“I’m Going To Throw That Fastball Until They Prove They Can Hit It”; Mets Back Syndergaard With 4 HR

By Paul DiSclafani:

AP / Tom Mihalek
AP / Tom Mihalek

David Wright blasts his first two home runs of the season and Noah Syndergaard strikes out eight in seven innings as the Mets (6-6) even their record with a 5-2 win over the Phillies in Philadelphia. Lucas Duda (1) and Neil Walker (4) also hit home runs to give the Mets 11 in the first four games of this 9-game road trip.

When asked about his team hitting so many home runs recently, Manager Terry Collins said:

“We are a team that is built on power and when we hit home runs, we win games. We’re a team that doesn’t get too many hits, so we better hit some of them over the fence.”

Syndergaard (W, 2-0) was outstanding once again, scattering five hits and giving up just one earned run as his MLB leading ERA (for three starts) “ballooned” from 0.69 to 0.90. Although they touched Syndergaard for a run in the third inning on a two-out single from Odubel Herrera after Freddy Galvis doubled to tie the game 1-1, Maikel Franco grounded into a double play on the next pitch to end the inning.  The Phillies had two runners on base at the same time just once in the game.

Starting the game by hitting 101 on the radar gun three times in the first inning, Syndergaard had the Phillies hitters off balance most of the night, pounding them most of the night with 100 mph fastballs and then having them shaking their heads at the slider and changeup.  “Their bat paths were taking me to the slider tonight,” he said, “So that was part of our game plan.  I prepared very well and watched a lot of tape. I’m going to throw that fastball until they prove they can hit it.  I’m just having a lot of fun out there.”

Wright, who loves hitting in Philadelphia, cracked his first home run of the season (411 feet) in the first inning, taking starter Jerad Eickhoff (L, 1-2) opposite field to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead. Wright came into the game with 20 home runs in Citizen Bank Park and 67 RBI.

Eickhoff and Syndergaard were matching zeroes until Yoenis Cespedes tripled down the right field line with two outs in the sixth and scored on Duda’s opposite field double to regain the lead for the Mets, 2-1. The Mets then got to the Phillies bullpen after Eickhoff finished his seven innings with nine strikeouts (5H, 2ER, 3W).

David Hernandez started the eighth and got the first two outs, catching Michael Conforto looking and Cespedes swinging. But he made a mistake after falling behind Duda 2-1 and Lucas deposited it deep to right into the second deck (422 ft) for his first home run of the game, increasing the Mets lead to 3-1.  Walker then went back-to-back with Duda for his fourth home run of the year and suddenly, it was 4-1 Mets.

Wright put the cherry on top in the ninth with another opposite field HR, his first 2-HR game since 2013 and the 21st multiple HR game of his career.  His 22 home runs at this ballpark are the most by any visiting player with Carlos Beltran (14) a distant second.  He has hit six opposite field home runs since 2012 and four of them have come in this park.

Logan Verrett (0-0, 1.69) gets his second start of the season after he tossed six scoreless innings last week against the Marlins. Vince Velasquez (2-0, 0.00) gets the start for the Phillies and he has 25 strikeouts in his 15 scoreless innings to start the season.

Jaxon deGrom Update:  After spending the first week of his young life in the hospital with complications, Terry Collins told reporters that Jacob and Stacey deGrom brought baby Jaxon home from the hospital earlier in the day.  Collins also indicated that deGrom is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game on Tuesday and could return to the team this weekend in Atlanta, but it is more likely he will not return until after the Mets return home.  “He’s going to throw his simulated game and we’re going to take a look at where he’s at,” Collins said.

POSITIVES:  Back-to-back home runs by Duda and Walker were the first for the Mets this season … Mets hit just two home runs in the first eight games of the season … Wright made another great barehanded play for an out from behind the mound … Syndergaard fell one strikeout short of the Met franchise record with 29 in his first three starts of a season.  Pedro Martinez had 30 … Mets had 10 hits and Asdrubal Cabrera had three of them.  He’s hitting .349 … Wright hit that memorable HR last year in Philadelphia in his first AB after returning from missing most of the season with spinal stenosis.

NEGATIVES:  Mets offense has exploded since Conforto has moved into the #3 slot, although tonight he was 0-3 with 3K … Mets were 1-6 w/RISP and struck out 12 times … Granderson took the collar again, 0-4 and 2K …

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