MIAMI — Maybe Noah Syndergaard needs a haircut. Or at least a rubber band to hold his hair back on the hot and humid days ahead. With his sweaty blond locks slapping him in the face Monday, the big right-hander held on for six innings to help the Mets escape Marlins Park with a 4-2 win over the lowly Fish.
Syndergaard left after a blister popped up on his right index and middle fingers. He struggled with efficiency once again. But, Monday night Syndergaard’s hair was the biggest concern for the Mets, who are riding high on the best nine-game start in franchise history. “I’ve always kind of dealt with blisters, my entire career. It didn’t really bother me, just doesn’t look very good, but it’s not painful by any means,” Syndergaard said. “I was more annoyed with my hair, getting in my eyes. I busted a bun later.”
Coming off a sweep of the division-rival Nationals over the weekend, and winners of six straight, a feat the Mets could not accomplish all of last season, the Mets seem to have little to be worried about at this point.
Sure, they could be a little concerned that a starter has yet to get into the seventh inning or that the back end of their bullpen has been heavily used over the first nine games. “I think it’s been adequate,” Mickey Callaway said of the starters’ length. “The beginning of the season is tough. The conditions we played in were tough. Tonight was tough coming into the humidity for the first time. It will normalize and guys will start to get stretched out to 100-110 pitches.
“But it’s been adequate.”
The bullpen has been stellar in this small sample. Syndergaard knows they are picking up some of the work when he isn’t able to get through to the later innings.
“It’s awesome to get out there and have them shut the door,” Syndergaard said. “I think it’s crucial for us moving forward, but I’d like to go a little deeper than the sixth inning of game. I am working on that to be more efficient.”
The Mets could be a little worried about what that lack of efficiency will cost them down the road. Jeurys Familia worked around a single and a double Monday night to pick up his fifth save, a Mets record for the first nine games of a season.
They also could be concerned that, despite having 22 strikeouts in 16 innings over his first three starts, Syndergaard has struggled with his efficiency. Syndergaard knows that he is going to have to go deeper into games.
Syndergaard (2-0, 3.94 ERA) admitted he is not feeling entirely comfortable on the mound. On Monday, the Marlins made him uncomfortable in the fifth. After Amed Rosario’s fielding error allowed the lead off hitter to reach, Syndergaard issued two, two-out walks to load the bases. He gave up an RBI single before he could get out of it. He gave up a single to Starlin Castro to lead off the sixth and the Marlins’ second baseman stole second and scored on Brian Anderson’s double.
“It’s not really up to my standards,” Syndergaard said, “But, I’ve got a long season left. I am planning on coming to the ballpark each day and work on my craft and become a better pitcher.”
But Monday was not the night to worry about any of that.
With the Mets celebrating their sixth straight win by cranking up “Push It,” by the rap duo Salt-N-Peppa (get it? It’s a tie-in with their on-field salt-and-pepper grinder celebrations) in the clubhouse after the game, nobody was all that concerned with a nagging blister issue, heavy workload for the back end of the bullpen or Syndergaard needing a lot of pitches to get through outings.
“He had a little blister popping up. One of the main reasons we got him out of there. He was already getting tired from the humidity,” Callaway said of Syndergaard. “He was sweating and his hair was hitting himself in the face. That is what he was most frustrated with, he said.”
What a change for the Mets to have so little to worry about.
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