(NEW YORK) — He’s considered by many the best pitcher in baseball, and on Friday night, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom continued to find new ways to impress, flustering the Washington Nationals in a shutout masterpiece.
The righty struck out 15 batters, allowing just two hits and no walks in nine innings, all in a 6-0 Mets win. It continues an early-season run that has some saying the two-time Cy Young Award winner has somehow gotten even better.
DeGrom has a 2-1 record after his first four starts of the campaign, but that belies his performance so far. He’s struck out 50 batters in just 29 innings, allowing only 13 hits and one earned run.
“It goes down to just one pitch at a time,” deGrom said. “That’s how I concentrate on a game. Hit my spot. If you end up missing it, so what. You’ve got to make the next pitch. But it’s that focus on that pitch that you’re about to throw that you can control. The previous games, those are over with.”
Remarkably, the 15 K’s marked a new career-high for deGrom, breaking the mark he had tied in each of his previous two outings. Only Pedro Martinez (1999) and Gerrit Cole (2019) had ever recorded 14 or more strikeouts in three consecutive games.
And no Mets pitcher had recorded 15 strikeouts in a game since Al Leiter in 1999.
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Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo called his teammate “unbelievable” after Friday’s game. “He has to be from a different planet, because he does things that seem out of this world.”
Not only has deGrom been a force on the mound, he’s also dominated in the batter’s box. The 33-year-old collected two hits — including an RBI double — on Friday. He now has six hits in his first 11 at-bats of 2021.
“It’s still surprising to me,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas. “I think we’re all…witnessing something special. It’s unbelievable.”
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that deGrom is the first pitcher since former Met Dwight Gooden in 1984 to record multiple hits and also strike out 15 batters in the same game.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s going to happen again and again,” Rojas added. “This guy, we talk about how big of a competitor that he is. That’s one thing, and the other thing is his abilities, how special an athlete he is. Yes, he’s a special pitcher, but he’s a special athlete.”
DeGrom has already said this season that he hopes to win another Cy Young, that he wants to pitch until he’s 40, and that he strives to finish his career as an “inner-circle Hall of Famer.” After Friday night’s outing, it’s just a little bit harder to doubt the best pitcher in baseball.
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