Noah Syndergaard didn’t open Game 3 of the World Series with his best stuff. The Mets’ power righthander was touched for six hits and three runs in the first two innings. His team, already staring at a 2-0 deficit in games, was also looking at a 3-2 deficit on the scoreboard.
Then Syndergaard made the adjustment. He used more of his off-speed pitches and didn’t let Kansas City’s great fastball hitters get comfortable in trying to time the heat. He found a way to work through the sixth inning and left the game with a 5-3 lead. The New York bats then finished the job, tacking on four more runs in a 9-3 win.
I loved Syndergaard’s guts. It would have been easy to fold up in the face of the constant pressure that deep Royal lineup puts on you. But the young pitcher kept at it and even though 6 IP/3 ER isn’t what you were looking for from him, it was enough to give his hitters a chance to get rolling off erratic Yordano Ventura and the weaker arms in the Kansas City bullpen.
Unless you’re a diehard KC fan, you had to be happy for David Wright last night. The Mets third baseman has waited a long time to get to a World Series, coming through some bad teams and serious injury problems along the way. In front of his home fans, he ripped a two-run homer for New York’s first runs, had 4 RBI on the night and made two defensive gems. He was the biggest star on a night that included Curtis Granderson homering to give the Mets a 4-3 lead, the one they ultimately never lost.
Now let’s return to Syndergaard and the Mets’ starting pitching. As much as I admired his fortitude last night, this hard fact remains—in a Series that New York has to win with starting pitching, they’ve yet to get their starter through seven innings. They’re still playing Kansas City’s game and while the Mets won a big battle last night, they will lose the war if this continues.
It’s up to rookie Steven Matz, who pitched the NLCS clincher in Wrigley Field, to give New York both innings and a win, as he faces Kansas City’s steady veteran Chris Young in tonight’s Game 4 (7 PM ET, Fox).