Dan's Dugout: Losing Record Doesn't Match deGrom's ERA • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Losing Record Doesn’t Match deGrom’s ERA


FLUSHING, NY – Before this season, Jacob deGrom had never lost to the Atlanta Braves. This season, he has never beaten them.

Jacob deGrom has been consistently sensational.
Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

The All-Star righthander of the New York Mets has lost all five of his starts against the Braves. The latest was a 2-1 defeat at CitiField Friday night in which the pitcher drove in the only run.

As the owner of a 1.85 earned run average, deGrom is probably the best pitcher in the National League. He would have started the All-Star Game if it hadn’t been in Washington, where Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer wasn’t equally well-rested.

The 6’4″, 180-pound righthander hit career peaks in both wins (15) and strikeouts (239) last year but would have done better in both departments this season with better support from his teammates.

Or maybe we should say any support.

After losing the second game of a four-game set with Atlanta, deGrom dropped to 5-7. It may not sound like much but a myriad of contenders, including the crosstown Yankees, clamored to acquire him before the July 31 trade deadline.

The Mets, fighting to stay out of the National League cellar, could have commanded a package of prime prospects but chose to stand pat, keeping all four of the young starters that were supposed to keep the team in contention all year.

For deGrom, who can’t become a free agent until the 2020 season ends, that was a disappointment. He’s anchored to the Mets like the Titanic was anchored to the iceberg.

Jacob deGrom won 15 games last year.
Credit: George Napolitano

And both were sinking fast.

Although deGrom has the lowest home earned run average in the majors (1.66 before the game Friday) and the second-lowest home ERA (2.21 before Friday) since Clayton Kershaw in 2014, the Mets lost 11 of their first 14 against the Braves this year. They had not lost so many games to Atlanta in a single season since 2012.

DeGrom knows he has to pitch tight and not let the bed-bugs bite.

His 14 straight quality starts is not only the longest of this season but the best by anyone since Johan Santana had just as many in 2008. He’s held rival hitters to three runs or less for 19 straight starts.

A native of DeLand, Florida, also the hometown of new Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, deGrom did ask the Mets to trade him or extend his contract. Their answer was no answer.

The team knows it has deGrom under contract for three more season. Including this one, and hopes his value declines by the time free agency comes to him at age 32.

That’s the kind of gamble only a team with three general managers would take.

To be fair, the Mets have been dealt a bad hand – when they could have used a Brad.

Hammered by injuries that wiped out their entire starting outfield, the team has wallowed in the muck of the basement while a rookie manager wonders what to do next.

Beleaguered Mets manager Mickey Callway hasn’t been smiling much.
Credit: George Napolitano

Mickey Callaway was a fine pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians, where he served under Terry Francona for five years, but his laid-back style hasn’t caught on in Flushing.

The team’s defense and base-running are terrible, the farm system is thin, and the roster is burdened by past-their-prime veterans and not-ready-for-prime-time rookies. More than a handful could move this month via waiver trades.

The Mets were 44-63 and 15 games out of first place as play started Saturday.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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