|Noah Syndergaard on the mound Wednesday night. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Noah Syndergaard had one of the toughest outings of his career on Wednesday night against the Chicago Cubs, which broke a run of dominance for him since the All-Star Break.
The Cubs touched up the big right-hander for ten runs in three innings, including six runs in the first, on their way to a 10-7 victory.
Syndergaard said Wednesday night "he felt he left the team down," and also noted something that has been a running trend, "Sick and tired of not being super comfortable and athletic on the mound. Still something I'm trying to work on every five days."
Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of Syndergaard's issues with being comfortable pitching, "It really didn't seem that way. He had been pitching so well, but I'm sure that everybody has a different feeling, and if he felt that way, there's probably a reason.
"I'm sure that [pitching coach] Phil [Regan] and Noah will continue to work to get himself comfortable. I know they're out there working every day. You know, when they have a bullpen session, it's not just 'go out there and throw pitches,' they're trying to feel things. You know, feeling inside is a big thing for a pitcher. It's a huge thing for a hitter as well.
"You've got to feel comfortable, and you gotta feel like you're in sync and in rhythm, so I'm sure that's something that every pitcher battles every time out - 'I want this perfect feeling,' and it happens very few times, but you're always searching for it, so I can understand what he's saying, but you know, everybody feels something different.
"When we see him dominate and look great, he probably doesn't feel as good as we might see and, like I said before, it's never as good as think it is, it's never as bad as we think it is, so yesterday was a tough one, let's go back out, continue to work, he'll throw a bullpen tomorrow with Phil and get things straightened away."
Entering Wednesday, Syndergaard had thrown eight-straight quality starts for the first time in his career heading into this outing against Chicago. Over that stretch he lowered his ERA from 4.68 to 3.71, pitching to a 1.82 ERA (11 earned runs/54.1 innings) with 55 strikeouts and just 12 walks.
The Mets had also gone 6-1 in Syndergaard's last seven starts at home dating to June 9, and he went 13-4 with a 3.28 ERA (55 earned runs/151.0 innings) in his prior 24 starts at Citi Field. The Mets are 16-8 (.667) in those 24 starts.
In his prior outing against the Cleveland Indians, on Thursday, August 22, Syndergaard threw six innings of shutout ball in a Mets 2-0 rain-shortened victory.
Syndergaard retired the first 16 Cleveland hitters he faced before Tyler Naquin dunked a single into center field with one out in the sixth inning. Francisco Lindor then got a two-out hit before Greg Allen hit one to Pete Alonso, who made a great play on the one-hopper before Syndergaard beat him to the bag. That was the end of his night as a two-hour-plus rain delay occurred in the bottom of the sixth.
This was the fifth straight start in which Syndergaard had thrown at least 6.0 innings, allowed two runs or fewer and thrown fewer than 100 pitches in five-straight starts to set a Mets franchise record.
That also is tied for the longest such streak in the majors this year (also, Dakota Hudson, five-straight, May 18-June 11).
On if he is concerned about Syndergaard moving forward, Callaway said, "No, no, I'll take the last six or seven starts that he had every day."