The San Diego Padres seek to extend their franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games on Saturday night.
All they have to do is solve Jacob deGrom.
Well, it’s not impossible. Man has landed on the moon. Mount Everest has been climbed. And there is a rover exploring Mars.
But beating deGrom?
The two-time National League Cy Young award winner will take a 4-2 record and 0.71 ERA into Saturday night’s pairing with Joe Musgrove (4-4, 2.08 ERA), who earlier this season threw the first no-hitter in Padres’ history.
Who knows, it might take another near-no-hitter to beat deGrom, who is putting up some amazing numbers.
The Mets right-hander has allowed seven runs (four earned) on 22 hits with seven walks and 82 strikeouts in 51 innings this season. That breaks down to not just the 0.71 ERA — which is the lowest by a National League pitcher at the end of May since Philadelphia’s Chris Short had a 0.64 mark in 1964 — but an 0.569 WHIP, a .129 opponents batting average, an 11.7-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and an average of 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
Here’s another stat: deGrom has struck out 45.8 percent of all the hitters he has faced this season.
Oh, and one more: The 33-year-old deGrom is hitting .450 this season (9-for-20) with a double and three RBIs — or one fewer than he has allowed. He has a .950 OPS, while conversely the opposition slash line against deGrom: .129/.162/.246/.408.
“Maybe there is no greater, bigger challenge than what lays ahead tomorrow,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said Friday night after his team posted a 2-0 win. “It’s going to be fun.”
And here’s where hope enters the picture for the Padres. The patchwork Mets offense has scored just three runs on nine hits in the first two contests of the four-game series.
And Musgrove is no slouch.
In 11 games (10 starts), the San Diego native has allowed 16 runs (14 earned) on 34 hits with 12 walks and 79 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. He boasts an 0.758 WHIP, a .158 opponents batting average, a 6.9-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and an average of 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
Musgrove has allowed no runs on three hits with one walk and 20 strikeouts over his last three outings (16 2/3 innings).
“Great matchup,” Tingler said.
But can deGrom be stopped? He won back-to-back Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and finished third last year.
“He is tremendous,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said of deGrom. “You see this guy, it’s almost like he’s getting better and better every time he goes out there.”
Said Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly after seeing deGrom earlier this week: “What we’re watching is definitely something special. In my mind, he’s in a league of his own. The fact that he has the stuff that he has and can command it the way that he does, I think, is probably what sets him apart the most. You know, there’s a lot of guys in this league that throw 90-100, but he pitches with it, and it’s relentless on every single pitch.”
–Field Level Media