It was supposed to be a pitcher’s duel between two of the games’ gifted young pitchers: Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner. Instead, the San Francisco Giants, in need of a victory, earned a workman-like 6-1-blowout victory over the New York Mets, snapping the Amazin's 8-game winning streak.
Obviously the Mets winning streak was going to come to an end at some point, and one would figure it would likely end against a pitcher of the caliber of Bumgarner.
In a lot of ways the match-up between the flamethrowers didn’t live up to hype, mainly because Syndergaard couldn’t find a way to get outs when he needed it the most. The Giants, a professional team that knows how to hit pitchers with good stuff, waited Syndergaard until they could figure him out in the fourth inning.
Matt Duffy and Buster Posey each took a couple of strikes before lining base hits to get things moving for the Giants. Two batters later, after Duffy scored on a groundout by Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence crushed an 0-1 fastball over the right field wall to make it 3-0, San Fran.
Pence just had Syndergaard’s number. He knew what to wait for and took care of the rest. In the top of the sixth, he worked the count full to 3-2 before he pushed a pitch through the hole to right to drive in an insurance run to make it 4-0.
As good as Syndergaard is, it is easy to forget that a 23-year-old is going to have days like this against a veteran team like the Giants. Syndergaard’s pitchers were a little flat, and up in the zone. He didn’t have the bite that we saw at times earlier in the season. No worries, though, because a young starter with stuff that good is allowed to have a day like this.
And let us not forget, San Francisco got embarrassed by the Mets the previous two nights, including a Friday night where they allowed 12 Met runs in one inning. A team that has playoff and World Series aspirations like the Mets is not going to go down quietly.
As for Bumgarner, he wasn’t overpowering either, but he got the job done. Bumgarner slowed down the Mets, scattering six hits and walking three over six innings of work. Yet, the veteran didn’t give up a single run. Why? Because even without his best stuff, Bumgarner knew how to get people out.
In the first inning with two on and two out, he got Neil Walker to fly out to right. In the third inning, he got Walker again, this time, jamming him inside on a pitch that he popped straight up into the air for the final out. In the fifth, after a David Wright single, he reared back and struck out Michael Conforto swinging. Finally, he got out of a bases loaded jam by striking out Asdrubal Cabrera.
It wasn’t pretty, but Bumgarner got through it all, because he knew when to make the right pitch at the right time. At 26-years old, while he is still young and can still light up the radar gun, Bumgarner knows he doesn’t need to blow people away to get outs. He makes the hitters earn it, and more times than not, it is Bumgarner who succeeds.
Eventually Syndergaard will learn how to pitch well when his stuff may not be up to snuff. No need to panic. Thor should take this loss for what it is, a learning experience.