Syndergaard blows away Marlins over seven innings
Noah Syndergaard had some of his best stuff working tonight, as he struck out 12 Miami Marlins with only one walk over seven innings. He featured a fastball sitting 98-99 mph, his suddenly trademark slider comfortably sat 93 mph, and his changeup sat 88-90 mph with life.
The fastball was particularly deadly in this outing – Syndergaard commanded the pitch impeccably, and during the first three innings generated seven strikeouts (all swinging), a pop up, and two ground balls while primarily relying on the pitch. The lone base runner during this time was opposing starter Jose Fernandez, who reached on a bobbled ground ball to Neil Walker.
Syndergaard ran into a little trouble in the fourth, as the Marlins suddenly became aggressive on the first pitch. Four straight batters made contact on his first offering, and two (Justin Bour and Derek Dietrich) singled, scoring Miami’s first run. Despite this hiccup, the six batters Thor faced that inning included four groundballs and a swinging strikeout.
He came right back and struck out the side in the fifth, including Dee Gordon for his third straight appearance (Gordon would go on to strike out four times for the first time of his career). Syndergaard would take advantage of two peculiar base-running plays to speed up his final two innings. Christian Yelich oddly attempted a steal of third and was thrown out by Travis d’Arnaud in the sixth. The next inning, Ichiro Suzuki pinch hit with two outs and Derek Dietrich on third. Ichiro legged out an infield hit but Dietrich was immediately thrown out at home – proving once and for all that no one should run on Lucas Duda’s arm.
Syndergaard was dominant despite the lone run he allowed, and benefited from the strong defensive efforts of his infield – namely David Wright and Asdrubal Cabrera.
Offense can’t take advantage of Fernandez’s early inconsistency
Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was inconsistent in the first two innings of the game. He still sat 94-95 mph with the fastball but couldn’t get it over the plate, and then relied too heavily on secondary pitches and got into trouble.
Despite several opportunities, Mets batters only applied limited damage during the 51 pitches it took Fernandez to get through two innings. In the first, Curtis Granderson knocked an unbroken-breaking ball into right field for a lead-off double, followed by a walk of Wright on four pitches (all fastballs). Duda lined a change-up into right field, scoring the Mets’ lone run, but was thrown out advancing to second. Although they loaded the bases the following inning, New York failed to score further runs.
After two tumultuous innings, Fernandez found his groove with a quick third inning. He would not allow a further baserunner, and struck out the side in the fifth. It took 90 pitches for Fernandez to get that far into the game, and the team pulled him. Despite now having four innings to score some insurance against one of the worst bullpens in baseball, little was produced.
Craig Breslow allowed two runners in the sixth, but Michael Conforto grounded into a double play. David Phelps then pitched two no-hit innings while striking three, and closer A.J. Ramos shut the door in the ninth.
Bullpen fights command, loses lead in eighth
Jim Henderson struggled for the first time in his Mets career, throwing a career-high 34 pitches to only four batters. That included a marathon 16-pitch plate appearance against Gordon that lead to an opposite field single on a hanging breaking ball. Henderson then walked Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton while struggling with fastball command, and was pulled for Jerry Blevins with the bases loaded.
Blevins allowed the go-ahead sacrifice fly in a tough situation and was immediately pulled for Addison Reed, who generated the necessary ground ball to end the inning. Due to a short bullpen, Jeurys Familia was still called upon in the ninth. Despite allowing two base runners, he generated three ground balls and a swinging strikeout, and ended the inning.
Tomorrow is the final game of this three-game series against the Marlins, and the final game of the 2016 opening homestand. Logan Verrett, in place of Jacob deGrom, proud parent of a new son and proud owner of a tight lat muscle, makes his 2016 debut against Miami left-hander Adam Conley. The Mets look to snap their four-game losing streak, and the afternoon game begins at 1:10 p.m.
Photo credit: Adam Hunger-USA Today Sports