When the Mets announced their starting lineup prior to Saturday night's game against the Nationals, the name filled out as the starting catcher was somewhat of a surprise.
Wilson Ramos will get the start behind the plate on Saturday, and while that in itself doesn't seem like much of a surprise, it is a bit different to see him paired up with Noah Syndergaard on the mound.
Since June 30, Tomas Nido has been behind the plate for all seven of Syndergaard's starts, and the right-hander has been terrific in those games. In 46 innings of work, Syndergaard has allowed just 14 earned runs, good for a 2.74 ERA. He's struck out 47 batters and allowed just three home runs, compared to the 11 homers he's given up in his 15 other starts.
But Ramos has been swinging a hot bat lately, and with runs possibly being at a premium with Nats lefty Patrick Corbin on the mound, Mickey Callaway wanted to give his team the best chance to score runs and win the game.
"Obviously, Ramos has been swinging the bat well. He's been catching outstanding. It's been off the charts. He's been doing a great job, and we felt this is the best way to win a game today," Callaway said. "We've got Corbin pitching against us, Ramos is going to be in the middle of the order driving in runs hopefully, and we felt this would give us the best chance to win.
"As far as we see it, and as far as Ramos is concerned, he wants to play every single day, and we'll continue to monitor what happens the night before and continue to play him as much as we possibly can and still keep him healthy and productive."
The splits for Syndergaard in games when he has Nido behind the plate compared to Ramos are noticeable. He's pitched to 2.40 ERA in nine starts with Nido, while his ERA sits at 4.69 in 11 starts with Ramos behind the dish.
But according to Callaway, Syndergaard is in such a groove right now, that it shouldn't make much of a difference who is behind the plate.
"He's executing all of his pitches, and when Noah is Noah, it doesn't matter who's catching him. It's very similar to deGrom," Callaway said. "When they get on a roll, it doesn't matter who's catching them, and they feel that way. When I informed Noah, he was like, 'Sounds good to me.' He's good to go. He understands that all he has to do is go out there and do what Noah Syndergaard can do, and anybody can sit back there and catch him.
"Everything changes. We always have to be willing to change with the circumstances, and I think the circumstances are such right now that he feels confident no matter who's catching him, and that allows us to probably be the best team that we can be possibly be offensively…"