Noah Syndergaard was quite critical of himself after he lasted just six innings and allowed four runs on nine hits in his last start, a 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
However, Mets manager Mickey Callaway kept faith in the righty saying, “He’s going to settle in and get in that rhythm, and he’s going to be one of the elite pitchers in the game.”
Sunday afternoon we finally saw Syndergaard take complete control on the mound, and as Callaway put it he looked like “one of the elite pitchers in the game” again.
“It looked to me like he went out there and just didn’t worry about anything other than throwing the ball over the plate,” Callaway said postgame Sunday.
Syndergaard breezed through his first seven hitters easily before Alen Hanson tripled on a ball that got past a diving Brandon Nimmo with one out in the third. A batter later, Hanson scored on a Chris Stratton sacrifice fly.
After that, Syndergaard settled in nicely, retiring 11 of the next 12 batters before Jay Bruce booted a ball at first base in the bottom seventh for the Giants only base runner after the fourth inning.
Syndergaard followed that up by striking out a pair in the eighth. After Syndergaard hit 99 MPH on his 100th pitch of the afternoon, Callaway decided he had to send him back out for the ninth.
“He was in such a groove, I felt like he had enough in the tank to keep on going,” Callaway said.
Syndergaard responded to his managers confidence by striking out Gregor Polanco to open the ninth. After Joe Panik popped up for the second out, Syndergaard struck out Evan Longoria with his 114th pitch of the afternoon, a 99 MPH sinker, to end the game.
Syndergaard tossed the first complete game of his career, while allowing one run on two hits and striking out eleven Giants hitters. He was in complete control all afternoon, and put together his best start of the season on what Syndergaard said was a “beautiful day in San Fran.”
“It’s an amazing feeling.. I have my family here. I couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Syndergaard said.
After his frustrating August struggles, Callaway said this was the dominant outing that Syndergaard has needed.
“I think Syndergaard needed this for a lot of reasons. One, to understand that he is still working on things, but the time to work on things is in between starts, not when you are really out there competing,” Callaway said.
In an up-and-down 2018 campaign, Syndergaard has a 10-3 record with a 3.33 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 128 strikeouts, and 121.2 innings pitched through 20 starts.
His biggest struggles came during the month of August, when he posted a 4.74 ERA. Although, Syndergaard notes that is in the past, and he just wants to end the season on a better note.
“I told myself at the end of August that I have a fresh clean slate at the start of September.. I took that to heart. I just want to finish the season strong,” Syndergaard said.