The Mets lost tonight despite a historically good start from Noah Syndergaard because they’re the Mets and ambitious losses are part of their DNA. They knocked around Jose Fernandez in the first inning, then loaded up the bases in the second only to leave empty-handed. After that, Fernandez straightened out and he and his bullpen allowed just three more hits on the night.
Syndergaard, for his part, was dominant. He struck out six of the first seven Marlins he faced, and made more hitters swing and miss than any Mets pitcher has in a long time. Young Thor slowed down after the first few innings but he still left the game with 12 strikeouts through seven innings.
His slider was nasty as hell tonight, and he used it liberally as a clinching pitch. Look at all these vexed-ass Marlins shaking their heads and walking back to the dugout.
If you include his work in the postseason last year, Syndergaard averages 10.533 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9). He hasn’t thrown nearly enough innings to qualify for any all-time leaderboards, and that stat should only be used as an indicator of how dominant he is right now, but that K/9 rate would be the second-highest in baseball history.
The Mets rely on their elite pitching staff as much as anyone, and with their offense struggling thus far in 2016 and Jacob deGrom missing some time, they’ll need Syndergaard to keep fanning dudes like he did tonight. Dude’s only 23, but he already one of the best strikeout pitchers working today. They don’t need to worry about him.