Noah Syndergaard said it was an opportunity to do something big and he let his team down. Wednesday night at Citi Field those quality starts of eight straight were supposed to help his team try and get an important win against the Chicago Cubs.
But as quick as an upcoming hurricane coming in, Noah was not “Thor” who could stop the damage. It was a career first inning that he and the Mets want to forget.
Fastball, slider, changeup, whatever he delivered, the Cubs pounded every pitch in a six run first inning. A career high overall of 10 runs, nine earned in three innings. The Mets, they gave it a good fight, but the hole of course too deep and the Cubs with a 10-7 win widened the gap.
The NL Wild Card, so close for the Mets, and just a few days ago, has suddenly gone from two games to four. So Thursday night, and with Jacob deGrom on the mound, of course that is a must win for the Mets.
They don’t want the gap to widen more to five games, not with three games next at the Phillies who finished play Tuesday night two games out of that second Wild Card spot that the Cubs control at the moment.
“They capitalized on every mistake I made,” Syndergaard said.
And mistakes at this time, as Syndergaard made, can’t be attributed to a wet mound or trouble getting a grip on the ball. It rained and first pitch was delayed 12 minutes.
This was the ineffective Noah Syndergaard. Wrong time to go bad in a big game, a huge series that has forced the Mets to keep the fight. They did fight back, a five-run fifth inning got them back in with back-to-back home runs from Jeff McNeil and J.D. Davis off Kyle Hendricks.
The numbers are ugly also with a walk, 3 home runs, wild pitch, hit by pitch, 64 pitches. The ERA was 3.71 and the quality starts reflected that
You can’t expect your number two guy in the rotation to finish the evening with an ERA of 4.14. But the reality to all of this, Noah Syndergaard does not know what went wrong.
But the Mets will need to make sure this was an off night for Noah Syndergaard and every good pitcher will have those bumps along the road.
However they are still playing important baseball, and probably will, only because this wild card race has every team failing to take control, Noah Syndergaard has to be right for his next start at the Nationals next week and going through bumps now is not the right time.
Despite a comeback, partly due to Hendrick allowing six runs four times this season, and a Cubs bullpen that has many flaws, the Mets lost their fifth in a row and at home.
They have not lost many games at Citi Field during their stretch of getting back in the race. But their starter this night did not have it. The hole was too deep to have one of those Citi Field comeback wins.
“We’ve been in these situations before,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We’ve risen to the challenge. I feel like we’ll do the same thing.”
However, not this hole of a starter not providing the length. The bullpen provided six innings of no runs. Edwin Diaz, a perfect 8th inning, striking out the side, and Callaway said his slider was the best he saw this season.
Callaway said that Syndergaard has been pitching great and the rotation is their strength. And if the Mets are going to stay in this, it’s simple to understand, that Jacob deGrom will need to have his start of the year Thursday night.
And the lineup will need to continue showing signs of getting out of a tailspin. McNeil with his 16th home run broke an 0-for-9 skid. Davis, 2-for-5, has hit home runs in consecutive games, Amed Rosario, 2-for-5, had great at bats and Wilson Ramos extended his career high hitting streak to 21 games.
But the Mets left 11 on base, 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. They had runners on in the sixth and seventh innings and failed to score. In the ninth they got to an ineffective Craig Kimbrel.
This loss was on Noah Syndergaard. He put his team in an early hole. In a wild card chase, climbing out of that hole, as the Mets know, was hard to do.
And Jacob deGrom can’t dig another one Thursday night at Citi Field.