A month of putting up description-defying numbers by Jacob deGrom will end Wednesday with the baseball world focused on him and two specific numbers: Fourteen and four.
deGrom will look to become the first pitcher in history to strike out at least 14 batters in four straight starts when he takes the mound for the Mets in the finale of a two-game interleague series against the Boston Red Sox.
deGrom (2-1, 0.31 ERA) is slated to oppose Nick Pivetta (2-0, 3.48) in a battle of right-handers.
The Red Sox earned a 2-1 win in the series opener Tuesday. Garrett Richards struck out 10 over seven innings and Rafael Devers delivered the tie-breaking RBI single in the sixth.
If deGrom's first four starts are any indication, runs will likely be at a premium again Wednesday for the Red Sox. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner has allowed four runs -- just one earned -- this season while striking out 50 batters, the most a pitcher has whiffed in his first four starts of a season.
After striking out 14 batters and taking a hard-luck loss against the Miami Marlins on April 10, deGrom fanned 14 -- including nine in a row between the second and fourth innings, one shy of the single-game record held by Mets icon Tom Seaver -- versus the Colorado Rockies on April 17.
deGrom might have authored his most impressive start yet last Friday, when he tossed a two-hit shutout in the Mets' 6-0 win over the Washington Nationals. In addition to striking out 15, walking none and setting down the final 19 batters, deGrom added two hits and an RBI double.
deGrom is the third pitcher to strike out at least 14 batters in three straight starts, following in the footsteps of Pedro Martinez (1999) and Gerrit Cole (2019).
"Jake is unbelievable," Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo said. "He truly is. He has to be from a different planet, because he just does things that seem out of this world."
The next day, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he was already looking forward to watching deGrom in person in New York.
"What they're getting right now out of that guy is amazing," Cora said. "It will be great to see him on the mound and see how he goes about it. I can say it because I'm the manager and I'm not going to compete against him. It's just good for baseball. Whenever he pitches every five days, I think the world stops to watch him, which is great."
Pivetta flirted with history as well in his most recent start last Thursday, although he didn't factor into the decision after allowing two runs on one hit over six innings as the Red Sox fell to the Seattle Mariners, 7-3, in 10 innings. Pivetta didn't allow a hit until surrendering a two-out, two-run double to Ty France in the sixth inning.
deGrom is 0-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three career starts against the Red Sox.
Pivetta is 3-2 with a 6.08 ERA in eight career games (seven starts) versus the Mets.
--Field Level Media