NEW YORK -- Not in more than three decades has a Mets pitcher shined for half a season quite like Jacob deGrom. And at no point in team history has such dominance been so unjustly rewarded in the win column. Manager Mickey Callaway offered his ace something of an olive branch Wednesday night, after deGrom capped his stellar first half in a 3-0 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.
"He should be starting the All-Star Game, there is no doubt in my mind," Callaway said. "If he's not, that's the wrong decision."
That decision, ultimately, will fall on Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who is set to lead the National League squad. With six days to go until next Tuesday's MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX), the competition for that start is now a two-horse race. There is Max Scherzer, who will get a final chance to boost his candidacy Thursday in Queens. And there is deGrom, who only bolstered his Wednesday.
With runs again at a premium, deGrom fired eight dominant innings to drop his ERA to 1.68. It is the lowest first-half ERA since Zack Greinke's 1.39 mark in 2015, and is tied with Dwight Gooden's 1985 mark for the best in Mets history. (If you carry the duo's ERAs over to three decimal points, Gooden still holds the slightest of edges, 1.677 to 1.678.) Gooden won the pitching Triple Crown and finished 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA that year in what's widely considered one of the best pitching seasons of the modern era.
"I think the most impressive part is his ability not to worry about the lack of offense behind him, whether he's getting wins or not," Callaway said. "It's impressive. Most people can't sit there and weather the storm like that."
Seven times now, deGrom has thrown seven or more innings, allowed one or fewer runs, and not earned a win, already the second most in team history with the second half still to play. Wednesday provided the latest example; the Mets did not score until Brandon Nimmo's walk-off three-run homer in the 10th, long after deGrom departed.
"We're sorry, Jake, we couldn't get you the win tonight," Nimmo said. "But at least we won on the night you pitched."
It is only because the Mets have done that so infrequently that deGrom's manager felt the need to stump for him. The righty's 10 no-decisions are tied for second in the Majors; his 5-4 record is glaring, on the surface, compared to Scherzer's 11-5 mark. But deGrom ranks in the top five in the NL in nearly every other pertinent category: first in ERA, first in FIP, second in strikeouts, second in innings, second in WHIP, seventh in walk rate.
"When I'm out there I try to think it's 0-0," deGrom said. "Which it was tonight."