Mets manager Mickey Callaway is of the belief that Noah Syndergaard can throw to any catcher when he’s rolling. Currently doing just that, Syndergaard pitched to Wilson Ramos on Saturday night for the first time since June 15.
The results supported Callaway’s belief.
The hulking righthander didn’t factor in the decision but went seven innings in a 4-3 win over the Nationals, allowing two runs (both in the first inning on a two-run home run by Juan Soto), seven hits and two walks. He struck out five and lowered his ERA to 3.89. It was the sixth straight start he went at least seven innings, the longest stretch of his career.
Soto homered again off Seth Lugo in the top of the eighth, putting the Nationals ahead 3-2, before Luis Guillorme tied the game with his first career homer in the bottom of the eighth inning and J.D. Davis gave the Mets the lead with a sacrifice fly.
“When Noah is Noah, it doesn’t matter who’s catching him,” Callaway said before the game.
Tomas Nido had caught each of Syndergaard’s previous seven starts, resulting in a 2.74 ERA for one of the Mets’ co-aces. Nido, however, lacks the offensive upside of Ramos, who homered on his 32nd birthday Saturday, tying the score at 2 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
When Syndergaard had been slumping in May and early June, Callaway turned to Nido to change the status quo. In an effort to help fix Syndergaard, the Mets opted for a catcher with whom Syndergaard had established familiarity and success.
But with Syndergaard back to throwing well and the Mets shooting to earn their 15th win in 16 games, Callaway trusted Ramos to keep him trending in the right direction.
“Ramos catching Noah today. Noah said, ‘Let’s do it,’ and he went out there and threw another seven innings of two-run ball,” Callaway said after the game. “He was really battling his arm slot today, Noah, but he grinded through it and Ramos really helped him.”
Syndergaard was shaky at the start and said he was “just having a hard time trying to find my release point on most pitches.” He struck out Trea Turner swinging on his fifth pitch — a 100 mph fastball on the outside half of the plate — but followed by walking Adam Eaton. After Eaton stole second base and Anthony Rendon grounded out to shortstop, Soto took Syndergaard deep to centerfield.
Matt Adams and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with singles before Syndergaard caught Victor Robles looking.
He worked around singles in the second and third innings but retired nine straight until Adams singled again in the top of the sixth inning.
On Syndergaard’s 97th and final pitch, Turner grounded a 97-mph fastball to Amed Rosario at shortstop, who turned a slick double play against the speedy leadoff hitter.
“It was a really good time,” Syndergaard said of pitching to Ramos. “I felt like we had the same game plan. He received the ball well. It was a good time.”
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