As in yesterday, this morning's report is a blow-by-blow, inning-by-inning analysis of the Mets-LAD playoff series.
This is Game 2... featuring the Dodgers' Zack Greinke vs. the Mets' Noah Syndergaard.
Pre-game note... I don't know if this is going to translate into anything tonight, but Michael Conforto has hit one tape measure shot after another out of the park during batting practice, including a shot that went over the right field roof and landed outside the stadium... FWIW, Syndergaard led all rookie pitchers this year with 166 strikeouts... I'll be off-line all day tomorrow so enjoy my breakout and I'll see you next Friday when my normal Mack's Morning Report returns.
1st Inning -
I was wondering why someone like Curtis Granderson can't simply punch a ball into right field to break the shift, and then he singled over the head of the second baseman. My guess is players like Granderson and Lucas Duda would consider than the wussie way out... didn't matter... David Wright hit into a double play followed by a strikeout by Daniel Murphy. Soft start.
Noah Syndergaard caused quite the stir in the crowd with a 100 mph fifth pitch. 13 pitch inning included three 101-mph pitches.
A 1-2-3 inning for the Dodgers. The battle is on.
2nd Inning -
Yoenes Cespedes decided his wrist was healed and barely went yard for a leadoff 1-0 lead. He was truly pumped after that hit. This was why the Mets traded for this guy. Let's see if this homer wakes him up now and he dominates the series...
Told you about what Conforto did in batting practice, didn't I? Tremendous line drive home run (only 42 feet off the ground) for 2-0 lead. He became the 2nd youngest Met (Wayne Garrett) to hit a post season HR.
Grienke finished the inning with a 41 pitch count.
Andre Ethier worked for a walk and got Thor's pitch count up in the second. Syndergaard did start the inning throwing multiple 100 mph fastballs, but they did begin to tail off to 98-99 by the time the inning ended... inning ended at a 36 pitch count (line drive to Daniel Murphy) but very little feel for the secondary pitches...
(I'm telling you... you're going to miss Murph... )
3rd Inning -
Greinke has a 1-2-3 inning, but hits 56 in pitch count.
First three pitches by Syndergaard were curves and a change-up. Someone must have talked to him about throwing more secondary pitches... Thor was in trouble this inning from the get go... he did keep his poise, returning to his fastball to get himself out of a 2-hit inning... pitch count 58 with 6 strikeouts in 3 innings...
Syndergaard has a 91-mph changeup tonight. Jon Niese averaged 91-mph with his fastball in just 3 of his 29 starts this year...
4th Inning -
At this point you want to either add to the lead or add to the pitch count. A questionable called third strike call to Duda prevented any chance of either. For some reason, the Mets call a hit and run with Murphy running and Duda doesn't swing... Murphy was out by a mile. Bad call here.
The Dodgers continue to get to Syndergaard a little more each inning. Two lead-off doubles generates the first Dodger run of the night but the bleeding ended there, for now. Great play by Syndergaard this inning for the first out, throwing out the lead runner at third with a come back gounder. Pitch count 77.
I don't expect to see much more of Syndergaard. His velocity is coming down and he still has no command of his secondary pitches. It's only a matter of time that he will lose this lead.
End of 4... Mets 2-1
5th Inning -
An excellent inning for both Grienke and Syndergaard. Thor continued to rely on his fastballs which were now in the 98-99 mph range. You're just not going to see four better pitches than you've seen tonight and last night.
6th Inning -
A Granderson single goes wasted and the only good news this inning turns out to be Grienke's pitch count going to 101.
Thor had another shaky inning, but Ruben Tejada started an inning ending double play. He continues to prove that his glove alone warrants him playing ahead of Wilmer Flores, especially in tight games like this. There's no room for defensive mistakes in one run games.
7th Inning -
Another 1-2-3 inning for Grienke, which, I assume, will be his last inning. It's pretty tough to write this way about games like this. They just are too pitcher controlled.
It was great to see Chase Utley, but the last thing we needed was him to get a critical hit that put runners on first and third with one out. Syndergaard was pulled and replaced with Bartolo Colon. My guess it was TC's plan to use Colon to an ending of the 7th, then bring in Addison Reed for the 8th and Jeurys Familia for the 9th... the plan just simply didn't work... Colon threw what easily could have been an inning ending double play ground ball but Utley creamed Tejada who was attempting to turn it on second. The playoffs ended for Tejada in one swift play.
The score was 2-2.
LA then challenged the out and the Umps ruled that Tejada never toughed the base and Utley was safe. Addison Reed replaced Bartolo Colon and I was so pissed I took am Ambien... Adrian Gonzalez knocks in two more and the score is 4-2 Dodgers. Turner doubled in A-Gone and... well, you get the picture.
Dodgers 5, Mets 2 after 7
Iit will be interesting to see the reaction tomorrow on TC bringing in Colon.
8th Inning -
Just an observation... Travis d'Arnaud looks lost with a bat in his hand. He hasn't come close to producing a base hit these past two nights.
1-2-3 for the Mets in the 8th... I'm going to roll the dice and call it a night. We got the split we wanted and frankly, the Syndergaard lead never felt secure tonight. This was a los waiting to happen.