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Sour swings spoil Syndergaard’s solid second start

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The loose wrappers weren’t the only rubbish on the field this afternoon.

MLB: Washington Nationals at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It only took the Mets a little over three hours to completely dash all of the fans’ hopes and dreams from the pre-game introductions. The Washington Nationals had little problem taming the burgeoning lion that was the Mets offense over the past road trip as they secured a 4-0 victory.

One thing that disappointed viewers this afternoon was the matchup between Stephen Strasburg and Noah Syndergaard. In an interesting pitching duel, the two blonde-bearded hurlers combined to throw 12.2 innings of two-run ball with four hits and 15 strikeouts between them. Strasburg had a much more common day, allowing three of the four hits and striking out nine of the fifteen victims. The weird half of the equation comes when you look at Noah Syndergaard’s day.

In his second start of the season, Syndergaard went six full innings and allowed two runs while striking out six Nationals. He managed all of this while only allowing a single hit on the day: a Victor Robles home run to start the sixth inning.

The only other run that Noah Syndergaard allowed was the first run scored by either side in the game and came across the plate in the top of the second inning. After 1-2-3 innings on both sides of the ledger in the first, Syndergaard ran into some trouble in his second time out. Of his first nine pitches to Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman, eight of them were balls which put men on first and second base with none out. In the next at bat, Syndergaard threw a wild pitch past Wilson Ramos and moved both runners up a station. He was able to get Yan Gomes swinging, but Wilmer Difo dropped a surprise sacrifice bunt that was far enough to get Juan Soto home with the game’s first run.

Other than a Robinson Cano walk in the fourth that went nowhere, no man reached base until Wilson Ramos’ single to lead off the fifth inning. Following Jeff McNeil’s fielder’s choice and Amed Rosario reaching base on an error, the Mets had a chance to break through against Strasburg. Of course, that didn’t happen as Juan Lagares and Noah Syndergaard were both set down swinging to end the inning without any more action.

Following Robles’s home run in the sixth, Syndergaard had no problems finishing the inning without any further damage. Making his Citi Field debut in the orange and blue during the seventh inning, Justin Wilson set down three of the four men he faced, the only exception being Yan Gomes who was nicked by a wild cutter. The bottom half of the seventh inning represented the Mets last real chance to nobly save, or meanly lose, last best hope of earth, or at least the game. After the first two batters of the inning were quickly dispatched, Jeff McNeil and Amed Rosario both reached base again, this time on a pair of singles. In a bizarre sequence, Dominic Smith was announced as the pinch hitter for Juan Lagares and Stephen Strasburg was lifted from the game for lefty Matt Grace. Immediately upon Grace’s announcement into the game, Dominic Smith was removed in favor of J.D. Davis. That’s where the fun stopped as Davis went down looking on four pitches.

In the eighth inning, Adam Eaton and Brandon Nimmo represented the only base runners on either side as they were walked by Jeurys Familia and Justin Miller, respectively. The ninth inning is where things really became dicey. With his velocity down with the sickness, Seth Lugo came into the game and immediately gave up a double to Anthony Rendon and a single to Juan Soto. After a mound visit, Lugo induced a sacrifice fly from Ryan Zimmerman and was quickly replaced by Tim Peterson. Things didn’t improve much from there as Yan Gomes and Wilmer Difo immediately smacked a pair of singles and brought home the Nationals’ fourth run of the game. Thankfully, Peterson was able to retire two of the next three batters to keep the defecit at four runs.

During the home half of the ninth, things remained as quiet as they had for the rest of the game. Sean Doolittle came in with the mound freshly groomed for him and instantly struck out Michael Conforto. Wilson Ramos was able to send a single to right, but McNeil and Rosario weren’t able to reach base together for a third time and went down with a pair of fly balls.

The Amazin’s are off tomorrow, but they return to action at Citi Field at 1:10 on Saturday as Patrick Corbin faces off against Steven Matz in the second of three games against the Nationals.

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: None
Big losers: Also none!
Total pitcher WPA: +.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -50.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos’ fifth inning single off of Strasburg, +5.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Victor Robles’ sixth inning home run, -12.4% WPA