Every game is so critical in their hunt for a playoff berth, and especially these games against the Chicago Cubs, the team they’re chasing for the second wild card spot.
Syndergaard had a chance to rise to the occasion, but the Cubs instead took the hammer to Thor in a 10-7 win.
“Makes me feel even worse I wasn’t able to do my job,” Syndergaard said after the Mets lost their fifth straight game. “The offense puts runs up and it’s my job to go out there and put up zeroes, and I did the opposite of that.”
Syndergaard (9-7) surrendered a career-high 10 runs in just three innings while yielding a career-high three homers. He also allowed six runs in an inning for the first time in his career, putting the Mets in a 6-0 hole before they batted.
The Mets (67-65) are now four games back of the Cubs in the wild card race.
“When you get your [s***] kicked in like that, you see a different perspective on things,” Syndergaard said. “Definitely a terrible feeling. Disappointed in myself, had the opportunity to go out there and do something big and I let the team down.”
Good numbers, bad feeling
Syndergaard entered this outing as hot as any pitcher not named Jacob deGrom, tallying eight straight quality starts while posting a 1.82 ERA.
In his last outing against Cleveland, Syndergaard carried a perfect game into the sixth inning before having to exit due to a rain delay.
Yet, lurking beneath those gaudy numbers was a secret that Syndergaard had not revealed: he did not feel all that comfortable on the mound.
He managed to battle through those issues in the previous starts, but it finally caught up to him against the Cubs.
His night took a turn for the worse after his defense failed to make a play.
With two on and one out in the first, Javier Báez hit a grounder that should have resulted in a fielder’s choice, but Amed Rosario threw the ball wide to the bag and it trickled into the outfield, allowing a run to score.
That opened the flood gates.
Double. Single. Homer. Single.
And the Cubs had a 6-0 lead.
“A few plays weren’t made,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “He battled, left some pitches in the middle, they made him pay. They didn’t miss the ones that were big mistakes. He couldn’t get in rhythm. Just an off night.”
Syndergaard also allowed a homer in the second after J.D. Davis lost a fly ball in the rain, and yielded another two-run bomb by Nick Castellanos in the third to put the Mets in a 10-1 hole. The Mets managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning, but were unable to complete the rally against Craig Kimbrel.
It marked the first time a Mets starter allowed 10 runs since 2010.
“Sick and tired of not being super comfortable and athletic on the mound,” Syndergaard said. “Still something I’m trying to work on every five days.”
Following Syndergaard’s implosion, the Mets now face what can be labeled a must-win game Thursday in the series finale.
This nine-game homestand started with a sweep of the Indians, but the Mets have now lost five straight games to the Braves and Cubs.
The Mets battled back from 11 games under .500 to get back in this race, but they still have four games between them and a playoff spot.
DeGrom, the reigning NL Cy Young winner will take the ball and try to avoid the fate that befell Syndergaard and left him cursing while describing his outing.
“It’s huge,” Syndergaard said of Thursday’s game. “We got our ace on the mound. He’s going to do what he does best. I predict he’s going to be pretty lights-out tomorrow.”
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