New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom bolsters his National Cy Young Award credentials with every start and is moving into territory rarely seen in team annals.
DeGrom extended his stellar stretch with 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball in a 5-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night. The dominant performance kept deGrom unbeaten in his last seven starts and dropped his ERA to 1.98 - second only to Zack Greinke of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The reigning NL Rookie of the Year is attempting to join Dwight Gooden (1.53) and Hall of Famer Tom Seaver as the only pitchers in franchise history to finish the season with an ERA below 2.00.
"He's one of the best in the game right now," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "I've talked to too many other managers and he's one of the first guys they ask about."
DeGrom also is becoming the most talked-about guys. He has limited the opposition to two earned runs or fewer in 15 of his last 16 starts dating to May 16. He also leads the Mets in wins (12) and strikeouts (158) while serving as the No. 2 starter behind Matt Harvey.
"He's got a good arm," Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop said after deGrom beat Baltimore for the second time this season. "Can throw all four pitches. He's sitting at mid-90s, can reach upper 90s with his fastball. It moves."
During his seven-start unbeaten string, deGrom has not allowed a run on three occasions, including seven scoreless innings of two-hit ball versus Colorado on Aug. 12 that prompted Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to call him the "best pitcher in the game."
DeGrom went 9-6 with a 2.69 ERA last year following his promotion from the minors in mid-May, but he said there's no comparison to how he is pitching this season.
"This is probably the best I've felt - knock on wood - in my career," deGrom said. "I am having a little more confidence than last year in all of my pitches."