As scintillating as Noah Syndergaard was, the most important thing for the Mets Friday night was Lucas Duda‘s continued breakout signs. Duda, on the disabled list from Aug. 22 to Sept. 7 with soreness in his lower back, is on a three-game tear, highlighted by a pair of three-run homers Friday.
The concern about Syndergaard was to get through the sixth, an inning in which he had an ERA over eight, but he was positively brilliant in giving up two runs with 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings. However, Duda carried the Mets with his bat.
Syndergaard is damn good, but he will pitch in the playoffs. But, believe it or not, there had been talk about Duda not being on the playoff roster. Hard to believe, but true.
In his last three games, Duda is 5-for-9 with three doubles, two homers, seven RBI, three walks and no strikeouts. In fact, Duda hasn’t struck out since Sept. 20.
Prior to those last three games, Duda had driven in just two runs in his previous 14 games.
Duda’s offensive revival will be essential in the playoffs as he and Curtis Granderson represent the bulk of the Mets’ left-handed power.
With their 12-5 rout of the Reds, coupled with Philadelphia’s torching of the Nationals, the Mets’ magic number for winning the NL East for the first time since 2006 was reduced to one. Once the Mets’ clinch, manager Terry Collins will undoubtedly rest some of the regulars, but after the game Duda said there’s more work for him to do.
“It’s very exciting to be a part of this,” Duda said. “But, [after clinching] it’s important to use this time.”
As for Syndergaard, he not only pitched well and through the sixth inning, but also won on the road.
If the Dodgers get home field in the NLDS, Syndergaard could get Game 3 at Citi Field. However, if the NLDS opens in New York he could get Game 2.
Meanwhile, Collins is remaining mum on all things playoffs, as well as Matt Harvey‘s innings for Saturday. Reports have it anywhere from three to five innings.