Norse gods are rejuvenated by the strep throat bacterium. Mets 12, Marlins 1.
Discussion and Analysis
Noah Syndergaard started for the first time in eight days. While extra rest this late in the season is a good thing in itself, Thor appeared unaffected by his recent illness. The Marlins scored a lone fluky run off the Mets’ ace. Dee Gordon led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single in front of the mound, took a stolen base against the pitcher least able to prevent them, forced T.J. Rivera to hold him on second base, then scored when Marcell Ozuna topped an excruciatingly slow ground ball to the vacated position. After the first, Syndergaard went five more innings, allowed just three more hits and struck out eight. He walked nobody all game. He also singled twice. He seems okay.
In what started as a typical Mets offensive performance, the team scored primarily on home runs. In the top of the second, Curtis Granderson walked and Jay Bruce crushed a dinger to the second deck in right field. In the third, Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Yoenis Cespedes dented the Marlins’ sculpture in center field. The Mets knocked Marlins starter Tom Koehler out in the fourth, but left 10 runners on base through the sixth inning. The score held at 4-1 through the seventh inning.
Marlins manager Don Mattingly used 17 pitchers over the last two games. The pick-a-pitcher strategy looks good when one’s opponent isn’t hitting, but it broke down in the eighth inning last night. Ty Kelly singled and Jose Reyes doubled. After Mattingly intentionally walked Cespedes, Granderson poked a two-run single. The suddenly-scorching Jay Bruce lined his third hit of the night to re-load the bases, and the also-smoking Lucas Duda cleared them with a double. Go buy all the milk cartons on the shelf searching for Michael Conforto’s picture; it’s clear Terry Collins is going to play Jay Bruce every day. We can only hope that Bruce continues to hit. But few would argue that Duda’s return — and the corresponding James Loney benching — is anything but a positive development.
On the day the Mets announced that Steven Matz would undergo season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow, it’s worth remembering that Syndergaard is dealing with a similar, if less significant, malady. That means three-fifths of the opening day starting rotation is out for the year and the other two have visited the team orthopedist. (It was revealed today that Bartolo Colon has been pitching through a sprained tendon in his right foot.) A playoff rotation that goes Thor and Colon, then E.T. phone home, is less than optimal even if the remaining pitchers were healthy. Jeff Sullivan recently tweeted that fourth starters pitched only 8% of the innings in last year’s playoffs. The minimal importance of a postseason rotation’s back end would be better news for the Mets if the team knew for a certainty which of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo is the better third starter.
Let’s reach the playoffs first.
Jay Bruce since I suggested a @BP_Mets staff post burying him: .417/.417/1.167
— Scott D. Simon (@scottdsimon) September 27, 2016
“Syndergaard was pretty irritated… You get irritated when a ball that rolls and bounces 18 times makes it through the infield for a base hit.” — Ron
“Can I ask you a question? Why do intentional passes count against your pitch count?” — Ron
“Whenever I see relievers come in and go three-and-oh to the first hitter, my first thought is, ‘What were you doing in the bullpen, rowing?’ ” — Keith
Lugo’s spin rate faces Jose Urena tonight in the Marlins’ final home game of the season — after which they will attend Jose Fernandez’s funeral.
Photo Credit – Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports