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Three stats behind Jacob deGrom’s historic start for Mets

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Three stats behind Jacob deGrom's historic start for Mets

There aren’t many new ways to describe what Jacob deGrom is doing for the Mets. “DeGrominant” has become a standard and not just a play on his name when he’s rolling.

He set the bar higher still Friday night in New York with a two-hit, 15-strikeout, no-walk shutout of the Nationals. Being unhittable every time he takes the mound is a reasonable assumption at the moment thanks to an 0.31 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 29 innings to begin the 2021 season.

MORE: Are these five hot-starting teams contenders or pretenders?

Fans can also expect that deGrom will make history. The 50 Ks are an MLB record for a pitcher in his first four starts of the season. DeGrom passed Nolan Ryan and Shane Bieber with his 14th punchout Friday. No. 15 set a personal single-game mark.

DeGrom had 14 strikeouts in each of his previous two starts, which means his 15 on Friday also put him in this select group: He, Pedro Martinez and Gerrit Cole are the only pitchers with 14 or more in three consecutive starts.

“I knew 14 was the most I had had, so when I looked up there and I saw 12 (after six innings), I was like, ‘OK, you’ve got to figure out a way to strike out three guys,’ and I was fortunate enough to be able to do it because the last two innings I wasn’t able to strike out anybody,” he said. 

His pitching was so captivating that his two hits and an RBI at the plate became fun footnotes.

What’s behind DeGrom’s phenomenal counting numbers? These three foundational stats can help to give us the answer:

98.9 mph average speed on his four-seam fastball

That’s the primary reason for the 50 Ks. DeGrom’s four-seamer ranged from 97-101 mph Friday, according to Statcast.

Of course, everything DeGrom throws is fast. His slider and changeup average 91-92 mph.

He told reporters that he was sharp warming up before the game, which had him worried.

“Tonight, I noticed my stuff was really good in the bullpen and I’ve had starts where my stuff has been really good in the bullpen and you go out there and you almost lose a little bit of focus. So walking in I literally was thinking, ‘Hey, you’ve got to keep that focus throughout the whole game,'” he said.

Needless to say, deGrom stayed focused.

73.0 strike percentage

DeGrom is pounding the strike zone at a career-best rate, and why shouldn’t he with his stuff? He bumped up the average Friday by throwing 84 of his 109 pitches for strikes.

“He just commanded the whole game,” Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo said, per ESPN.com.

DeGrom’s command has him on track to record the most efficient season of his career. He’s averaging a career-low 13.1 pitches per inning after four starts. His lowest average for a full season is 14.8 in 2018, the year he won his first of back-to-back NL Cy Young awards.

And fewer pitches can mean more innings. DeGrom threw just 95 pitches, 76 for strikes, over eight innings in a loss to the Marlins on April 10.   

.000 opponents’ batting average with RISP

DeGrom has had to raise his compete level to the highest of highs thanks to Mets hitters’ notorious lack of run support. So far this year, no one has gotten a hit off him with runners in scoring position. Batters are 0 for 7 with a walk, four strikeouts and a sacrifice fly in those situations.

Just one Nationals batter reached second base Friday: Andrew Stevenson doubled with two outs in the third inning. DeGrom retired the next hitter, Josh Harrison, on a ground ball to shortstop Francisco Lindor, and then proceeded to set down the next 18 Nats to close out the game. 

“It’s fun (to strike out hitters), but at the same time . . . the goal is to still put up zeroes. There was a little bit of stress with that to go out there and continue to try to put up zeroes for the guys,” deGrom said.

He has handled the stress just fine in 2021, having now putting up zeroes in 27 of his 29 innings.

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Marlins’ Jesus Aguilar quite literally tries to steal signs from D-backs’ Carson Kelly

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Marlins' Jesus Aguilar quite literally tries to steal signs from D-backs' Carson Kelly

Caught red-handed.

We know that batters can sometimes take a peek at catcher’s signs to try to get as much information as they can. It’s just part of baseball, after all. But Jesús Aguilar took it to the next level Thursday.

With Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly reaching first base, Aguilar decided to take a peak at the catcher’s signs — by lifting up Kelly’s wrist cheat-sheet.

MORE: Padres fan starts brawl after knocking out Rockies fan

Kelly responds with an incredulous, “What are you doing, man?”

Kelly’s disapproval to Aguilar taking a peek results in a hilarious reaction from Aguilar, looking like a kid who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar before breakfast.

Aguilar is one of baseball’s more fun personalities, so there’s nothing to read into here. But it’s not the first time that Aguilar has tried to steal signs. About a month ago, Aguilar stole an index card straight out of Dom Smith’s back pocket during a game against the Mets — presumably a defensive positioning card that players carry with them on the field.

The Marlins would go on to win the game 5-1.

If Aguilar keeps this up, he might be able to score a role in an “Ocean’s 11” reboot. 

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NASCAR lineup at Dover: Starting order, pole for Sunday’s race without qualifying

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NASCAR lineup at Dover: Starting order, pole for Sunday's race without qualifying

The starting lineup for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway was set by applying the statistical formula NASCAR is using for the majority of the series’ races in 2021.

Drivers’ starting positions for the Drydene 400 (2 p.m. ET; FS1, TSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) were based on four factors:

  • Driver’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
  • Car owner’s finishing position from the previous race (25 percent)
  • Team owner points ranking (35 percent)
  • Fastest lap from the previous race (15 percent)

NASCAR is conducting qualifying and practice for just eight Cup Series races in the 2021 season. The next qualifying session will take place prior to the May 23 event at Circuit of the Americas, a road course outside Austin, Texas.

Below is the starting lineup, which was set without qualifying, for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race on Dover’s 1-mile oval.

MORE: Watch Sunday’s NASCAR race live with fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

Who won the pole for the NASCAR race at Dover?

Martin Truex Jr. was tabbed to lead the field to green for the Drydene 400 based on the mathematical formula. Truex is coming off his third win of the season, a dominating performance at Darlington last Sunday. He is the only driver to win more than once in the Cup Series in 2021.

Truex also gained the No. 1 pit stall, which is a valuable piece of real estate at Dover because track position is highly important on the Monster Mile.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is second in the series point standings to teammate Denny Hamlin, who will start in the second position Sunday. William Byron, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Chris Buescher received the other top-10 lineup spots.

NASCAR starting lineup at Dover

NASCAR used a mathematical formula to set the starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Dover International Speedway, the Drydene 400, without qualifying.

Start pos. Driver Car No. Team
1 Martin Truex Jr. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing
2 Denny Hamlin 11 Joe Gibbs Racing
3 William Byron 24 Hendrick Motorsports
4 Kyle Larson 5 Hendrick Motorsports
5 Kevin Harvick 4 Stewart-Haas Racing
6 Kyle Busch 18 Joe Gibbs Racing
7 Ryan Blaney 12 Team Penske
8 Chase Elliott 9 Hendrick Motorsports
9 Joey Logano 22 Team Penske
10 Chris Buescher 17 Roush Fenway Racing
11 Christopher Bell 20 Joe Gibbs Racing
12 Tyler Reddick 8 Richard Childress Racing
13 Ryan Newman 6 Roush Fenway Racing
14 Austin Dillon 3 Richard Childress Racing
15 Brad Keselowski 2 Team Penske
16 Alex Bowman 48 Hendrick Motorsports
17 Chase Briscoe 14 Stewart-Haas Racing
18 Matt DiBenedetto 21 Wood Brothers Racing
19 Ross Chastain 42 Chip Ganassi Racing
20 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing
21 Michael McDowell 34 Front Row Motorsports
22 Bubba Wallace 23 23XI Racing
23 Erik Jones 43 Richard Petty Motorsports
24 Daniel Suarez 99 Trackhouse Racing Team
25 Ryan Preece 37 JTG Daugherty Racing
26 Corey LaJoie 7 Spire Motorsports
27 Anthony Alfredo 38 Front Row Motorsports
28 Kurt Busch 1 Chip Ganassi Racing
29 Justin Haley 77 Spire Motorsports
30 Cole Custer 41 Stewart-Haas Racing
31 BJ McLeod 78 Live Fast Motorsports
32 Aric Almirola 10 Stewart-Haas Racing
33 James Davison 15 Rick Ware Racing
34 Cody Ware 51 Petty Ware Racing
35 Quin Houff 00 StarCom Racing
36 Garrett Smithley 53 Rick Ware Racing
37 Josh Bilicki 52 Rick Ware Racing

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Oliveira vs. Chandler purse, salaries: How much money will they make at UFC 262?

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Oliveira vs. Chandler purse, salaries: How much money will they make at UFC 262?

There’s a whole lot of bling on the line at UFC 262, and not just from the lightweight championship belt.

Charles Oliveira (30-8-1, eight KOs) and Michael Chandler (22-5, 10 KOs) will vie for a significant payday and supremacy in the lightweight division as its Nos. 3- and 4-ranked fighters, respectively. That’s especially impressive for Chandler, who is fighting under the UFC flag for just the second time after moving on from Bellator. He is on a current three-win streak, all via knockout, heading into his bout vs. Oliveira.

Oliveira, meanwhile, is on an eight-fight win streak, mixing in wins via submission, KO and decision into the mix. Will he prove his superiority over the relative UFC newcomer, or will Chandler put his stamp as the best lightweight in the world in just his second UFC fight?

With that, here’s everything you need to know about the money they stand to make at UFC 262.

MORE: Sign up to watch the UFC 262 PPV, exclusively on ESPN+

UFC 262 purse, prize money

The official UFC 262 purse won’t be revealed until after the fight has concluded, but the headliners’ previous bouts in the Octagon could provide some indication of what they’re expected to make.

Michael Chandler made a reported $530,000 from UFC 257, which included his Performance of the Night, win and sponsorship bonuses. He made $350,000 in show money. Oliveira made a reported $250,000 from UFC 256: $115,000 to show, $115,000 as a win bonus and $20,000 in fight week incentive pay.

Considering that each fighter made those figures without headlining their respective events, it stands to reason that each will look to make at least $500,000 from UFC 262.

MORE: Everything you need to know about UFC 262

What is Charles Oliveira’s net worth?

Oliveria’s net worth is estimated between $2 million and $3 million per mmasalaries.com and $2.21 million according to sportkez.com.

What is Michael Chandler’s net worth?

Chandler has a net worth of $2 million, according to a 2020 estimate from wealthygenius.com.

UFC 262 card

Main card

  • Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler (lightweight championship)
  • Tony Ferguson vs. Beneil Dariush (lightweight)
  • Katlyn Chookagian vs. Viviane Araujo (women’s flyweight)
  • Shane Burgos vs. Edson Barboza (featherweight)
  • Matt Schnell vs. Rogerio Bontorin (bantamweight)

Prelims

  • Jacare Souza vs. Andre Muniz (middleweight)
  • Lando Vannata vs. Mike Grundy (featherweight)
  • Andrea Lee vs. Antonina Shevchenko (women’s flyweight)
  • Jordan Wright vs. Jamie Pickett (middleweight)

Early prelims

  • Gina Mazany vs. Priscila Cachoeira (women’s flyweight)
  • Kevin Aguilar vs. Tucker Lutz (featherweight)
  • Christos Giacos vs. Sean Soriano (flyweight)

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