The Mets flipped the script on Saturday, scoring double-digit runs at Citi Field for the first time since May 15, despite a far below-average start from Noah Syndergaard.
Thor allowed 12 hits and walked more (5) than he struck out (4) in almost seven innings of work. It was no matter though, as the offense exploded for 10 runs off Phillies pitching in just eight innings. Once and future prospect Tomas Nido started the scoring with a bases-clearing double in the second off Philadelphia starter Zach Eflin.
It didn’t get much better for Eflin in the third, as Todd Frazier continued his annual late-season surge with a three-run homer to really break things open. The Phillies used seven relief pitchers on the evening, but the game wasn’t as close as the final score may indicate.
Jay Bruce reached base in every one of his four plate appearances, showing what he may be still capable of when actually healthy. There’s no doubt the Mets would like the contract back, but Bruce played through a multitude of injuries earlier in the season and surely isn’t as bad when completely healthy. He’s likely going to enter 2019 as the starting first baseman, though Peter Alonso may (read: should) steal the starting gig before the end of June.
Jeff McNeil did Jeff McNeil things, picking up three hits in five at-bats to raise his average up to .329. He’s been a breakout star in the organization this season and looks primed to begin 2019 as the starter at second. While the .329 average is likely to decline, the home run rate (and extra-base hit rate) should increase in the near future. It’s those power changes that have improved McNeil’s outlook drastically from prior seasons.
Syndergaard was hit around on Saturday, but he’s having a strong season that has somehow been underwhelming for a pitcher of Thor’s stature. He’s admitted that his stuff should be leading to better results, but he’s doing an above-average job at preventing runs despite the command issues. Pending future health, the Mets 2019 starting rotation projects as one of the best in all of baseball, as long as Zack Wheeler’s improvements are for real.
Photo credit: Andy Marlin – USA Today Sports