Forget Noah Syndergaard proudly displaying his nickname on his glove. Forget about his eating lunch in the clubhouse in spring training. Forget about all the questions about his maturity, his command, or his Twitter feed. Forget about it all, because all that clamor serves only to distract from the fact that Noah Syndergaard is the real deal. And for the second straight start, the big Texan proved it emphatically.
The Diamondbacks came into tonight’s game with the highest batting average in the National League, but they managed to manufacture only one run against Syndergaard. It came when A.J. Pollock led off the contest tonight with a double, stole third, and then was driven home on a Paul Goldschmidt sacrifice fly to give the Diamondbacks an early 1-0 lead. However, Syndergaard worked out of the jam, and never allowed another runner to reach second base for the rest of his time on the mound.
Surprisingly, the Diamondbacks were not ahead for long, and had Syndergaard not pitched so tastily tonight, the main story would have been the bottom of the first inning for the Mets. Diamondbacks starter Chase Anderson allowed a single to Ruben Tejada and a walk to Wilmer Flores to put two men on with two out for Lucas Duda. It has been fairly well-commented upon, whether by the WOR crew, the SNY crew, the citizens of "Panic City," and people on this site and many others that the Dude has been utterly lost at the plate recently. Coming into tonight, he had not hit a home run since the Mets awful series in Toronto back in June and he was something like 9 for his last 678. Or at least it seemed that way.
Nevertheless, in his first at-bat of the night, Lucas managed to get himself into a 2-0 count, and then gloriously sent the third pitch he saw over the center field fence to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. It was, without a doubt, the most cathartic home run the Mets have had all year, and it was followed immediately by a solo shot off the bat of Michael Cuddyer to make the score 4-1 and send Mets fans everywhere into a diabetic coma. The Amazins continued to smack the Diamondbacks’ pitching around as the night wore on, but they failed to plate any more runs. Thankfully, it didn’t matter, as Noah Syndergaard decided at some point in the dugout that he was going to have his way with the Diamondbacks for the rest of the game.
Syndergaard set the D-backs down in order in the second. In the third, he struck out Paul "I’m very talented and people outside Phoenix are only just starting to spell my name right" Goldschmidt with a runner on second to get out of the inning. He worked around a walk and a single in the fourth and fifth respectively to put two more zeros up on the board, striking out a couple Diamondbacks along the way. Then, just when you thought Thor was going to start looking human, he started pitching even better.
Much has been made of how Syndergaard’s effectiveness drops off when he faces a lineup the third time, but tonight, Noah struck out the side in the sixth inning, which included his second strikeout of Paul "Seriously though, I’m really good, you just don’t care because I play in Arizona" Goldschmidt. He recorded two more strikeouts in the seventh, and in the eighth, he worked around a one-out walk to strike out David Peralta (setting a new career-high for himself with thirteen) and induced a gentle pop-fly to Kevin Plawecki off the bat of the aforementioned Paul "LIKE I ACTUALLY AM MAYBE THE BEST FIRST BASEMAN IN THE GAME RIGHT NOW. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?!?!" Goldschmidt. In all seriousness though, with the entirely justified talk of Steven Matz over the past two weeks, one might have forgotten that Syndergaard’s stuff is just as—if not even more—electrifying. And tonight, he displayed that brilliantly.
Jeurys Familia came on to pitch the ninth for the Amazins and immediately allowed a lead off triple off the bat of Yasmany Tomas. Though Curtis Granderson bobbled the ball in right, he managed to make a great throw to third, and Tomas was originally called out. After the umpires looked at the replay for what seemed like an eternity though, the call was overturned, and Tomas scored one batter later on a Wellington Castillo single. It mattered little. Thanks to two nifty plays by Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy, Familia emerged with his 25th save of the year and the Mets took the opener from the Diamondbacks.
SB Nation GameThreads
* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* AZ Snake Pit GameThread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Lucas Duda, +28.2% WPA; Noah Syndergaard, +17.4% WPA
Big losers: Curtis Granderson -4.0% WPA; Daniel Murphy -3.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda homer, bottom of the first
Teh sux0rest play: A.J. Pollock double, top of the first
Total pitcher WPA: +19.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: +30.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Lucas Duda