New York Mets' Jacob deGrom ties Nolan Ryan for most strikeouts in first five starts

New York Mets right-hander  Jacob deGrom tied Nolan Ryan's record for most strikeouts through a pitcher's first five starts of a season, finishing Wednesday's start with nine strikeouts over six innings to run his five-game total to 59, but he did so in a losing cause as the Mets fell 1-0 to the Boston Red Sox.

It was deGrom's 33rd career start, and third in 2021, in which he allowed one run or fewer and failed to pick up the win, most in the majors since he made his debut in 2014. Julio Teheran has the second-most such starts over that timeframe with 25.

DeGrom has made 81 career starts of six-plus innings in which he has allowed no more than one run, but only 48 of those resulted in wins (59%). The MLB average win rate over the past five seasons when pitching at least six innings with one run or less is 69%.

After striking 14, 14 and 15 batters in his previous three starts, deGrom was a little less dominant on Wednesday night. Opposing starter Nick Pivetta even battled him for a 10-pitch at-bat, the most pitches ever deGrom has thrown to a pitcher and the most he has thrown to a batter this season. Still, deGrom has fanned a 48.0% of the batters he has faced this season.

DeGrom finishes April with a 0.51 ERA. It's the 279th instance since earned runs became an official statistic in 1913 in which a pitcher had at least 55 strikeouts in one month, but deGrom ERA's is the lowest of the 279, beating Pedro Martinez's 0.64 ERA from July 2002.

In 1978, Ryan began his season with the Angels with strikeout totals of 13, 12, 8, 15 and 11, finishing with 59 over 41 innings. Ryan also walked 25 batters, whereas deGrom walked four. Ryan also faced some hard-luck run support, however. He had a 1.98 ERA in his five starts, but won just one game as he had a six-inning outing and a 10-inning outing in which he allowed no runs but received a no-decision.

The all-time record for strikeouts over any five-game stretch is Martinez's 72 in late 1999, when he recorded totals of 15, 11, 15, 17 and 14. Those five starts were bookended by games of 11 and then 12 and 12, giving Martinez a remarkable eight-game stretch of 107 over 62 innings.