Syndergaard took a perfect-game bid through six innings and finished with eight innings of scoreless, three-hit ball. His 107 pitches through eight were one fewer than it took Rangers pitchers to get nine outs on Tuesday against that other New York team, the Yankees.
Syndergaard is 3-1 with a 1.29 ERA in his past six starts. He bounced back from walking five during his previous start to walking none in this one.
The Elias Sports Bureau notes that Syndergaard is the first rookie to have three straight home starts of at least eight innings and one run or fewer allowed since Hideo Nomo did it for the 1995 Los Angeles Dodgers. Syndergaard also is the first Mets pitcher (rookie or non-rookie) to perform that feat since Frank Viola in 1990.
Syndergaard lowered his home ERA to 1.46. He has allowed eight runs in seven home starts.
The 22-year-old Syndergaard is the youngest Mets pitcher to throw eight scoreless innings with no walks since Dwight Gooden did so at age 21 against the Cardinals in 1986.
All about adjustments
Syndergaard had a bizarre start against the Padres on June 2, allowing seven runs and 10 hits in four innings, despite striking out 10.
It was very different this time around against San Diego.
Mets manager Terry Collins told reporters after Tuesday's game that Syndergaard has shown a willingness to listen to suggestions.
“He’s like a sponge,” Collins said, describing Syndergaard’s consultations between starts.
It appears from comparing his June 2 start with this one that Syndergaard did make a few changes.
The difference was in his two-strike approach. He threw 12 of 23 of his two-strike fastballs on or just off the inside corner (which we refer to as the inner-third of the plate) on Tuesday, likely to set up breaking pitches. In that June 2 start, he threw only one of 15 to that area.
The Padres were 0-for-15 in two-strike situations against Syndergaard tonight. They were 4-for-15, including a home run and triple during the game in June.
Syndergaard also seems to have developed a nice rapport with rookie catcher Kevin Plawecki (the two were Triple-A teammates this season and Double-A teammates last season). He has a 2.29 ERA when caught by Plawecki and has a 4.50 ERA in his three other starts.
Bringing the heat
Syndergaard threw a pitch clocked at 96 MPH 65 times on Tuesday.
He’s thrown a major-league high 732 pitches that hit that number on a radar gun this season.
Syndergaard was throwing hard and the Padres could not hit the ball hard. He posted the first start of his career in which he didn’t allow a hard-hit ball.
Did you know?
A Syndergaard perfect game would not have been that big of a surprise. After all, July 28 is the only date in baseball history on which two perfect games have been thrown (Dennis Martinez and Kenny Rogers).