The run support for Jacob deGrom

Due to the dreaded three I’s – injured, ineffective and inefficient – the Mets’ offense hasn’t been close to what was expected coming into the season. While the NL average runs per game is 4.43, the Mets are 13th with a 3.92 mark. And as bad as they’ve been overall, they’ve been worse when Jacob deGrom has been on the mound as the starting pitcher.

How bad have they been? Let’s look at it a couple of different ways. The reality is that deGrom has a 1.71 ERA but his record is 5-5 and the team is just 8-12 in that span. Baseball-Reference posted a factoid yesterday that if deGrom finishes with his current numbers, he’ll be the first pitcher to have an ERA+ of 200 or more and finish with a .500 record (or worse) since the 1880s. It’s difficult to truly wrap your head around that information.

If the Mets were magical and ultra-efficient and scored 3.92 runs in the first inning of every deGrom start – and then took the rest of the night off – he would have a 10-1 record, with the lone loss coming on April 10 when he allowed four runs in six innings pitched. If this below-average offensive team could just produce their average run support while deGrom was in the game, he would have a .909 winning percentage. And that’s with holding their less than stellar defense and terrible bullpen results constant.

Of course, deGrom doesn’t always pitch nine innings. In fact he hasn’t done it once in his 20 starts. He’s pitched eight innings five times. We’ve seen two games recently where deGrom pitched great but the team waited until after he left the game to score the majority of their runs. On July 6, he had 8 IP and 1 R and got a no decision in a game the Mets won, 5-1. On July 11, he had 8 IP and 0 R and got a no decision in a game the Mets won, 3-0. In those two contests, deGrom pitched 16 innings and the team scored eight runs, but only one of them when he was the beneficiary. It’s sort of mind blowing; yet it’s just another in a long list of bizarre things that have happened.

Let’s do an even more granular approach to dissecting deGrom’s run support. Instead of giving him the team average run support – of this below-average offensive team – for an entire game, let’s give him the average run support for when he’s actually in the game. Below is a chart of the runs scored by inning for the Mets this year to date. So, the Mets have played 98 games and in the first inning they’ve scored 54 runs. That’s an average of 0.55 runs per game. Here’s the entire chart:

Runs Scored
Inning # 0 Any 1 2 3 4 ≥5 Most Total Avg Avg/9inn
1 98 64 34 20 8 6 0 0 3 54 0.55 4.96
2 98 73 25 18 4 2 1 0 4 36 0.37 3.31
3 98 69 29 20 7 1 1 0 4 41 0.42 3.77
4 98 79 19 17 1 0 0 1 5 24 0.24 2.20
5 98 73 25 11 6 4 2 2 5 53 0.54 4.87
6 98 75 23 14 9 0 0 0 2 32 0.33 2.94
7 98 76 22 12 4 3 2 1 5 42 0.43 3.86
8 98 74 24 11 6 4 1 2 9 53 0.54 4.87
9 84 64 20 12 2 3 2 1 6 39 0.47 4.25
10 11 6 5 4 0 1 0 0 3 7 0.78 7.00
11 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
12 4 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 2 3 0.75 6.75
13 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
14 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.00
Total 891 663 228 140 48 24 9 7 9 384 0.43 3.89
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/25/2018.

So, if deGrom is the home pitcher and goes seven innings, let’s give him 2.88 runs and see how he does. Here’s the info for each start:

IP Actual Runs Average Runs Actual Result Average Result
5.2 4 2.12 W W
6.0 8 2.88 W W
6.0 4 2.88 ND ND
7.1 6 2.88 ND L
7.0 0 2.88 ND ND
7.1 5 3.37 W W
4.0 0 1.58 ND ND
1.0 0 0.55 ND ND
7.0 3 2.88 W W
7.0 1 2.88 ND ND
7.0 2 3.37 ND ND
7.0 1 2.88 ND W
8.0 1 3.37 L ND
7.0 0 3.37 L W
8.0 12 3.94 W W
6.0 1 2.45 L L
6.0 2 2.88 L L
8.0 1 3.37 ND W
8.0 0 3.37 ND W
8.0 2 3.37 L ND

Even if we give deGrom the below-average run support the Mets should have scored when he was in the game, his record would be 9-3. And that’s with rounding, too. So, even though they should have won his last game, 3.37-3, here it was rounded down to 3 and he got a no-decision instead of a Win.

It’s striking to see his lack of run support in 13 of his last 14 games. After getting good run support in five of his first six games, the offense has gone into hibernation. Ignoring his start on 6/18 in Colorado, deGrom has received 14 runs while he was in the game in 84 IP since the beginning of May.

There’s league average offense, there’s what the Mets have done overall and there’s what the Mets have done when deGrom pitches. And there are a handful of outings that are distorting those numbers. B-R shows deGrom receiving an average of 3.63 runs per game, compared to their 3.92 mark overall. But in his 20 starts, the Mets have scored two or fewer runs 13 times while he’s been in the game, including 12 of his last 14 starts.

Every year, there are pitchers who have the misfortune of being on the mound when the offense takes the game off. Once, we complained about the lack of run support for Matt Harvey. This year, it’s deGrom’s turn. But it’s a fluke and we shouldn’t overreact. If we go all the way back to 2017, the Mets scored an average of 5.13 runs per game when deGrom pitched, compared to a 4.54 team average runs per game. Luck can change on a dime.

13 comments for “The run support for Jacob deGrom

  1. Michael
    July 25, 2018 at 10:56 am

    Over a stretch of 14 games in 1975, Detroit’s Mickey Lolich went 1-13. His total run support in those 14 games was 14 runs. You are not alone Jake.

    • July 25, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Very nice info!

      The stretch was from July 11 to September 13. The big difference was that Lolich had a 4.56 ERA in that span. They lost three games 8-0, another 8-1 and another 6-0. No way he should have been 1-13 but with normal support he would have been around .500

      • Mike Walczak
        July 25, 2018 at 1:07 pm

        Bob Gibson was 22-9 in 1968. His ERA was 1.12.

  2. Name
    July 25, 2018 at 10:59 am

    It’s odd that in a time when most people could care less about wins, we still lament about deGrom’s poor record.

    • July 25, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Point taken,

      But I think there are two things that are making this an issue. One is his ERA is below 2 and it’s so incredibly odd what’s happened to him. And the other is that it’s not just JDG’s record – it’s the team’s record when he pitches.

  3. Eraff
    July 25, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Name—putting aside Jake’s “record”, the team record is 8-12 over that stretch. I especially care about Team Wins.

  4. Pete from NJ
    July 25, 2018 at 11:16 am

    I have an hypothesis without scientific data . Could it be of the opposition pitcher knows that he has to be at his best because if not his team loses? Knowing that Jake is going to give up 1-3 runs in a game makes the opposition pitch that much better.

    Yet it is fun to see someone perform as an elite at his position. I just hope deGrom can match this production for a couple of more years.

    • July 25, 2018 at 11:19 am

      For that hypothesis to be true, you’d expect to see some other elite pitchers have somewhat similar results.

  5. Jennifer
    July 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    While 2018 is extreme for Jake, in first half 2015 and 2016, offense had difficulty scoring runs for Jake. Look at ridiculousness of 2016, Jake finished 7-8 w/3.04 ERA. Before his injury made him lose last 3 starts, he was 7-5 w/a 2.30 ERA in August. This isn’t new, it’s just extreme this year. This is a team better known for SP and offense has been a question mark.

  6. TexasGusCC
    July 26, 2018 at 12:55 am

    Tonight Kevin Kernan broke the obvious: With Cespedes being out until middle of next year, the Mets plan on holding all their starters and building around pitching and defense. Ok, as I can follow the reasoning, let’s see how they could do that.

    First, they need Lagares to be healthy and start 135 games. Then, they need to find a quality second baseman who can also flash the leather. Lastly, while Kernan says they need to reinvest the insurance money for Cespedes (Kev, how about all these years of reinvesting the insurance money for The Captain, how did that work out?), they need to at least invest the money coming off the books wiser-ly than in the last seven years.

    Bruce will have to play first, so there is no position for Flores. I’d love to see Murphy at first base, but, Alonso is also coming up and we need to leave the road clear.

    So, find a second baseman, a backup outfielder, fix the bullpen, and that’s the best case scenario.

    Or, or, or, how about it this? They could actually become a big market team and overcome the trip-up by getting another big bat…

  7. July 26, 2018 at 6:06 am

    So…they see a 2015 redux????–complete with a Ces addition in July.

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