Twins end Jacob deGrom’s quality start streak at 26

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For the first time in almost a full calendar year, Mets ace Jacob deGrom yielded four-plus runs. The Marlins scored four runs off of him across six innings on April 10 last year. From that point through the end of the season, deGrom would limit the opposition to three runs or fewer en route to the NL Cy Young Award.

deGrom’s mastery continued in his first two starts of the season. He opened up 2019 with six shutout innings and 10 strikeouts against the Nationals, then backed it up with seven shutout frames and 14 punch-outs versus of the Marlins last week.

The Twins had other ideas on Tuesday. Mitch Garver took deGrom yard in the second inning, a solo shot to center field. Then the Twins’ offense erupted for a four-spot in the third. Jorge Polanco scored on a wild pitch, Eddie Rosario lifted a two-run home run, and Mitch Garver hit another solo homer. Per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo, deGrom’s quality start streak of 26 games — tied with Bob Gibson for the major league record — has ended.

Five runs marks the most deGrom has given up in a game since the Phillies plated nine runs (six earned) against him on September 5, 2017. He last surrendered three-plus homers on July 7, 2017 against the Cardinals, who hit four.

As an aside, the quality start metric is poor, especially in this day and age. To qualify, a pitcher need only hold the opposing offense to three or fewer runs over six or more innings. Similarly stated: a 4.50 ERA at minimum. A 4.50 ERA is what one might expect from a No. 4 starter, so it is not exactly indicative of a “quality” pitching performance. Across the span of deGrom’s 26-game streak, he actually had a 1.55 ERA — far, far better than the quality start metric illuminates.

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

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PHOENIX — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021.

The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular season that ended Wednesday, which is up from the 45.3 million who attended games in 2021, according to baseball-reference.com. This year’s numbers are still down from the 68.5 million who attended games in 2019, which was the last season that wasn’t affected by the pandemic.

The 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers led baseball with 3.86 million fans flocking to Dodger Stadium for an average of 47,672 per contest. The Oakland Athletics – who lost 102 games, play in an aging stadium and are the constant subject of relocation rumors – finished last, drawing just 787,902 fans for an average of less than 10,000 per game.

The St. Louis Cardinals finished second, drawing 3.32 million fans. They were followed by the Yankees (3.14 million), defending World Series champion Braves (3.13 million) and Padres (2.99 million).

The Toronto Blue Jays saw the biggest jump in attendance, rising from 805,901 fans to about 2.65 million. They were followed by the Cardinals, Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers, and Mets, which all drew more than a million fans more than in 2021.

The Rangers and Reds were the only teams to draw fewer fans than in 2021.

Only the Rangers started the 2021 season at full capacity and all 30 teams weren’t at 100% until July. No fans were allowed to attend regular season games in 2020.

MLB attendance had been declining slowly for years – even before the pandemic – after hitting its high mark of 79.4 million in 2007. This year’s 64.6 million fans is the fewest in a non-COVID-19 season since the sport expanded to 30 teams in 1998.

The lost attendance has been balanced in some ways by higher viewership on the sport’s MLB.TV streaming service. Viewers watched 11.5 billion minutes of content in 2022, which was a record high and up nearly 10% from 2021.