The red-hot Mets
WHAT HAPPENED, NOAH SYNDER-GOOD:
The real focal point of Sunday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers was Noah Syndergaard. Although this is usually the case whenever Syndergaard takes the mound, for obvious reasons, Sunday was a showcase of spectacular stuff. Overall, the powerful righty struck out 11 batters in five and a third innings while walking just one and surrendering two hits. Despite the solid line, the flip side of the coin was that Syndergaard only took five and a third innings to reach 101 pitches.
That seems like a lot of pitches for that frame, but Syndergaard didn’t look particularly inefficient. He was constantly ahead of hitters, and only worked two hitters to a three-ball count after the first inning. It was, however, that one inning that come back to bite Syndergaard. Although he kept the Brewers off the board in the first, he took 29 pitches to do so. After two quick outs, he followed a 10-pitch plate appearance to Lorenzo Cain with a six-pitch plate appearance to Travis Shaw.
Starting the game with essentially a 30-pitch inning could’ve punched Syndergaard’s ‘short day’ card, especially considering the type of strikeout-stuff he has, but he was able to combat this by pitching aggressively to hitters. Fast-forward to a strikeout of Domingo Santana in the fourth inning, and suddenly Syndergaard’s eighth straight strikeout was evidence of a successful bounce-back. His 68 percent strike-rate was in line with his first start of the year, but his ability to miss bats was out of this world.
Syndergaard was able to get 25 whiffs in 55 swings, which was good enough for an overall whiff/swing of 45.45 percent. The lowest whiff/swing rate of any Syndergaard pitch on Sunday was his sinker, as hitters whiffed 7 out of 18 times — about 39 percent of the time. On the high-side, according to Brooks Baseball, Syndergaard got 8 whiffs in 15 swings on his changeup, which is a whiff/swing of 53 percent.
While Syndergaard was able to miss bats, and pitched well, it’s easy to daydream about what this dark wizard will look like come June or July. It wasn’t his best outing, but it was a pretty good one. My best guess is that he throws back-to-back perfect games.
WHAT HAPPENED, THERE WAS A WALKOFF, BUT HOW ABOUT BRANDON NIMMO:
The Mets, as a team, hit for the cycle on Sunday. One player, in particular, was just one hit away from doing it himself. He happens also to be the same player the Mets sent down nearly a week ago. A player who owns an impressive .400/.571/.800 slash line in the whopping sample-size of 21 plate appearances. If you guessed Brandon Nimmo, you have probably been watching the first few games of the season.
Nimmo’s success early on makes a fantastic problem for the Mets to have. It’s every best-case scenario you’ve talked about with coworkers or fellow fans, where Michael Conforto returns to a Brandon Nimmo on fire — only Conforto returned much sooner in real-life. With a Conforto, Jay Bruce, and Yoenis Cespedes outfield, Nimmo figures to be a strong fourth outfielder that’ll help the trio of starters stay healthy and get days off when they need them. It’s unfortunate, but without throwing a first-base mitt to Jay Bruce, it’s about all you can do. Until that day comes, Wilmer Flores will just have to continue hitting walkoff homeruns when his side of the platoon rolls around.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
As your Official Sunday Mets Recapper, I have an obligation to tell you that all was not well last season. The Mets were 8-19 on the Sabbath, putting forth an even more abysmal -81 run differential. This season, the run differential is just -2 and the record is 2-1. Now, I know you’re asking why that matters this early in the season. My answer? It does feel good to recap wins. With the way this Mets team is looking, I have a feeling I’ll get to talk about many more as the season wears on.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets start their second series of the season against the Washington Nationals as Jacob deGrom faces off against Jeremy Hellickson. The 12-2 Mets will be looking to extend their six-game division lead over the 7-9 Washington Nationals.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports