Noah Syndergaard improved to 13-8 on the season after the Mets completed a sweep of the Reds with a 6-3 victory Wednesday.
Although Syndergaard threw five shutout innings, his command was noticeably off during a hot and humid afternoon game in Cincinnati.
"I would be lying if I said the heat didn't get to me a bit," Syndergaard said following the game. "And the early start time wasn't the best, but you've just got to go out there and pitch your game."
An escalated pitch count caused him to exit after the fifth inning, and surrendering four walks was the main culprit. Syndergaard was able to work his way out of jams as the Reds were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against him.
The Reds, as many other teams have, attempted to take advantage of Syndergaard's inability to hold base runners this season. However, they were 0-for-3 when attempting to steal -- after opposing runners had been successful in 45 of 51 attempts prior to Wednesday's game. Rene Rivera threw out a pair of runners and Syndergaard picked off another, which helped him escape his outing unharmed.
With the Mets patching their starting staff together down the stretch, Syndergaard has been anchoring the front end of the rotation. In his last five starts, he is 4-1 with a 1.38 ERA.
This was a terrific start by Syndergaard, despite the walks and early exit. The man was clearly off his game, yet he didn't buckle, he stayed in and found a way (thanks in large part to bad base running) to produce five scoreless -and laborious - innings. The heat and early start time, as he said, clearly had an impact on him. He looked a little lethargic early and was almost too sharp with his pitches. Nevertheless, he kept mixing it up, trying to find his way. It may have been a different outcome had the Bad News Bears not been running the bases, but such is baseball. He made it work with what he had and who he was facing, and that's all that is necessary sometimes...
The next step for Noah in his career will be figuring out how to manage his inning better, and be more efficient so he can go deeper in to games. This will happen. He's a smart, hungry, motivated, super talented kid. He'll get it. It'll be something we hear A LOT about next spring, I bet. For now, though, he should simply keep doing what he's doing and help muscle this team in to October.