The Ian Desmond-led Colorado Rockies
WHAT HAPPENED, NOAH SYNDERGAARD DID NOT HAVE A NICE START:
The easiest thing to do is to start with the negative.
Sept. 7, 2016 was the last time Noah Syndergaard issued four free-passes in one start. In fact, over 68 career big league starts, Syndergaard had walked four or more batters just three times. In start number 69, that number would grow to four. He also surrendered a home run to Ian Desmond, which is less than ideal.
As Gary and Keith discussed on the SNY broadcast, Syndergaard just isn’t missing as many bats with his harder stuff as we are used to seeing. While they might be right, there is one reason that makes the most sense. Leading up to this start, we know that Syndergaard is getting more swings on his fourseam fastball and less swings on his sinker. Both are, for the most part, not good. Why? Thor isn’t getting whiffs on these pitches at the rates he typically does. In addition, he is doing things that would make sense as to why hitters are reacting this way. More pitches outside the strike zone with his sinker, more ‘grooved‘ fourseamers. But, at the end of the day, these differences aren’t greatly noticeable.
Is there something wrong with his pitches? No, not really. His spin rates look great, some have even increased. If you wanted a difference to point to, it’s that Syndergaard’s velocity down just enough to mention. This is easy to write off, and probably means nothing, as most pitchers aren’t throwing their hardest in April and May. After two mediocre starts in a row, there are a couple potential reasons/flags to watch. Maybe Syndergaard needs to utilize his high-velo/spin rate mix by pitching higher in the strike zone with his fastballs. Maybe he could lean even more on his offspeed pitch-mix.
The main, and correct, one? We’re just too freaking greedy.
For all the worrying, Syndergaard still worked six innings and held the Rockies to just two runs. He left Sunday’s outing with a lower season ERA than the one he entered with. After loading the bases with no outs to start the third inning, the only damage came from a walked-in run. Syndergaard worked himself out of each jam presented, despite most being the kind he created. While he didn’t look comfortable on the mound all day, this just seems to be a case of Thor working through some early season struggles — relatively speaking. It is certainly not the time to hit the panic button.
WHAT HAPPENED, THE IAN DESMOND GAME:
As all truly mediocre hitters do, Ian Desmond came into Sunday batting .282/.341/.490 against the Mets over his career. Having already homered off Syndergaard in the second — and despite the fact that Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos worked a clean seventh inning — the righty was out for more. He could smell blood. He needed more.
Enter Hansel Robles, who promptly provided Desmond with the home run he desired. After giving the Rockies a 3-2 lead, Desmond knew it would be enough. It was the Sabbath, after all. He rested.
WHAT HAPPENED, THE FIRST IS THE EASIEST (AND THE ONLY):
The Mets showed up to hit in the first inning, kicking things off with three straight singles and a sac fly. After trips to the plate by Juan Lagares, Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Todd Frazier, the Mets held an early 2-0 lead — the first in a week. That joyous occasion would quickly halt, as the bats would stay dormant until the ninth inning. One batter after a Wilmer Flores walk in the ninth, Adrian Gonzalez would dump a hit into left field — putting runners on first and second with two outs.
The fun would stop there, as Tomas Nido would be called upon to pinch hit with the winning run at first base. Why, you ask? Brandon Nimmo subbed in for an injured Yoenis Cespedes after the first inning, Michael Conforto pinch hit in the seventh and Jose Reyes was put in to run for Flores after his walk. The decision ultimately came down to letting Jose Lobaton or Nido hit, with Mickey Callaway deciding in favor of the latter —using Gonzalez to hit in Lobaton’s place. The decision proved futile, as Nido struckout to frisbee-thrower Adam Ottavino to end the game.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
Syndergaard didn’t have his best stuff, but was able to work through six innings of two-run ball. At the plate, the Mets looked to have a promising afternoon ahead of them. In the end, however, they were stymied by Colorado lefty Kyle Freeland — extending their losing streak to six games.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets start a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds, which could not possibly have come at a better time. The Mets will send rookie P.J. Conlon to the mound for his Major League debut, and will square off against Homer Bailey. Maybe a small ballpark and a guy named Homer will help restart the Mets at the plate.
Photo credit: Gregory Fisher – USA Today Sports