Noah Syndergaard made his Major League debut exactly one year ago in Chicago. Since then, we've seen him mature into a legitimate stud pitcher, and in the early going this season he's separated himself as perhaps the best pitcher on a loaded staff. He hasn't been perfect, but even his bad outings this season haven't been utter disasters.
Then, we have nights like last night in Los Angeles when he outdoes himself.
The mostly dominant 8-inning effort is something you expect to see from Syndergaard. Rather than trying to blow everyone out of the box, Syndergaard was pitching to contact most of the night and after allowing a pair of early Home Runs, he settled down and allowed 1 hit past the 4th inning. And he only walked 1 batter.
Of course, it was his exploits with the bat that stole the show. After years of having pitchers that were totally inept with the bat, the Mets now have Pitchers that can not only hold their own at the plate, but in certain instances have actually carried the day for the Mets. Syndergaard did just this last night by belting a pair of Home Runs, in the 3rd inning and again in the 5th inning.
It's usually pretty jarring when a Pitcher hits a Home Run to begin with (and when Bartolo Colon did it last Saturday it was a national headline), and generally when it happens, the general consensus is something like "Holy crap!" Syndergaard's first Home Run was sort of a Holy Crap, because he really squared up a pitch from ballyhooed Japanese Import Kenta Maeda and blasted it out to right. It seemed like the Dodgers were caught off guard because Puig had been playing way in and had to make a mad dash back to the wall before running out of room.
When he did it again in the 5th inning, Holy crap turned into laughter. Syndergaard had allowed his pair of Home Runs and came to the plate with 2 men on in an obvious bunt situation. But in some weird twist Mets pitchers can all hit but not bunt. Syndergaard couldn't lay one down, so instead he swung and blasted his second Home Run of the night to the left of Center Field, out of the reach of Joc Pederson and causing him to lose his cap over the fence.
So, then, it was Syndergaard 4, Dodgers 2 and in the 6th it certainly had a chance to be more when Syndergaard came to the plate with the bases loaded. He was clearly just seeing everything really well because he drilled the first two pitches foul with authority. And although he struck out, he'd clearly gotten in the Dodgers' heads on both sides of the ball.
Syndergaard basically did his Baseball version of the sleeper hold on the Dodgers over the middle innings and by time he'd gotten through the 8th it certainly seemed plausible that he could finish the deal. But of course in this day and age it's a tall order to ask, and so Jeurys Familia was summoned to close things out and of course he allowed a run to make it 4-3, but no matter. The Mets can now go for a series win outright tonight. You know, all they have to do is beat the Dodgers' Mr. Big Man.