Jacob deGrom is having a spectacular season. The New York Mets (46-65) are not. The hard-throwing righty twirled six scoreless innings and struck out 10 Reds batter this afternoon to lower his ERA to a Majors-low 1.77. He moved his record to 6-7. Six and seven.
deGrom now has 184 strikeouts, second to only Max Scherzerin the National League. He has a healthy .51-run lead in the ERA chase. One of the two will win the Cy Young Award. And it’s going to be a heck of a debate, as Scherzer, at 15-5, has a legitimate chance to get to the vaunted 20-win mark. deGrom will be lucky to get to 10.
Imagine, if you will, a 20-6 Scherzer and a 8-10 deGrom. It could very well happen. Both have a 6.5 WAR. Both have a sub-1 WHIP. It will be a test to see if the win is, for all practical purposes, an extinct metric.
In 2012, Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez won the award in the American League with a 13-12 mark. His ERA was worse than deGrom’s current pace, at 2.27. His WHIP was worse, at 1.057. Hernandez did post a 7.2 WAR, but the Mets hurler could best that, too.
No pitcher has ever earned the hardware with losing, or even .500 record.
deGrom’s year has been a cruel dichotomy. A study in wasted brilliance. A Sisyphean task. It’s flying a bit under the radar because it’s happening amidst a storm. There is no time to appreciate it before the next Met malady occurs.
A bizarre but earned Cy Young would allow it to live forever, in all its complexity.