The Mets, but on the West coast
WHAT HAPPENED, THE NOAH SYNDERGAARD SHOW:
Sunday featured some interesting storylines. Michael Conforto homered. Jeff McNeil and Todd Frazier recorded a pair of hits. Most important? Noah Syndergaard was freaking good. It’s no secret that August was a rough month for Syndergaard, whose 2018 has been lukewarm at best. As I’ve written in earlier recaps, it isn’t that a 3.51 ERA was all that bad. It’s just that we’ve been spoiled by what Noah Syndergaard can be. On Sunday, Syndergaard returned to pre-2018 form.
Allowing just one run, Syndergaard struck out 11 batters in the first complete game of his career. It was magnificent. It was beautiful. It was a reminder that the true form of the God of Thunder is still in there, fighting back from what has been about a year and a half of various injuries. When Thor throws 89 strikes in 114 pitches (about 78%), garnering 22 whiffs in 69 swings (about 32 percent of the time), you know it was a great day. Sure, his velocity was some of the best we’ve seen from him this year. Sure, his curveball and slider were fantastic. But his changeup? It was in another dimension. Throwing it 24 times, Syndergaard garnered 16 (!!!) swings and nine whiffs, good enough for a 56% whiff/swing rate. It was absolutely unhittable.
So, what worked for Syndergaard? Literally everything. His entire repertoire didn’t just border on untouchable, it was astounding. With the exception of an error in the seventh, not a single Giants batter reached base past the fourth inning. It was a truly dominant outing for Syndergaard, one of the best performances we’ve seen from him in nearly two years. Maybe an abrupt turnaround from his final outing of August means that the power righty has finally solved his woes, though only time will tell.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
/Lucy places an ample looking football on the ground
Syndergaard finally joined what has been a resurgent starting rotation. Coming into Sunday, the Mets have posted a 2.75 ERA over the past month — good enough for the third-lowest in the National League. Sure, they’ve been carried by Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler, but it’s easy to sleep on Steven Matz and Jason Vargas. Looking at the season overall, it’s probably well deserved. But it’s hard not to recognize the string of solid outings they’ve put together, with Syndergaard now looking to join them before September ends.
/Charlie Brown eagerly readies to kick the football
Maybe the Mets have finally realized the potential of their rotation, and maybe they can carry the momentum into 2019?
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets wrap up the west coast portion of their roadtrip with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team in the midst of an absolutely thrilling NL West race. The Dodgers have gotten hot at the right time and will look to keep it that way. They’ll send Alex Wood to square off against Jacob deGrom, who is about six starts away from being named the National League Cy Young award winner (editor’s note: just because you say it forcefully doesn’t make it so, Shawn).
Photo credit: D. Ross Cameron – USA Today Sports