Heading into Friday night’s matchup at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox were, by all accounts as well as per their MLB-leading .791 OPS, the most offensively prolific team in the major leagues.
They figure to remain saddled with that designation through the conclusion of the season, as they hold an 18 percentage point lead in the category with just over two weeks remaining in the year (Yankees are second at .773).
They may be one of the greater offensive teams assembled in recent memory, but the BoSox could barely touch the one they call Thor in the first game of a three-game weekend set in Beantown.
In the New York Mets’ 8-0 win over the 100-win Red Sox on Friday, Noah Syndergaard dismantled Boston’s weapon-filled lineup, even without his usual impeccable control.
Through seven innings of work, the 26-year-old allowed three hits, walked three, and struck out six Sox while leaving a goose-egg sitting on that gorgeous Fenway scoreboard.
Syndergaard went to 12-3 on the year, leading the Mets hurlers in wins and bounced back nicely after giving up 12 hits and four earned runs to the Phillies his last time out (Sept. 8).
His fastball sat at a lively 97-98 MPH throughout the evening, and Syndergaard was able to mix in his secondary pitches very well. And when he did find himself in sticky situations, Thor kept his cool and simply continued to fire his signature lightning bolts.
After another spotless frame in the second in which he struck out Rafael Devers on an absolutely nasty 92 MPH change well below the batter’s knees, Syndergaard allowed his first hit of the game leading off the third, a single to Ian Kinsler.
Jackie Bradley Jr. walked on four pitches in the next at-bat after Kinsler stole second, but Thor recovered to strike out Blake Swihart, induce a fly out from Betts, and then a groundout from Benintendi. Talk about turning it on.
He walked Swihart with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, after striking out Kinsler and Bradley on two terrific sliders, then Brandon Nimmo made a great diving play on a Betts fly ball to end the inning.
Syndergaard issued another two-out walk in the sixth, this time to Martinez, but once again bounced back, striking out Bogaerts, who was fooled badly on another wicked good slider (get it?).
At 92 pitches, Mets manager Mickey Callaway let the big Texan start the seventh, and he did not disappoint. He got Devers to ground out on a second-pitch curveball to start the inning.
Kinsler notched his second hit of the game, a single to center field, but Noah picked him off at first base and got Bradley to line out to Jeff McNeil at second.
Syndergaard brought his earned-run average down to 3.26 on the season and, again, did so against unquestionably the most potent offense in baseball. Over his last three starts, the 26-year-old has a 2.02 ERA and a 3-0 record.
A strong finish could do wonders for Noah Syndergaard. Hopefully, things continue down this course and into 2019 for him, as well as the Mets as a team.
Add that group to the talented young positional core, and this team may end up getting out of this rut in shorter order than likely any one of us anticipated.