When your name is being mentioned in the same sentence as Nolan Ryan, you’ve officially reached rarified air.
New York Mets flame-thrower Jacob deGrom tied Ryan’s major league record for most strikeouts through a pitcher’s first five starts of a season — 59 — after striking out nine Red Sox hitters in six innings on Wednesday night.
In 1978, Ryan started the season with 59 strikeouts over 41 innings. DeGrom tied the record in just 35 innings.
The historic achievement was once again overshadowed by another Mets loss in which deGrom pitched well enough to earn a win. Even though deGrom didn’t have his best stuff, he still managed to give the Mets a chance as he battled to get through six innings while giving up just one run. As has become the norm for deGrom, his Mets teammates responded with another lackluster performance, managing just two hits in a 1-0 loss to Boston.
“Everybody’s out there giving 100 percent. Nobody wants to get out,” deGrom said. “Those guys try to put together the best at-bats; I try to throw the ball to the spot for that pitch. They’re competing. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other team, and they did a nice job keeping our guys off balance.”
It was deGrom’s 33rd career start in which he allowed one run or fewer and was not credited with a win, the most in the major’s since the start of the 2014 season.
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Despite possessing a transcendent talent for the last eight years, the Mets have been largely unable to capitalize, missing the playoffs four consecutive seasons, despite deGrom’s two Cy Young awards over that stretch.
DeGrom took the mound Wednesday night with a 0.31 ERA and a major league leading 50 strikeouts in his first four starts. He finished the month of April with a 0.51 ERA, giving up just 16 hits and four walks in his five starts. The lack of run support has to be frustrating for the star right-hander.
“I try not to think too much about it,” deGrom said. “Like I said, I’m more disappointed that I wasn’t able to make pitches there in the second inning. I was trying to battle through but just left some balls over the middle of the plate that got hit. So, that comes down to me controlling what I can control and I didn’t do a good job of that in that second inning.”
And while deGrom is taking the high road, his teammates are at least aware that they’re wasting the career of an historically great pitcher.
“Really there’s no excuse,” Mets catcher James McCann said. “We have to find a way, especially in a game like tonight. … You’ve got to find a way to win those games.”
“He was tremendous again,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said according to the NY Post. “We didn’t back that up.”
Call it the understatement of the season.
The Mets faithful had reason to be excited as they entered the 2021 season. The addition of superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor before the season reinvigorated a fanbase that has been overshadowed the New York Yankees for as long as they’ve been in existence. But Lindor has struggled to start the season, hitting .203 with three RBI’s and just one homerun in his 19 games. The Mets are 9-10 and 3-7 in their last 10 games.
The historic evening should have ended with a Mets win, but as has become all too normal at Citi Field, deGrom went home without a win.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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