The weekend series at Citi Field went so right for the New York Mets until the San Francisco Giants threw out Madison Bumgarner.
By Michael Corbett
The New York Mets entered the final weekend in April having won six straight games. Their bats were exploding at just the right time because the Nationals were getting swept by the Phillies, simultaneously.
So one can imagine how significant a serious against the three time champion San Francisco Giants would be, who reloaded heavily in the offseason for another championship run.
Going into this weekend there were a plethora of questions that needed to be answered, however.
The Mets had beaten up on some bad teams as they should, but how would they handle a battle-tested championship team that has gotten even better since last season? Would they answer the call and win games against some of odds-makers favorite picks to win the World Series? Would they fall victim to the Giants veteran leadership and prove that they aren’t ready to beat teams with such a proven pedigree of success? How would young Mets flamethrower, Noah Syndergaard handle the pressure of going up against one of the best established pitchers in all of baseball, Madison Bumgarner? How would Degrom pitch with a newly called up catcher? Would the Mets bats remain hot?
All these questions were answered and more.
Friday night, the Mets continued their hot hitting by putting on an absolute show in the third inning. 12 runs would score, six of which were driven in by Yoenis Cespedes against Jake Peavy in that record setting inning. That’s right. The Mets broke a franchise record by putting 12 runs on the board in a single inning.
Jacob deGrom took the mound in Saturday’s matchup and was shaky to say the least. In a game where the Mets bats would win the game for them, deGrom was having an off day. It’s quite plausible to suggest that deGrom and newly called up catcher Rene Rivera were simply not in sync and as a result a shaky outing occurred. It’s especially evident when you realize that the bullpen nearly blew a five-run lead as well. Is it likely to suggest that both deGrom and the pen were simply having a bad day? I don’t think so. This is definitely a chemistry issue.
Additionally, In a game where Wilmer Flores hit his first home run since his post 2015 trade deadline walk off, it’s only fitting that the same bomb would be the difference maker.
Suffice to say the Mets bats certainly remained scalding and they clearly answered the call against such a serious opponent.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 1, 2016
However, Sunday afternoon’s much anticipated pitcher’s duel between Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard was as disappointing as it was enlightening. Noah Syndergaard could very well be the most gifted talent to throw a baseball since the likes of Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan. Take your pick. They are both excellent options to compare the chest scarring flamethrower to. No, really! Did you see the photo of Kevin Plawecki‘s chest that he tweeted?
However, he’s not completely seasoned yet. Could it be simply chalked up to a bad game? Sure it could, but it’s not that simple and as a member of the media it’s my responsibility to put forth all possibilities in regards to his lack of well a superhero like performance.
Syndergaard surrendered four runs on five hits in 5.2 innings pitched in a series finale loss, Sunday afternoon. His inability to match Madison Bumgarner’s lights out performance was telling. It showed me that he was not ready to be deemed the greatest pitcher in baseball or even right on par with the likes of Kershaw, Arieta or in this case Bumgarner. Yes, he’s a fringe elite pitcher, but he’s not yet in the same VIP category of these battle tested elite arms who have ice in their veins.
Overall, we learned a great deal from this early season meeting between two potential favorites to win it all come October.
Noah Syndergaard is in fact human. Who would have guessed?
The Mets just might have proven that they are the best team in baseball despite the Cubs ownership of MLB’s best record and the experts overwhelming consensus pick to win it all.
The baseball world looks at the Cubs with starstruck eyes imagining the potential of them winning a World Series. They see a lineup that is absolutely lethal and has proven as such through the first month of the season, but they don’t see the whole picture. They don’t see the potential of teams like the Giants and the Mets. It is an even year after all.
But this is all speculation. It’s only April right?
True, but even early season meetings between contenders can be telling. What we have learned about this Mets team is that they are dangerous from the mound and from the plate. They are an insanely complete team with virtually no weaknesses. One can only imagine how dangerous this team will be come October when all the newcomers have booked a full season’s worth of games alongside the returners from last season’s NL pennant run. Zach Wheeler returning from Tommy John Surgery during the summer should only add insult to injury to opposing teams that are suffering from the depth of the Mets.
Oh, and nobody has even close to the pitching depth the Mets have. Matt Harvey, Jacob Degrom, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Zach Wheeler when he returns will be nearly unstoppable for any lineup no matter how potent to go up against. So while the Mets have proven they have an elite lineup in addition to their elite pitching staff, they have also proven why they should be the consensus pick to win it all.
The Mets are the best team in baseball, not the Cubs. Now the only remaining question is when will the baseball world catch up to this and realize the validity of this statement that I have been saying since before spring training.