In April when the Mets were still mostly healthy and the season was young, the club rattled off an 11-game winning streak, seemingly announcing its presence as a legitimate contender in the National League East. But circumstances, as they often do, have changed. With Curtis Granderson no longer producing at high levels and a disabled list that fields a better team than the actual active roster, the Mets sit at .500: 37-37.
One of the few constants this season has been Jacob deGrom; who despite poor outings against the New York Yankees, Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs at the end of April and the start May; has been fantastic in improving upon the success of his 2014 Rookie of the Year campaign. I broke down deGrom’s continued success in 2015 at Beyond the Box Score two weeks ago.
Heading into Thursday’s matinee with the Milwaukee Brewers, things seemed to have hit rock bottom for the Mets. They were riding a seven-game losing streak, calls for both Terry Collins and Sandy Alderson’s respective heads were at a zenith, and like Matt Netter wrote here earlier this morning, it was make or break time for the Mets season.
DeGrom blocked out the noise and delivered a splendid performance, tossing eight shutout innings, striking out seven while not walking a batter and allowing just four hits. The performance lowered his season ERA to 2.15.
In a league filled with great pitching, deGrom is one of the best. His 59 ERA- is sixth-best in the NL, while he’s second to only Max Scherzer with a 69 FIP-. For those unfamiliar with “-” index stats, 100 is league average, and each point lower is one percent better than average (i.e.- deGrom’s ERA is 41 percent better than league average).
Without deGrom in the rotation, the Mets season could look starkly different, and it’s easy to overlook his accomplishments in the wake of a disappointing stretch for the team. They are by no means out of the muck simply because of his mastery Thursday afternoon – a bat needs to come from somewhere – but right now deGrom gives the Mets their best chance to win every five days, and that shouldn’t be taken for granted.