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All ’Grom Things Must End

I really wanted Jacob deGrom to set the Mets record for most consecutive starts with a win, especially once I discovered that such a record exists and that Jake had tied it. I’m keenly aware of many Mets records. Some it’s never occurred to me to commit to memory. Most Consecutive Starts Won lands a little shy of canonical in that regard.

Most wins in a row in one season is different. That one I grew up with. I knew forever that Tom Seaver won 10 in a row in 1969 and that the Seaver standard held firm until Dwight Gooden blew by it with 14 straight in 1985 (Doc’s streak reached 11 on the same Sunday Tom won his 300th…ah, symMetry). I never really stopped to think about the no-decisions in between, which is what separates that record-keeping from the record-breaking Jacob was attempting. I also didn’t dwell on how wins assigned to a single individual in a team game is rather absurd, probably because when Seaver in 1969 and Gooden in 1985 earned wins, they earned wins.

Jacob deGrom earned eight consecutive wins in eight consecutive starts prior to Saturday and they all brought out the best in a flawed statistic. Jake was no accidental winner, no slogger through five for whom enough runs were scored to forgive his shortcomings. DeGrom’s comings were as long as his locks, and he was a lock to make the Mets look better than they did on the two days before and the two days after Jake pitched.

Saturday in Seattle, the ninth consecutive start with a win, a mythical Met creature for 56 seasons, again failed to appear. One bad inning, a few unfortunate pitches and three Mariner runs saw to it that Jacob would be pitching from behind for too long. He was down, 3-1, when he left after seven and the Mets edged only to within 3-2 after nine. So not only no W for deGrom (a.k.a. FUCKIN A [1]), but also his first L in nearly two months [2] — since the last time he got mixed up with an American League opponent in an American League park. Clearly Jacob isn’t fully comfortable unless he knows he’s going to bat.

The franchise record remains eight straight starts with a win, shared by four Mets of renown who were in the midst of probably the best stretches of their illustrious careers: Seaver in ’69 (en route to 25-7, a Cy Young and a World Series ring); David Cone in ’88 (finishing up at 20-3 and headed to the playoffs); Bobby Jones in ’97 (ascending to All-Star status as the Mets contended for the first time in ages) and deGrom in this Met year that doesn’t fit with any of those Met years. Each of those Met years was a very, very good Met year, while this one struggles to maintain mediocrity, save for when it’s fabulous, which is on the day deGrom pitches and usually wins.

Usually. Not always. It only seemed like it was going to be always.