Noah Syndergaard throws harder per fastball (97.1 MPH), on average, than any hurler in baseball. That’s a fact. He adds that to the Mets fine hard throwing staff of Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, and Steven Matz. They have youth, not a ton of experience, zero playoff experience before this season, yet “Thor” as he is known has become the Mets changeup pitcher. In the old days the change up pitcher was a guy who threw slower but nowadays that guy throws faster than the rest therefore screwing up the other team’s timing.
Syndergaard’s (23 and 50 days) playoff win barely made him the second youngest in Mets history to accomplish that feat. Gary Gentry (23 and 8 days in 1969) still has that mark and it’s safe for another season.
Steven Matz in Game 4 could be an interesting one. Game 4 is one that is totally winnable with the Cubs going with Jason Hammel. He has playoff experience but no wins and the rightly could be a guy that the Mets could knock around a bit.
Anything can happen in Wrigley. We all know that. There have been some crazy games there in the past. In a way it’s great that Harvey will go in Game 5, just in case.
Syndergaard has 20 strikeouts in 13 innings. Swings and misses are the best thing you can see in the playoffs. Fly balls and ground balls can be misplayed. Strikeouts are 99.9999 safe, unless your catcher let’s one get past him on a third strike and can’t make the throw to first. That almost never happens. The fact that the Mets have a big strikeout staff really aids them in being able to eventually close out this series.
Jake Arrieta is a great pitcher. So is Syndergaard. I felt many people were overvaluing Arrieta and undervaluing Syndergaard heading into Game 2. The Cubs starter will probably win the Cy Young but the Mets touched him up for 4. Murphy stayed hot and continues to be the Mets catalyst and the pitching has been nothing short of terrific, bullpen included.
Ideally the Mets won’t have to use Syndergaard again in this series. If he gets that second start he’ll have a postseason win under his belt. The key for him was an amazing curveball that he can now throw for consistent strikes and an occasional changeup.
Syndergaard can dead-lift 512 pounds. So don’t expect the weight of a playoff start to bother him. He’s been really good now home and away and manager Terry Collins knows just when to pull him from a game. One last thing the 6-6 Texan has done. He has had two games of 9 strikeouts in the postseason. With that he tied Tom Seaver (1973), Dwight Gooden (1988), and Al Leiter (2000).
He may set a few more records in his next start.
*playoff stats compliments of ESPN Stats & Info.