MILWAUKEE -- When All-Star Game festivities begin next month, Jacob deGrom and Jeurys Familia -- the two pitchers who combined on the Mets' 2-0 shutout of the Brewers on Thursday, snapping their season-high seven game losing streak on the last day of a nightmare eight-game road trip -- will almost certainly be there. Matt Harvey might not be, which is more a testament to just how good deGrom has been.
Through nearly three full months of this season, deGrom -- not Harvey -- has been the Mets' best starting pitcher. Over the last 53 weeks, deGrom -- not anybody else -- has been the game's most successful pitcher by at least one measurement, his 2.07 ERA ranking first in baseball. In addition to ending the worst road trip the Mets have experienced in years, deGrom on Thursday further solidified his standing as New York's ace.
"He's certainly a deserving young man," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's pitched great."
Thursday was simply more of the same. Coming off two straight outings in which he pitched brilliantly, but received either a no-decision or a loss, deGrom retired the first seven batters he faced and 20 of the first 21. Had Milwaukee's only extended rally in the seventh inning not driven his pitch count up to 100, and had the Mets not been looking for a chance to shake the dust off closer Jeurys Familia, deGrom might have pitched his first career shutout.
As it was, he finished with eight scoreless innings, striking out seven and walking one. DeGrom allowed four hits and Familia did the rest, riding RBI hits from Wilmer Flores and Lucas Duda to victory.
"Honestly, I approached it like every other start," deGrom said. "I went out there and tried to put up zeros."
Over his last eight starts, deGrom has been even better than usual at that, posting a 5-1 record, 1.23 ERA, 63 strikeouts and six walks. Opposing batters are hitting .160 off him.
After Thursday's victory, deGrom grinned and laughed when asked about his confidence level on the mound.
"I try not to be too confident when I'm out there," deGrom said. "You get too cocky, you can be put back in your place real quick."
No one would accuse the Mets, who fell from 10 games over .500 on April 23 to a game under on Thursday morning, of being "too confident" at this juncture of their season. But if any of them have a reason to be, it is deGrom and Familia -- the Mets' two most likely All-Stars, and the reason why they were able to climb back to even .500 on Thursday. The reason why outfielder Michael Cuddyer said his team is going to enjoy a "nice flight" home, able "to joke and laugh and talk and have some enthusiasm."
"There's definitely some relief, there's no question about that," Cuddyer said. "I think for everyone involved, there's definitely some relief. A big, collective deep breath. Hopefully, we can continue and play well tomorrow."