Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Stealing Stolen Thunder

Figures, the night after I go to Citi Field and watch the Mets nearly get no-hit, they come out, score 11 runs and Noah Syndergaard comes within 2 outs of the ever-elusive CGShO.

For 9 innings on Tuesday, I watched the Mets offense masquerade as something that was supposed to resemble a baseball team walk around in circles and not do anything of value. It seems that they were saving their efforts for this evening, where they scored runs early and often, whipped around curly-haired moppet Jeff Locke and basically cruised home from there. Their 19 hits ended up being more than they'd generated in a single game all season. In fact, who can even remember the last time they banged out 19 hits in a game?

Still, for the exploits of Wilmer Flores, and Kelly Johnson, and even Matt Reynolds, who joined in on the fun, the night was stolen by Noah Syndergaard. This is usually the case when he pitches, but tonight he seemed intent on outdoing himself. The numbers, 5 hits, no walks and 11 strikeouts, are what you usually expect. But he was working at a more efficient rate than normal and as such, with his pitch count still hovering in the 70s as the game moved into the late innings, the specter of the Complete Game remained in the conversation. Yes, he did emerge for the 9th inning for the first time in his career, but it was an ill-fated endeavor as the Pirates finally managed to get to him for a pair of runs, knocking him out of the game after 8.1 innings and 115 pitches, which is probably about the maximum I'd trust him for.

Syndergaard, of course, spent the rest of the evening grousing that he didn't finish the game out, which is natural—8 innings with minimal hits and runs and double-digit strikeouts aren't new to him but going for a 9th inning isn't—and given that the opportunity to do so doesn't come up all that often unless you're Kershaw, you want to take advantage of that. So, let him work on finishing these things off. Like on a night when I'm there. Perhaps in his next start next Tuesday.

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