Noah Syndergaard looks good. So good, in fact, that he makes good pitchers look….not good. For example, Braves starting pitcher Julio Teheran managed to match 0’s on the scoreboard with Syndergaard for 6 innings. While their stat lines look very similar (Syndergaard – 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K, Teheran – 6 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 6 K), Syndergaard just looked nasty out there.

Noah came out holding nothing back, starting with the very first pitch of the game:

He was routinely hitting 100MPH on his two-seamer, NINETY-THREE+ with his slider, and showed off his new change-up’s late breaking ability. With a couple exceptions, Noah kept the entire Braves lineup off balance and foolish-looking. Had he not developed a blister on his middle finger from pointing it at Atlanta all game, he could have easily gone for at least one more inning (86 total pitches compared to Teheran’s 96). The blister is a non-issue, as it most likely came from holding his off-speed pitches a little tighter. As the season wears on, he’ll develop a callus and most likely won’t face this problem again. Worst case scenario, he’ll take the mound Sunday instead of Saturday, pushing Robert Gsellman up a day. With an off day on Tuesday, this isn’t even a minor inconvenience for anybody involved. I’d actually prefer Syndergaard to take the mound on Sunday because he would be squaring off against Edinson Volquez, the Marlins’ ace, on ESPN.

***UPDATE***

 

The Good

The Mets bullpen looked phenomenal today, which is a rare sentence to write. Hansel Robles and Fernando Salas took over the 7th and 8th innings and they retired all 6 batters they faced, striking out 3. With Jeurys Familia suspended for 14 more games, the 7th and 8th innings will most likely belong Hansel and Fernando, and they handled their first challenge with relative ease.

The Mets were active on the bases. In 2016, the Mets ranked 28th in stolen bases, with 42.  Asdrubal Cabrera stole 2nd in the 1st inning, and Wilmer Flores stole 2nd to jumpstart the Mets’ big 7th inning rally. For a team that relied so much on the long ball last year, it was encouraging to see them manufacture runs differently in what looked like a pitcher’s duel.

DUDA SMASH. Lucas Duda put the exclamation point on the Mets merry-go-round 7th inning with a bases clearing double to give them a 6-0 lead.

Duda went with the pitch from former Met Eric O’Flaherty and two-hopped it to the fence in left center. In previous years, Duda would try to yank that to right field and would either swing through it or hit a dinky pop-up. With the current construction of the Mets lineup having their 4, 6, and 7 hitters all being lefties, Duda being a legitimate threat against LHPs takes away from any advantages that opposing managers may think that they have.

The Assman (Asdrubal Cabrera) went 3-5 with a run scored, RBI, and stolen base. Coming off of a .280 season, it looks like Cabrera picked up right where he left off.

The Bad

Unfortunately, this game had shades of the 2016 Mets. Syndergaard had one of the lowest run support totals last year, and it was very common that he would leave the game after 6 or 7 innings with the game being tied 0-0 or something along those lines. Noah would also have one of the few team hits on the offensive side. That was the case today, the Mets only recorded 4 hits (1 by Noah) by the time he was pulled.

The fans down the right field line have to take one for the team. Once the ball is out of the field of play, it’s fair game out there. I see a handful of fans cowering in fear while the one alert fan in the gray t-shirt was just too late to steal the ball from Nick Markakis. With Yoenis Cespedes at the plate with a runner on, it’s your duty as a fan to let him get another pitch.

These fools looked like they had never seen a baseball before. You’re sitting in the front row on opening day. The rules are simple:

  1. Let your guy reach as far in as he wants, and catch him if he falls.
  2. Get in the opponent’s way and do anything and everything in your power to either catch the ball or let it hit the cement.

I thought that this was common knowledge and I’m ashamed that I have to go over this.

Baseball’s a game of inches, folks:

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The Ugly

Developing news out of Mets camp is that Seth Lugo may be out of commission for awhile. There were reports as recent as this morning that said Lugo could be out there throwing as soon as tomorrow, but I guess something no bueno popped up. Lugo was already on the DL, but in perfect Mets fashion, things are looking worse than they did initially.

Freddie Freeman is the new Chipper Jones. Chipper Jones of course was one of the biggest Mets killers and pain in the ass I’ve ever seen. Freeman has embodied that role except from the other side of the diamond. After hitting .395 against the Mets last year, he went 3-4 today, including a triple off of Syndergaard that nearly left the yard. Here are his stats against the Mets over the span of his career:

Year-by-Year Splits: New York Mets
I Year G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2010 1 1 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
2011 16 14 61 53 7 15 6 0 1 8 0 0 8 12 .283 .377 .453 .830
2012 17 17 73 66 15 20 6 0 5 18 0 0 5 10 .303 .356 .621 .977
2013 19 19 83 74 13 25 3 0 6 17 1 0 9 17 .338 .410 .622 1.031
2014 19 19 84 72 8 24 9 0 1 16 0 0 11 17 .333 .417 .500 .917
2015 16 15 68 60 5 13 1 0 3 10 0 0 8 16 .217 .309 .383 .692
2016 19 19 82 76 6 30 10 0 2 9 3 0 5 20 .395 .439 .605 1.044
Career 107 104 454 404 54 127 35 0 18 78 4 0 46 93 .314 .385 .535 .920
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/3/2017.

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Game 1 is in the books. 1-0. 161 to go. Jacob deGrom takes on Bartolo Colon Wednesday night at 7:10. Until then.