Mets: Dissecting Jacob deGrom’s final four starts on the pursuit for history

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 06, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 06: Jacob deGrom #48 of the New York Mets pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 06, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom enters his final four starts of the regular season with a shot at a third straight Cy Young Award.

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is currently in the hunt for his third straight Cy Young Award and he has four potential starts remaining this season to accomplish that quest. To say he has his work cut out for him based on his potential opponents in his next four starts is an understatement.

Looking ahead, deGrom will toe the rubber against the Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Washington Nationals. Three out of those four teams are currently in the playoff hunt, as well as the Mets, but as we’ve seen a countless number of times deGrom loves rising to the occasion in big spots. His starts will have a big impact on not only if the Mets make the playoffs this season, but if he pulls off the incredible feat of a three-peat for the Cy Young Award.

Starting deGrom’s final stretch of starts he will head to Buffalo to pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays for the first time in his career in a minor league ballpark. While it is certainly odd circumstances in an unprecedented season, deGrom may hold the advantage in this matchup with many of the young Blue Jays’ never facing deGrom in their careers.

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The only players on the Blue Jays with experience against deGrom are infielder Travis Shaw who is 3-8 (.375), outfielder Randal Grichuk who is 3-8 (.375), former Met infielder Joe Panik who is 3-19 (.158), and infielder Jonathan Villar who is 2-5 (.400) against deGrom.

This will be a matchup that deGrom will be looking to exploit against a youthful lineup despite the Blue Jays having a team in the top ten categories of OPS, hits, home runs, and runs scored.

deGrom will then take his talents on the road to Philadelphia to square off against the division-rival Phillies.

After previously dominating the Phillies at Citi Field, he will look to continue his success against the team he holds a career 8-1 record against with a 2.16 ERA in 100 innings pitched. More specifically in his seven career starts at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark deGrom holds a 3-0 record with a 2.43 ERA.

The only member of the Phillies who has seemed to have had any success at the plate against deGrom has been outfielder Bryce Harper who is 10-34 (.294) with a pair of home runs against our ace. With this series expected to play a significant part in the Mets playoffs chances, I would look for deGrom to continue his long-track success against the Mets rivals.

For his final start of the regular season at Citi Field, deGrom will get a challenge against one of the best teams in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays. deGrom has made two career starts against Tampa in his career, and boasts a 1.88 ERA over 14.1 innings pitched. This is another team similar to the Blue Jays who don’t have many players who have previously faced the 32-year old ace.

Rays outfielders Hunter Renfroe 3-9 (.333), Manuel Margot 2-9 (.222), and Kevin Kiermaier 2-6 (.333) are the Rays with the most experience against deGrom, with Renfroe and Margot’s numbers coming as members of the San Diego Padres. That’s not to say the Rays don’t have an offense watching out for as they are a top ten team in the league in runs scored and RBI’s.

It will be deGrom’s toughest challenge to date but with his 2.18 career ERA at Citi Field, you can expect he will give the Rays all they can handle, especially in what might be his final start at Citi Field this season.

In what could be a very important final series in Washington D.C. during the last four days of the regular season, deGrom will toe the rubber one final time in what very likely may be the Mets’ final regular-season game against the Nationals. While the Nationals have largely struggled this season, they have always given the Mets all they could handle. This will also very likely be deGrom’s final audition for the Cy Young Award.

In his 19 career starts against the Nationals, deGrom holds a career 2.50 ERA over 119 innings pitched. His career numbers at Nationals Park include a 7-1 record with a 2.60 ERA across ten starts. The main threats in the lineup that have given deGrom a hard time include shortstop Trea Turner 11-38 (.289), as well as outfielder Adam Eaton 6-18 (.333).

Believe it or not, Nationals first baseman Eric Thames is 4-6 in his career against deGrom with a home run. I would not be surprised in the slightest to see him in the lineup as the Nationals may be trying to ruin both the Mets playoff chances and deGrom’s Cy Young chances.

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The numbers seem to be on our ace’s side when navigating his final four starts of the season. What can’t be overlooked is the crazy nature of the game of baseball where anything can happen on any given night. However, I’d put my confidence level at high that deGrom finishes his 2020 campaign strong and possibly walks away with his third straight Cy Young Award based on his previous success.