LOS ANGELES -- Jacob deGrom began to introduce himself to a national audience when he earned the National League Rookie of the Year Award last season.
He further enhanced his profile by striking out the side on 10 pitches in the All-Star Game in Cincinnati in July.
Now, deGrom can add outdueling Clayton Kershaw in the postseason to his résumé.
In his playoff debut, deGrom tossed seven scoreless innings and matched Tom Seaver’s franchise postseason record with 13 strikeouts as the New York Mets beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
“I think before the game I was pretty nervous sitting in the locker room,” deGrom said. “But once I got out there warming up, I kind of settled down. I think it really went away after the first pitch I threw.”
DeGrom became the fifth pitcher in history with 13 or more strikeouts in a scoreless start in his postseason debut, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The last had been Tim Lincecum with the San Francisco Giants in 2010.
So much of the hype rightly had centered on Kershaw and Zack Greinke entering this series. Ultimately, the NLDS instead might serve as a national launching party for a quartet of young Mets aces -- deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz.
The Mets are making their first postseason appearance since 2006. Only captain David Wright was a member of the team back then.
DeGrom’s fastball sizzled at 97-98 mph all evening. He limited the Dodgers to five hits and one walk while tossing 121 pitches, one shy of his career high. Two of the hits were fly balls misplayed in left field by Michael Cuddyer.
“He just has electric stuff,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. “I didn't get to see him when we were in New York earlier this year. That's as good an arm as I've seen all year long. He gets the ball really well to both sides of the plate and mixes his cutter/slider. He has great composure, great poise out there. We kind of saw that earlier this year in the All-Star Game, the big moment. He kind of thrives in it."
DeGrom said he did not let facing Kershaw consume him. Kershaw, who was charged with three runs in 6⅔ innings, lost his fifth consecutive postseason start.
“I wouldn’t say I get caught up in it,” deGrom said. “I know what he’s doing, but my game plan stays the same.”