Nationals look to take down deGrom, Mets

WASHINGTON — The New York Mets dinged Max Scherzer’s Cy Young chances Thursday night.

Now the Nationals will get a shot at Jacob deGrom.

Cy Young candidate deGrom (8-9, 1.78 ERA) opposes Washington right-hander Joe Ross (0-0, 3.60) on Friday night in the second contest of a four-game series at Nationals Park.

With two starts remaining, deGrom needs to win both to hit double digits and finish with a personal won-loss mark above .500. Though wins are devalued these days, the fewest by any starting pitcher to win the Cy Young is 14 by Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez in 2010.

DeGrom has allowed three runs or fewer in 27 consecutive starts, a major league single-season record. He has turned in 22 straight quality starts, tying him for the all-time single-season record.

The right-hander picked up his last win Aug. 18. In his last start, he got a no-decision after allowing three runs in seven innings against the Red Sox in a game New York lost. He struck out 12 and walked one.

“I want to win every baseball game I throw, but it hasn’t gone that way for me this year,” deGrom told the New York Post. “I definitely like wins, but more importantly you want the team to win when you are pitching, and it just hasn’t gone that way for me out there.”

The Mets are 12-18 in his starts.

DeGrom is 6-4 with a 2.76 ERA in 14 career starts against the Nationals. This season, he beat the Nationals on April 5 and got a no-decision on April 16.

Scherzer allowed three runs in seven innings Thursday night, including back-to-back home runs in the third to Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce. His ERA ticked up to 2.57 and he left the game trailing.

“We kept saying, ‘Keep on him, keep on him, keep on him,'” Mets manager Mickey Callaway told “Unfortunately, it’s Scherzer, and that’s not easy to do. To do what we did was pretty good. To keep on scoring off a guy like that is pretty tough.”

Scherzer, in fact, retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced, finishing with 13 strikeouts to give him 290, a Nationals record.

“He fight. He never give up,” outfielder Juan Soto told the Washington Post. “He throw and throw. It doesn’t matter if you hit a homer, he’s going to keep working.”

Scherzer has 17 wins with two starts remaining.

Washington rallied to tie the game in the eighth, but New York won 5-4 in 12 innings thanks to former National Jose Lobaton’s sacrifice fly.

Ross allowed two runs on four hits over five innings last week against the Cubs in his first start of the season and first since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July of 2017. (He started against the Cubs on Sept. 7, but the game was rained out in the second inning.)

“Hopefully next time I can get ahead a little bit better and pitch deeper into the game,” Ross told the Washington Post after throwing 74 pitches. “The first complete game back, feel pretty good about myself.”

Ross is 2-2 with a 4.29 ERA in six starts versus the Mets.