proverbial executioner of New York’s dominant stable of pitchers preserved deGrom’s first victory of 2022 as closer Edwin Diaz continued his remarkable campaign as the game’s most dominant closer.
Striking out the side on just 14 pitches, Diaz picked up his 26th save of the year while lowering his ERA to 1.39. But it’s the strikeout numbers that are almost incomprehensible at this point. In just 45.1 innings of work this season, the fireballing right-hander has struck out 91 batters. That’s 52.9% of the men he’s faced.
All in all, Mets pitching struck out 19 Braves — tying a franchise record for the most punchouts in a single game, which clinched four wins in the five-game series against Atlanta to open up a 6.5-game lead atop the NL East that came less than 24 hours after Max Scherzer befuddled Braves in a 6-2 victory on Saturday night.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner (that makes five between him and deGrom), struck out 11 while allowing just four hits and zero walks to improve to 6-2 on the season with a 1.98 ERA and 0.899 WHIP.
Since his return from the injured list on July 5 (seven starts), the 38-year-old has a 1.37 ERA across 46 innings with 61 strikeouts.
Imagine having a healthy deGrom and Scherzer starting the first two games of a playoff series with Diaz waiting in the wings to close things down? Braves manager Brian Snitker might be.
“If anything, they’re just getting better,” he said.
For more on the Mets, Jacob deGrom, and Edwin Diaz, visit AMNY.com