The Mets won their first game of the 2016 season this afternoon in Kansas City thanks in large part to Noah Syndergaard. There's a whole lot of baseball to be played this year, but if you came into the season thinking that Syndergaard might be the Mets' best starting pitcher, his first start was a step in that direction.
The Royals are known for making contact and avoiding strikeouts, but Syndergaard had nine strikeouts and walked only one opposing hitter in six innings. He gave up just three hits, he worked out of jams without issue, and he threw 92 pitches, 60 of which were strikes. Of those strikes, a whopping 18 of them—or 19.6 percent of his pitches—resulted in swings-and-misses.
On top of that, Syndergaard averaged 98.2 miles per hour on his four-seam fastball and 99.5 miles per hour on his two-seam fastball. Both pitches topped out just below 101 miles per hour. Late in his start, he threw what looked like a 95 miler per hour slider, an absurd speed for that pitch, which hasn't shown up in the PitchF/X data at the time of this writing but could be there when Brooks Baseball adjusts the raw data's pitch classifications. Whatever the case, everything about Syndergaard's start was outstanding.
With that kind of pitching performance, the Mets didn't need a ton of offense, but Neil Walker provided all of the team's runs with a two-run home run in the fourth inning against Royals starter—and former Met—Chris Young. Walker went 2-for-4 with a strikeout in total, but the home run was certainly the highlight.
On top of that, David Wright had a pretty good day at the plate and on the bases, as he went 1-for-3 with two walks and two stolen bases.
When Syndergaard's day came to an end following the sixth inning, the Mets' bullpen was flawless, as Jim Henderson, Addison Reed, and Jeurys Familia threw one perfect inning apiece. Henderson touched 97 miles per hour and average 96.7 miles per hour on his fastball, all of which made for a very encouraging Mets debut. Reed and Familia looked sharp, as well, and had no issues wrapping up the Mets' win.
Unfortunately, the Mets' next game isn't until Friday afternoon in Queens. But if you need your baseball fix over the next few days, repeated viewing of Syndergaard's outing is highly recommended.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Noah Syndergaard, +35.2% WPA, Neil Walker, +20.6% WPA
Big losers: none
Teh aw3s0mest play: Neil Walker’s two-run home run in the fourth, +21.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Alcides Escobar’s leadoff triple in the first, -9.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +60.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -10.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Neil Walker