Now that's he's finally adding wins to his resume, Jacob deGrom is looking very much like a serious candidate for the National League Cy Young Award.
DeGrom earned his third victory in as many starts Saturday, throwing his third career complete game without allowing an unearned run in a 3-1 victory in Philadelphia.
DeGrom, who lowered his ERA to 1.71 while improving to 8-7, continues to put up numbers that rival two-time NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer of Washington (2.11 ERA). DeGrom (0.96 WHIP) has 204 strikeouts compared with Scherzer's 234. DeGrom has given up 125 hits and eight homers; Scherzer (16-5) has allowed 114 hits and 17 homers.
"What other guys do out is out of my control. I just have to go out there and do what I can do," deGrom said when asked about his Cy Young bid.
On Aug. 3, deGrom's Cy Young aspirations seemed impossible after he dropped to 5-7 after losing his third straight start despite allowing just eight earned runs in 23 innings in those losses to 'raise' his ERA to 1.85.
DeGrom is taking his Cy Young run seriously. He was so eager to resume that he walked toward the Philadelphia dugout to get a ball to warm up. He began to get loose on the mound before the umpires returned and prior to the Phillies' grounds crew raking the field. He was forced to wait several minutes before throwing his final warmup toss as the field was being groomed.
In the eighth, he showed uncharacteristic emotion coming off the mound after an inning-ending strikeout of Rhys Hoskins. And in the ninth, he hit a game-high 99 mph on the gun on the 107th of his 108 pitches. The complete game was his first since June 12, 2017.
"Definitely wanted it bad," deGrom said when asked about the complete game. "(Pitching coach) Dave (Eiland) came up to me and asked what you wanted to do and I said I'm going out there. He was fine with it."
On Saturday, DeGrom struck out nine, improving his season total to 204 and surpassing 200 strikeouts for the third time in his career. He kept an opponent to three runs or fewer for his 22nd straight start this season; the Mets' record of 24 is held by Dwight Gooden, who did it in 1985 when he was 24-4.
DeGrom's ERA would be second-lowest in Mets history behind Gooden's 1.53 in 1985. Gooden's ERA going into September that year was 1.81.
DeGrom pitched throught the eighth for the seventh time this season and fifth in his past 10 starts.
Mets who have surpassed 200Ks in a season three times or more: Tom Seaver (1968-1976); Dwight Gooden (1984-86, '90); David Cone (1988, 1990-92); deGrom (2015, 2017-18)