Fans of Major League Baseball have a plethora of young talent to drool over this year, with Shohei Ohtani, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Ronald Acuna, Jr., Jesse Winker and Fernando Tatis, Jr., all having spectacular years.
But it’s an old veteran, 33-year-old pitcher Jacob deGrom of the Mets, who is the most spectacular of all.
“He’s on another level,” says rival manager Brian Snitker of Atlanta Braves.
DeGrom, pitching while not exactly 100 per cent healthy, is throwing bullets to National League hitters and, for the most part, they’re winding up in the catcher’s glove and not being sprayed around the ball yard.
DeGrom’s earned-run average of a nasty 0.95 through the first half of the season is so far ahead of anyone else, voting for the Cy Young award in the NL has been cancelled. The Mets’ right-hander is the winner.
On the the first of July, deGrom was scorched for three runs in the first inning by Atlanta Braves to end a streak of 30 consecutive scoreless innings. But that’s all the Braves got against him, while striking out 14 times in seven innings.
Prior to that game, deGrom had gone through 12 straight starts allowing no more than one run. Batters are hitting .122 against him. For every walk he gives up, he strikes out more than 12 opposing hitters.
He had given up only 35 hits in 85 innings of work and recorded 136 strikeouts and only 11 walks.
National League hitters should be aware that deGrom is improving as each month passes. In April, he gave up 16 hits in 35 innings; in May, he gave up six hits in 16 innings; and in June, he was touched for five hits in 21 innings.
A no-hitter has to be in the cards in the near future. Maybe even a no-hit month.
Meanwhile, deGrom will have to find room on his mantle for another Cy Young award, of which he already owns two. No one in the NL is close to him statistically and while an Ohtani performance is must-see TV in the American League, deGrom’s outings also shouldn’t be missed.
Fortunately, fans who don’t get to see a lot of Mets’ games may finally get a chance to see deGrom in post-season action, since his team has been leading the NL East most of this season.
En route to the Hall of Fame, perhaps deGrom can take the bypass to the World Series this fall. It would be a fitting addition to his spectacular pitching resumé.
• RJ Currie of sportsdeke.com: “Did you know that by 1930, the famous Canadian painting collective known as the Group of Seven had nine members? So they were as bad at math as the Big Ten.”
• Columnist Phil Mushnick of the New York Post: “Pitchers of seven-inning no-hitters will now be rewarded with unlimited edition Rob Manfred trophies that come attached to bells with clappers so they’ll always have a hollow ring to them.”
• Blogger Patti Dawn Swansson, on umpires cracking down on foreign substances on baseballs: “Officials were prepared to look the other way until they noticed the grounds crew at Yankee Stadium replaced the resin bag with a bucket of tar every time Gerrit Cole was on the mound.”
• Steve Simmons of Sun Media: “Word around the broadcast world: This may be Ron MacLean’s last season hosting Hockey Night In Canada and the decision apparently will be mutual. Why? Because apparently he’s had enough of the job and they’ve probably had enough of him.”
• Some wise guy on Twitter, while the eight-hole Travelers golf playoff was ongoing: “How many holes does a PGA Tour playoff go before a windmill is involved?”
• Comedy writer Eric Stangel, on Twitter: “While he’s in town, and since he can do anything, can Shohei Ohtani fix the NYC Mayoral Election crapshow?”
• RJ Currie again: “Three things scientists found on the recently-discovered Einstein’s planet, 2,000 light-years from Earth: 3. Temperatures of 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit; 2. Fast jet-stream winds; 1. Dozens of Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s home run balls.
• Phil Mushnick again, on the Mets’ firing of hitting coach Chili Davis: “Good thing the Mets, team batting average .227, came to the realization that Chili Davis was the cause of their hitting deficiencies. In May, when Davis was dumped, the Mets were batting .241.”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “Sha’Carri Richardson can’t run in the Tokyo Olympics 100-metres after testing positive for marijuana. This is idiotic. The only sport pot has enhanced a performance in is a hot dog eating contest.”
• Headline at dark.com, after pro golfer Bryson DeChambeau and caddie Tim Tucker parted ways on the eve of the Rocket Mortgage Classic: “Caddy sacked.”
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by Bruce Penton