At some point in the past week or so, everyone in the Mets' hierarchy had to question the truth of baseball's flintiest adage: "You can never have enough pitching." The Mets seemingly had more than enough, with six starters for five slots. They mulled and debated until they ultimately said the heck with it, we will just have a six-man rotation.
There was one big reason why they made that choice. Literally a big reason. He is 6-6, 240 pounds and he threw all kinds of heat that the Phillies couldn't handle Wednesday in a 7-0 rout. Ever since he was called up from the minors, and especially Wednesday, when he also hit a blast over the centerfield fence, Noah Syndergaard has given the Mets no choice but to keep him around.
"I heard a lot of advice from people saying it's the same game," Syndergaard said, comparing The Show to Triple A. "You don't really believe it until you come here and experience it, but ultimately it is the same game, just a little different atmosphere."
Maybe four starts ago, he was auditioning. Since then, he has proven he is too good for Las Vegas. He is here to stay, unless he proves otherwise. To keep him, the Mets had to get creative. So a six-pitcher rotation it will be, starting this weekend and lasting until either it fails or someone breaks down.
It is a risk, taking pitchers out of their comfort zones. But it is not the goofiest plan the Mets have ever had, like the time they had an overabundance of shortstops and they moved Jose Reyes, a budding star, to second base to accommodate Kaz Matsui. There are sound reasons for this decision, beginning with the belief that Dillon Gee would not be worth as much as a reliever as he is as a starter.
Also, there is the reasoning that the Mets are pitching as the principal rationale: that they need to limit the innings of the young pitchers so they will stay healthy for the stretch.
Still, the "six man" would not even be a second thought if Syndergaard were a flop. He certainly is no flop. He was all kinds of dominant Wednesday.
"The more you're out there the more you know you belong here. When that takes place, you're more confident in your stuff, you're not afraid to throw certain pitches in certain counts. You're not afraid to miss. That's the way he pitched today," said Terry Collins, who allowed Syndergaard to face one batter in the eighth so he could walk off the mound to a nice ovation.
For the Mets, it is beyond encouraging to know that the 22-year-old pitcher is young enough to have his father's birthday on his mind yet has a veteran's poise. He had the guts to rely on a two-seam fastball that he had basically developed in the past week with pitching coach Dan Warthen. The former "A" student is a quick study, even though his high school exams weren't all that long ago.
"I think his poise has been like that since Day One," said Michael Cuddyer, a fellow home run hitter Wednesday. "He had a couple innings in Chicago in that first start where he could have easily crumbled but he was able to keep his poise and pitch through some tough innings."
Collins has seen this on the horizon for a few years, with a stellar staff in the brew. "Obviously the Nationals have all these big-name guys, but stuff for stuff, pitch for pitch, our guys match up with them," the manager said. "These young kids who are coming are dynamic and they're going to make a huge impression in this league."
For Mets fans, the best part about promoting Syndergaard and keeping him here is that it is the clearest sign yet that the club is not content with looking down the road. The horizon is here now. It is time to stop waiting and start winning.
You definitely can never have too much of that.