What will New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom do for an encore following his historic Cy Young award-winning season in 2018?
How about win another Cy Young, with an MVP on top of that?
Yeah, it might be too early to put deGrom in either discussion, but the 30-year-old right-hander is off to another incredible start after tying a long-standing MLB record and producing the best all-around game of his career in Wednesday’s 6-4 win against the Miami Marlins.
DeGrom literally did it all.
At the plate, he launched his second career home run.
On the hill, he overwhelmed Miami’s inexperienced offense, tossing seven scoreless innings while striking out a career-high 14 batters. DeGrom allowed just three hits and one walk as he extended his streak of quality starts to 26.
That streak ties Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for the longest in MLB history.
— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) April 3, 2019
Gibson’s quality start streak ran from Sept. 12, 1967 until July 30, 1968. DeGrom’s streak started on May 18, 2018. He’ll attempt to break the record next week against the Minnesota Twins.
What is a quality start?
A quality start is when a pitcher records at least six innings in a start while allowing no more than three runs.
The requirements are very specific. If a pitcher throws nine innings but allows four runs, it’s not a quality start. If a pitcher throws 5.2 innings while allowing zero runs, it’s not a quality start. Because of those specific requirements, not everyone puts a lot of stock in the quality start stat. But it’s still a pretty good measure of consistency.
Consistency has been deGrom’s staple during his streak. He already owns the MLB record for consecutive starts allowing three runs or fewer. He’s at 31 and still counting.
How does deGrom’s streak compare to Gibson’s?
They’re difficult to compare just because the game has changed so much from 1968 until now. One stat within each streak bears that out more than any other.
Of Gibson’s 26 consecutive quality starts, 20 were nine-inning complete games. Of deGrom’s starts, only one has been a complete game.
DeGrom has failed to complete the seventh inning seven times, including his six scoreless innings on opening day against the Washington Nationals. Each exit has been more about workload management than performance concerns. DeGrom threw 114 pitches in Wednesday’s outing and was never considered to pitch the eighth inning.
Gibson completed seven innings in each of his 26 starts, and even pitched into the 12th inning twice during the streak. In fact, Gibson’s streak ended in a game where he pitched 11 innings, but ended up allowing four runs. If you removed that outing, Gibson’s streak would have reached 34.
The difference in philosophies also helps explain the difference in each pitcher’s record. Gibson was 17-6 during his streak, while deGrom is only 9-9.
The Mets’ lack of support for deGrom further damaged his mark last season. New York’s offense scored three runs or less in 21 of deGrom's 32 starts last season. When he did get offensive support, the bullpen managed to blow several leads.
DeGrom’s success in the face of his team’s ineptitude last season makes up some of the ground that seemingly separates his streak from Gibson’s. When you weigh all factors though, it’s impossible to not be wowed by both.
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