Washington Nationals Bats Shut Down By Noah Syndergaard
Noah Syndergaard was in complete control as he shut down the Washington Nationals offense. Is this a bad sign going forward?
Last night, at Nationals Park, the Washington Nationals (86-59) lost a ten-inning game to the New York Mets (77-68) 4-3 on a game-winning home run by T.J. Rivera against Mark Melancon. The Nats rallied in the ninth against Jeurys Familia to tie it, but Rivera’s third RBI of the night sealed the win.
Now, Melancon giving up a home run isn’t something to be concerned when you consider the Washington Nationals closer has given up only four home runs this season. For me, the biggest takeaway from last night’s game was Noah Syndergaard shutting down the offense in his start.
In their first four games against Syndergaard, the Washington Nationals had nine stolen bases in ten attempts. Last night, the Mets right-hander controlled the baserunning situation by simply not allowing many hitters to reach base. The only stolen base in the game was Bryce Harper in the second (his third against Syndergaard this season).
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Syndergaard had one of his best starts of the season. He went seven innings, gave up one run on four hits, walked one, and struck out ten on 99 pitches (69 strikes). The only run scored against him was a Wilson Ramos RBI single down the right field line in the second.
During the game, Syndergaard had all of his pitches working. One situation that stands out from last night was in the fifth inning. Ryan Zimmerman led off the inning with a double down the left field line. But, the Washington Nationals couldn’t get anything out of the inning as Danny Espinosa, Stephen Drew (pinch-hitter), and Trea Turner all struck out.
While Syndergaard is known for his 100 mile per hour fastball, he had his slider and curveball fooling the Washington Nationals lineup all night. According to Brooks Baseball, he threw 21 of his 26 sliders and six of his eight curveballs for strikes. Plus, out of his ten K’s, five of them ended in a slider.
As for A.J. Cole, he didn’t give up a home run for the first time this season and kept the offense in the game. He went five innings, gave up three runs on nine hits, struck out six, and walked two in the loss. Cole was good, but not good enough against a pitcher the caliber of Syndergaard.
When the Washington Nationals get to the postseason, they will have to find a way to get some hits against some of the best pitchers in the game. At least, Daniel Murphy found a way to keep his great streak going of having a hit in every game against the Mets this year with a 2-for-5 night.
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There is no need to panic after last night’s loss as the Washington Nationals continued to fight back in the late innings. But, at the same time, Syndergaard finding his form at the right time has to remind fans of the kind of pitchers this lineup will see in October. That will be the moment where the Nats will need to have timely hitting and not the 3-for-13 they had with men in scoring position last night.