Two months into 2021, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is well on his way to another historic season. Friday night deGrom shut down the powerhouse San Diego Padres for the second time in a week, holding them to one single in six scoreless innings (NY 3, SD 2). He struck out 10. Last week deGrom struck out 11 Padres in seven scoreless innings.
It was not all good news, however. deGrom exited Friday's game after 80 pitches with right flexor tendonitis, the Mets announced. He missed 16 days with a right side issue last month, though this is an arm issue, and therefore much more worrisome. deGrom had Tommy John surgery as a minor leaguer in 2010.
"I've had a couple elbow issues before, and I know what that feels like. So my level of concern is not too high," deGrom told reporters, including MLB.com's Anthony DiComo and ESPN's Marly Rivera, after the game, adding he hopes he won't miss a start. "Whenever you say elbow, everybody gets nervous about that. I am not too worried about it. Hopefully it's something we can treat."
The only baserunner deGrom allowed Friday was a Wil Myers ground ball single in the fifth inning. Myers was promptly thrown out trying to steal second, so deGrom faced the minimum. Only two of the 18 batters he faced hit the ball out of the infield, and Statcast says none of the eight balls he allowed to be put in play had an expected batting average over .290. It was total dominance, and there was no indication deGrom was hurt.
In the fourth inning deGrom fanned Fernando Tatis Jr. for his seventh strikeout of the night and his 100th strikeout of the season. He reached 100 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings, the fastest any pitcher has reached 100 strikeouts in a single season since the mound was moved to 60 feet, 6 inches in 1893, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
In addition to his dominance on the mound, deGrom also drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a two-run single against Blake Snell in the fifth inning. The hit knocked Snell out of the game. Your insane stat of the night: deGrom has 5 RBI as a hitter and only four earned runs allowed as a pitcher this year. He's hitting .400/.400/.440 in 25 plate appearances.
deGrom owns a 0.56 ERA and 0.53 WHIP through 10 starts and 64 innings, the lowest ERA and lowest WHIP through 10 starts in a single season since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. He's gone at least five innings with no more than one earned run allowed in 10 straight starts. That's the second longest such streak behind Hall of Famer Bob Gibson (11 straight in 1968).
Furthermore, deGrom is only the second pitcher with 100 strikeouts and fewer than five earned runs allowed in a 10-game span, joining Chris Sale. Sale did it with the Red Sox in 2018. MLB.com's Sarah Langs adds that deGrom is the first pitcher since 1901 with 100 strikeouts and no more than 26 hits allowed in a 10-game span.
Pandemic restrictions were relaxed in New York recently and Citi Field capacity increased to 80 percent for the first time this season Friday night. The 34,000 or so fans in attendance serenaded deGrom with "M! V! P!" chants all night, and deservedly so. He has a legitimate chance to become the first pitcher to win MVP since Clayton Kershaw in 2014 with good health.