Noah Syndergaard has been good this year.
We haven’t seen him truly dominate yet this year though. In other words, we haven’t seen “Thor.” Well, we did today.
Syndergaard took the mound, facing off against Carlos Martinez, in a rematch of Opening Day, a game which the Mets won 9-4.
Syndergaard was given an early lead to work with, courtesy of an RBI double from Yoenis Cespedes. The man he drove in was Brandon Nimmo, who reached on a hit-by-pitch to start the game. Yes, he sprinted to first base.
Nimmo, who has been relegated to bench duty, has made the most of his limited opportunities. He has had 33 plate appearances this year. He has been on base 17 times. Truly remarkable.
It looked like the 1-0 lead would be all that Syndergaard would need. He fired 3 perfect innings to begin the game, and was insanely economical with his pitches. The Cardinals finally reached base in the 4th, courtesy of a Tommy Pham single, but Pham was immediately picked off first base.
In the top of the 7th, the Mets would give their starter some more cushion. Amed Rosario singled, and then advanced to 3rd on a Brandon Nimmo base hit. Yoenis Cespedes collected his 2nd RBI with a sacrifice fly, scoring Rosario.
In the bottom of the 7th, Syndergaard ran into trouble for the first time.
Tommy Pham led off with a double. It was ruled a hit, but the ball deflected off the glove of Yoenis Cespedes. Marcell Ozuna singled to drive home Pham, and the Cardinals were on the board. Met killer, Paul DeJong doubled off a ball that deflected off the glove of Todd Frazier, but Syndergaard limited the damage and got out of the inning. 2-1 Mets.
Fast forward to the bottom of the 8th, and the spotlight was on the Mets shoddy defense once again.
Greg Garcia led off with a ground ball to shortstop. Amed Rosario could not field it cleanly, and the Cards had their leadoff hitter on base. Syndergaard bounced back and struck out Yadier Molina, but a Matt Carpenter single chased him from the game.
Robert Gsellman entered, hoping to preserve the win for a man who truly deserved it. It was a tough spot he found himself thrust in, as there were men on 1st and 3rd with only one out. Gsellman couldn’t save the day.
Tommy Pham took the first pitch he saw into left field and the game was tied. Gsellman did escape without allowing any more damage, but Syndergaard’s excellent outing was spoiled.
Noah Syndergaard was brilliant. Over 7¹/³ innings of work, he allowed 6 hits, and no walks. An earned run was charged to his account, and he had 7 strikeouts. His strikeout to walk ratio this season is an INSANE 46/5.
What a stomach punch. It’s like the Mets forget how to play when deGrom and Harvey are on the mound. Oh, I’m sorry. DeGrom and Syndergaard.
Seth Lugo entered the game in the 9th, hoping to get the Mets another at bat. He hit Dexter Fowler, and then walked Paul DeJong, but was able to work around it and keep St. Louis off the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the 10th, Yoenis Cespedes and Asdrubal Cabrera were retired quickly. Then the Mets went to work.
Jay Bruce singled to center field. Todd Frazier followed with a single of his own, and the Mets had runners at 1st and 3rd. Adrian Gonzalez walked, and Jose Lobatòn had a chance to be the hero. Incredibly, INCONCEIVABLY, he was walked and the Mets had the lead again. 3-2.
It should be mentioned that Jose Reyes was sent up to hit for the pitcher after the RBI walk. He grounded out to end the inning.
Ok, Syndergaard could not get the win. But if Familia closes the game, the Mets still take the series and all is good.
Familia quickly disposed of Yadier Molina and then struck out Tyler O’Neill. Tommy Pham singled, and the Cardinals had life. Jose Martinez stepped up and hit a ball to center field. You saw it wasn’t leaving the park, so assumptions were that Lagares would catch the ball and end the game.
Instead, the ball sailed over his glove, and Tommy Pham came around to score, tying the game once again. Lagares later said he lost the ball in the sun. Kind of surprising he didn’t make the play, but the outcome remained the same. The Mets had allowed the Cardinals to tie the game.
At that point a Mets loss seemed inevitable. The Mets did not reach base again, and it felt like just a matter of time before St. Louis would end it.
In the bottom of the 13th, Paul Sewald struck out Tommy Pham to begin the inning. Jose Martinez drew a walk, and Marcell Ozuna followed with a single. Dexter Fowler stepped up and singled to right field, and the game was over. 4-3.
That was really the first time Sewald had an inning where multiple hitters reached base on him this year, and to be fair, it should have never got to that point.
The Mets have now lost 3 straight games where deGrom and Syndergaard have pitched. What makes that stand out is both Jacob and Noah were incredible in all of those starts.
For a second straight day, the Mets’ defense was atrocious. They are not doing the little things right now and it’s costing them. After Cespedes’ double in the first, the Mets had a runner on third with one out situation. Jay Bruce popped up. Seeing as how the Mets could not touch Carlos Martinez after the 1st inning, it would have been huge to capitalize.
I think it’s time to end the Adrian Gonzalez experiment. Dominic Smith’s struggles at Las Vegas don’t help but something needs to be done. Mets fans are clamoring for Jay Bruce to move to first. It would lengthen the lineup and allow Nimmo consistent playing time, but can Bruce play first base? No, I mean like really play first base, you know, digging throws out, starting double plays, that sort of thing.
Mets now travel to San Diego. Jacob deGrom will take the mound in the opener against Clayton Richard.