This was probably the last moment of the season that you could say the Mets and their fans were looking at, and looking forward to. Noah Syndergaard, after two years minus a day, was back on the mound for a cameo against the Marlins.
People have probably already forgotten that Syndergaard had to go the cameo route in 2017 after he tore his lat early that season in the infamous 23-5 game. He came back at the end of that season for a couple of cameo games. This time, he did it after two full years away from a major league mound, which was only that long because down the stretch this season he had to deal with an injury setback, and then with a breakthrough COVID case. I can’t imagine how frustrating that all was for him, so while some would wonder why he would bother coming back at all during this lost season, I totally get it. Even if the upside for him was purely peace of mind, because a one off at the end of his walk year isn’t going to do much for his free agent value, I understand why it would be necessary.
More Noah Syndergaard on the emotions of his return to the mound.
"I almost had to shed a little tear. I'm not really an emotional guy, but it definitely got to me." pic.twitter.com/BouZONY5Wx
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 29, 2021
He threw ten pitches. As promised, they were just fastballs and changeups to protect his arm. That was enough for two strikeouts and a harmless grounder to third base in what will probably be the only inning he’ll pitch in 2021. So the questions start: Would he sign a qualifying offer and bet on himself like Marcus Stroman did? Will he seek a bridge deal here, or maybe even elsewhere? Will a team like the Rangers be desperate enough to entice him with an offer? It’s another reason why this off-season has so much riding on it for the Mets, and for Syndergaard himself. He has so much talent, it’s almost as if he owes it to himself to give it one more go and get the big bag in the winter of 2022-23. And he said after the game that he was confident that he would get a deal done to pitch here next year. He was throwing an easy 96 tonight but still made the Marlins look silly. Certainly, he’s hoping that there’s a 2022 season more than most. (Looking straight at you, Rob Manfred.)
Also interesting about this second game of hopefully the last 7 inning doubleneader we’ll ever endure, was the conversation that Gary, Keith, Ron, and Gelbs had about the institution of the pitch clock in the minor leagues, how it shaved 20 minutes off the game time and created more action within a game, with batters not being able to step out of the box to process all the analytics that they’ve been given about the pitcher, as Ronnie noted. It’s like the people in line at the bakery in front of me in line for 20 minutes, and then when the get up to the counter they go “uhhhhhhh, give me the red macaron … NO! THE BLUE ONE! GIVE ME THE BLUE ONE! And, uhhhhhh, let’s see, should I get the lemon meringue or the blue velvet?” WHAT THE F*** WERE YOU THINKING ABOUT FOR 20 MINUTES THAT YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT WHEN YOU GET UP TO THE DAMN COUNTER??? LIKE, WHY ARE YOU IN A BAKERY????? CHOOSE A MACARON, GET OUT OF THE WAY, AND LET ME GET MY KEY LIME PIE AND MOVE ON WITH MY LIFE!!!!!!!!”
This, in a nutshell, is why baseball needs a pitch clock.
As for the second game against the Marlins today, it went to extra innings. Finally, a pitcher leads off an extra inning by trying to pick off the ghost runner!!! I’ve only been calling for that since the stupid rule started, and of all people, it was Jeurys Familia who got Magneuris Sierra trying to get cute and steal third. It was Familia’s first career pick off., and that set up an easy 8th for Familia. It took the Mets until the 9th to win it, as James McCann hit a ball about 40 feet that Anthony Bass fumbled, bringing home ghost runner Javy Báez with the winning run in a 2-1 win. Báez ran on contact because that’s what he does, and because it had already been a long day of inconsequential baseball so screw it, right?
The Mets are on a two game winning streak. Fantastic.
Today’s Game 2 Hate List
Who the f*** is Payton Henry?