Mets starter Jacob deGrom finished his 2018 season with a flourish, tossing eight scoreless innings against the NL East champion Braves. He held them to two hits while walking none and striking out 10 on 110 pitches. The Mets went on to win 3-0.
deGrom finishes with a 10-9 record despite a 1.70 ERA and a 269/46 K/BB ratio in 217 innings. The right-hander’s ERA is the lowest since Zack Greinke put up a 1.66 mark for the Dodgers in 2015. Before that, no starter had pitched enough innings to qualify for the Cy Young Award and put up an ERA of 1.70 or lower since Greg Maddux in the strike-shortened 1994 and ’95 seasons (1.56 and 1.63, respectively). deGrom is just the fifth pitcher to post an ERA of 1.70 or lower since 1969. The others, besides the two aforementioned Maddux seasons and Greinke: Dwight Gooden (1.53 in 1985 for the Mets) and Nolan Ryan (1.69 in 1981 for the Astros).
deGrom is the presumptive favorite for the Cy Young Award in the National League. His competitors are the Phillies’ Aaron Nola and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer. deGrom may also pick up some MVP votes, deservingly. If he does win the Cy Young, he would have the fewest wins by a starting pitcher who won the award. Félix Hernández currently holds the record with 13 wins in 2010 with the Mariners. Before him, Tim Lincecum won 15 en route to the Cy Young in 2009 with the Giants.
With just over a week left in the regular season, the Diamondbacks have elected to shut down infielder/outfielder Ketel Marte. Marte has been dealing with some lower back inflammation and stiffness over the last few days; on Friday, the team revealed that he was diagnosed with a stress reaction as well.
It doesn’t look as though the injury will compromise Marte’s 2020 campaign, but as Craig noted on Wednesday, his absence will likely have some effect on his NL MVP candidacy. The 25-year-old will wrap his first All-Star season with a .329/.389/.592 batting line, 32 home runs, a .981 OPS, and a staggering, career-best 7.1 fWAR through 628 plate appearances.
Marte told reporters Thursday that the back pain had been an issue “for the past two months,” though he didn’t comment on the severity of the injury. Despite his ability to play through the pain since July, the issue has clearly escalated in the last week or so. Although the loss of their most valuable contributor may have a negative impact on the D-backs’ chances of competing in the postseason, it’s undeniably a wise move to let Marte recuperate rather than pushing him to play for another week and running the risk of further injury.
Entering Friday’s series against the Padres — their last road series of the regular season — Arizona still has a sizable gap to close in order to earn one of two NL wild card spots. They’re five games out of postseason contention, with the Nationals, Brewers, Cubs, Mets, and Phillies ahead of them.