NEW YORK (AP) — Jacob deGrom felt good in the bullpen.
“That made me a little nervous,” he said. “Some of my best starts I’ve barely thrown strikes down there.”
Nothing to be skittish about. He simply pitched the finest game of his eight-year career.
DeGrom struck out a career-high 15, threw a two-hitter and boosted the Mets’ sagging offense with a go-ahead double from the No. 8 spot in the batting order, leading New York over the Washington Nationals 6-0 Friday night.
“You’re going to be replaying that game at the end of 2021 in one of those greatest games of 2021,” said Brandon Nimmo, who hit his first home run of the season and had four RBIs. “He has to be from a different planet because he just does things that seem out of this world.”
DeGrom has 43 strikeouts in his last three outings and 50 this season, breaking the major league record for most in a pitcher’s first four starts set just last weekend by Cleveland ace Shane Bieber with 48.
Perennially plagued by a lack of run support, just like Mets star Tom Seaver decades earlier, deGrom lowered his career ERA to 2.55 and overtook Seaver’s 2.57 for New York’s franchise lead.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner walked none and retired the final 19 batters of his second shutout and fourth complete game in 187 starts, just the 16th time since 1901 that a pitcher had 15 or more strikeouts and no walks in a shutout. Starlin Castro singled in the second and Andrew Stevenson doubled in the third.
DeGrom also made the final putout, leaping on first base to catch Pete Alonso’s toss on Josh Harrison’s grounder.
DeGrom smiled and blushed when informed Mets catcher James McCann had told the team’s SNY network: “He doesn’t just want to beat you, he wants to take your heart and soul in the…