Noah Syndergaard pitched brilliantly against the Nationals in the Mets home opener on Thursday afternoon. He allowed three baserunners through six innings of work, struck out six, and carried a no-hitter through five innings. He also took the loss, due to the combination of an equally dominant performance from Nationals counterpart Stephen Strasburg and the fact that his Mets teammates spent the afternoon wandering around groggily in little beanie nightcaps and fluffy slippers due to an unforgiving schedule quirk.
The Mets played Wednesday in Miami, in a game that started at 6:10 p.m. and needed a little over three hours to complete. Their game Thursday was scheduled to start (and did start) at 1:10 p.m, giving the team a little under 16 hours to disembark from Marlins Park, take a bus to the airport, fly back to New York, get to their various homes, get some sleep, and get back up and go to Citi Field for all the various pregame shit, all before the first pitch of their home opener. Even that summary fails to account for all the things that go on before and after a major league baseball game—stuff like media availability and trips to the trainers’ room and extremely poorly timed mandatory drug tests:
So while Sydnergaard was able to fly out ahead of his teammates on Wednesday and get his usual routine in, the rest of his team was sitting around Marlins Park waiting for poor under-hydrated Dominic Smith to take a piss. From the New York Daily News:
“I went, but I didn’t go enough,” Smith said. “I had to wait until my bladder was ready to go. It took another 35-40 minutes.”
“Unfortunately, that’s the way it goes,” Nimmo said. “With Dom ... Some guys just don’t have to go after the game and it takes a while. If you catch him on any other night, then he just stays and gets an Uber.
“But we had a day game and we didn’t want to risk the earliest flight the next day, I’m pretty sure, so we waited for him. It’s not his fault at all. It’s just the way it goes. Just bad timing.”
The team flight didn’t make it back to Queens until after 2 a.m., less than 11 hours from the start of Thursday’s game. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s also very, very far from ideal. Strasburg is enough of a challenge for hitters without taking him on while tiredly clutching a little plate with a candle on it. After the loss, an understandably irritated Syndergaard said he felt that the Mets were not “in the proper situation to win a ball game, based on the rest of the guys’ sleep.”
This is now the second time the various schedule-makers have run afoul of Syndergaard this season, and the second time that an already unpleasant travel sequence has been delayed by something ridiculous and unexpected. This season is seven games old.