It's no longer really a question of whether Mets ace Jacob deGrom will win his third National League Cy Young Award this season (barring injury), but if he can become the second NL pitcher in the past 50-plus year to also win MVP honors. DeGrom is off to a historic start in 2021 and returns to the mound Friday at home against the San Diego Padres and former AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell. The Mets are of course favored on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds and may not be underdogs this year when deGrom pitches.
We are obviously being somewhat tongue-in-cheek about the no-hit alert in the headline (been a while since our last no-hitter after six quick ones to start the season, although William Hill offers a daily +1500 yes-only prop there will be one anywhere in MLB each day. DeGrom doesn't have a no-no in his career.
DeGrom (5-2, 0.62 ERA) is a heavy -180 favorite at William Hill to win the NL Cy Young for the third time in the past four seasons, well ahead of Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes (+525). To win MVP, deGrom has jumped into the third-favored role at +600 behind Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. (+300) and San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. (+300) – deGrom vs. Tatis will be fun to watch tonight. The last NL pitcher to win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season was the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in 2014. Before that, no NL pitcher had won MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968.
That 0.62 ERA is the lowest by a pitcher in his first nine starts since earned runs became an official stat in both leagues. DeGrom's 0.57 WHIP is the lowest by any pitcher through his first nine starts of a season since at least 1901 (minimum 40 innings pitched). He also has 93 strikeouts and is the first pitcher with at least that many strikeouts and that low of an ERA over any nine-start span since earned runs became official. William Hill lists deGrom with an Over/Under of 9.5 strikeouts Friday, with the Under a -137 favorite.
How crazy is this: DeGrom has allowed four earned runs this season. He has personally scored four runs as a batter – and has three RBIs while hitting .391 (9-for-23). In his two losses, he allowed one earned run in each and the Mets were blanked (April 28 vs. Red Sox, April 10 vs. Marlins). That the Mets allow three runs or fewer after six innings Friday (even if a reliever is involved) is a massive -850 favorite at William Hill.
This will be deGrom's second straight start vs. the Padres – last Saturday in San Diego, he didn't allow a run and just three hits over seven with 11 strikeouts and one walk (only 85 pitches) in a 4-0 victory. Perhaps expect to see Victor Caratini behind the plate for the Padres as he has had some success career vs. deGrom, going 4-for-12 with two homers.
The lefty Snell (2-2, 4.83) has been a moderate disappointment as an offseason trade acquisition from Tampa Bay but was brilliant last Friday in a 2-0 win over the Mets. He took a no-hitter into the seventh and would finish seven shutout innings, allowing one hit with 10 strikeouts and one walk. Mets star Francisco Lindor does not fare well vs. Snell, going 2-for-18 with three Ks.
New York will activate second baseman Luis Guillorme from the injured list before the game. The Mets need all the help they can get with four everyday players on the IL still, including second baseman Jeff McNeil. This writer is backing the Mets as it won't be often they are less than -170 with deGrom pitching.
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