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Jacob deGrom finally gets run support, wins first game since June 18

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There has not been more of a hard luck pitcher than Jacob deGrom this season. While he has put up Cy Young-level performances, posting sub-2.00 ERA and striking out more than five times as many batters as he has walked, he pitches for the New York Mets so those great performances have not turned into wins all that often.

The poor defense and lack of run support meant that, heading into today’s outing against the Cincinnati Reds, deGrom only had a record of 5-7 despite that sparking ERA, despite all of those strikeouts, despite the minimal number of walks allowed and despite the fact that — once you controlled for the subpar fielder’s behind him — he’s been arguably the best pitcher in the National League this year. Not many players have done more to help their teams win than deGrom and not many have had so little help in doing it.

Today, however, was different. deGrom was his usual dominant self, tossing six shutout innings, allowing only four hits and one walk while striking out ten. The difference: he got a little run support, thanks to five runs when he was the pitcher of record and three more after he left the game with a 5-0 lead. One of those runs came via his own plate patience when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning. Others helping deGrom’s cause: Brandon Nimmo, who had two RBI doubles and knocked in three in all and Austin Jackson, who hit two RBI doubles and singled in a third run himself.

With that, deGrom was awarded his sixth win of the season and his first since June 18, when it was still technically spring. He also lowered his ERA to 1.77, helping his already strong argument for the NL Cy Young Award, even if he’s unlikely to even notch a dozen wins and may not even get ten if the Mets continue to be the Mets.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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