After Friday’s 15-strikeout, two-hit performance, some of deGrom’s teammates and coaches tried their best to do just that.
“We’re witnessing something special,” said Luis Rojas.
But perhaps Brandon Nimmo said it best.
“Jake is unbelievable. He truly has to be from a different planet because he does things that seem out of this world,” Nimmo said after the Mets’ 6-0 win over Washington.
“It is a true joy to watch him and get to be a part of this game. It’s just unbelievable to me that he is that good.”
Nimmo, who drove in four of the Mets’ runs while hitting his first home run of the season, said that he knows he and his teammates will be watching the highlights of this start for years to come.
“First off, I’m thinking that you’re going to be replaying that game at the end of 2021 in ones of those ‘Greatest Games of 2021.’ I’m going to see [Steve Gelbs] when we’re watching during a rain delay next year or something,” Nimmo said with a laugh.
DeGrom, as he always is, was modest after a game in which he set a new career high with 15 strikeouts while continuing his MLB record-setting strikeout pace to start a season.
“I try to control what I can control and take it one pitch at a time. Tonight, I noticed my stuff was really good in the bullpen, and I’ve had starts where my stuff’s been really good in the bullpen and you got out there and lose a little bit of focus,” deGrom said. “So walking in I was literally thinking ‘Hey, you’ve got to keep that focus throughout the whole game.’ That made me a little nervous, because I think some of my best starts I barely even threw strikes down there. Actually walking in I was a little nervous, but once I got out there, calmed down and was executing pitches, I felt good and just was trying to keep us in the ballgame.
“I had no clue about … the most strikeouts through four games, but I knew 14 was the most I had had. When I looked up there and saw 12 I was like ‘Okay, you’ve got to figure out a way to strike out three guys,’ and I was fortunate enough to be able to do it, because the last two innings I wasn’t able to strike out anybody.”
DeGrom finished his night with 15 punchouts and not a single walk. He allowed two hits, but none after the third inning. He also lowered his career ERA to 2.55, passing Tom Seaver (2.57) for the lowest in Mets history.
Late in the game, chants of “MVP!” rained down from the Citi Field faithful, and rightfully so.
And while deGrom is focused on helping his team win at all costs, he definitely heard the MVP chants and wouldn’t hate to add another piece of hardware to his trophy case.
“That was definitely cool,” deGrom said. “Like I’ve said, you set personal goals but the most important thing is for the team to win. So, obviously it would be really cool to win MVP, so hopefully we’ll see if we can keep this thing going.”