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Nowhere 2 Run: The Curious Case of Jacob DeGrom

The lack of run support for the Mets’ ace has reached almost comical proportions, before getting 12 Monday at Coors Field

Jacob Degrom

The lack of run support for the Mets’ ace has reached almost comical proportions, before getting 12 Monday at Coors Field

There was a time almost 60 years ago when the ineptitude of the New York Mets was considered comic relief. Those were the days when Casey Stengel, by then in his mid-70s, would dismiss defeat with a smile and a joke, making sure to control the narrative with his streams of convoluted reasoning.

And everyone laughed, even the sportswriters, especially in 1962 when the expansion team lost 120 games.

But as you know, the naivety of that era and has been replaced with a more serious and sarcastic viewpoint. And these Mets of 2018, at times just as inept as their forefathers, have been squarely in the bullseye because of their inability to support their fabulous starting pitcher, Jacob deGrom.

Jacob Degrom

Dustin Bradford / Getty

That is until Monday in Colorado when the Mets scored a dozen times for deGrom in a 12-2 win over the Rockies at Coors Field. The 12 runs were more than they’d scored in deGrom’s previous eight starts combined.

It was deGrom’s first win since May 18, incomprehensible when you realize he had allowed one earned run or fewer in 10 of his last 11 starts.

But then you look at the numbers and it all becomes clear why.

Before the Mets began a four-game series in Arizona last Thursday, they had scored only eight runs in their previous nine games, going 1-8 in the process. This was the same team that broke from the gate 11-1 for first-year manager Mickey Calloway, the former pitching coach of the Indians.

Not only that, but they hadn’t scored in multiple innings in any other of those games, the longest streak of this type since the 1978 A’s, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Before that, the lengthiest run of games without runs in multiple innings was 10 – set by Stengel’s 1964 Mets.

But it’s how this had impacted deGrom prior to Monday that had sharpened MLB’s focus. In his previous start in Atlanta, he allowed only one run in seven innings in a 2-0 loss. And after the game, Mets third baseman Todd Frazier felt so bad for his teammate that he apologized to him.

“I said, ‘Dude I’m sorry, I’m not sure what’s going on, I don’t know why we’re not producing for you,'” Frazier told deGrom, according to northjersey.com “We talk about trying too hard. Maybe we’re trying too hard when he’s pitching.”

Jacob Degrom

Rich Schultz / Getty

DeGrom had become the first pitcher since Arizona’s Randy Johnson in 1999 to pitch seven or more innings in five consecutive starts while allowing two runs of less each time and see his team lose them all. That season, Johnson won the Cy Young Award after leading the majors in both strikeouts and ERA for a team that was 102-60 and won the NL West.

In the 10 starts previous to Monday, deGrom had pitched 62.1 innings with an 0.87 ERA with the Mets winning only twice because they scored only 19 runs.

DeGrom, 30, is now 5-2 in 15 starts. His ERA (1.51) leads the major leagues. He has walked only 24 in 95.1 innings with 120 strikeouts and his WHIP is a startling 0.986.

If these numbers are reminiscent of something Tom Seaver or Dwight Gooden would have posted, there is a reason. No pitcher in team history has reached the All-Star break with an ERA of 1.51 or below. In fact, only five pitchers since the divisional format was adopted in 1969 ended the first half with an ERA lower than deGrom’s.

“I think he’s proven over the last two years that he’s in the conversation as one of the best pitchers in baseball,” Rockies manager Bud Black told The Associated Press.

And one last thing: The Mets entered Tuesday 31-38 record with a .229 team batting average, 28th in the majors. The 1962 Mets hit .240.

Yep, poor Jacob deGrom.

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