Noah Syndergaard gave the Mets what they needed. He just didn’t give them enough. With their bullpen forced to work over 11innings Thursday, and three relievers unavailable, the Mets needed length from their ace.
Unfortunately for the Syndergaard, another finger issue held him to six innings and 87 pitches, well short of what manager Terry Collins hoped. Collins targeted Syndergaard for however long 110 pitches would give the Mets, likely seven and hopefully eight.
SYNDERGAARD: Leaves early with torn fingernail. (AP)
“I was aware of it,” Syndergaard said of the need of preserving the bullpen. “I wanted to go out there and give those guys a break.”
Syndergaard’s Opening Day start was cut short by a blister on his finger. Tonight it was a torn fingernail and he could only helplessly watch as J.T. Realmuto doubled in the game-winner in the ninth off Josh Edgin gave the Marlins a 3-2 victory.
Syndergaard said he had fingernail issues in the minors and doesn’t know why they resurfaced now.
“If I keep my fingernail too short, I get a blister,” Syndergaard said. “If it gets too long, it splits. It is all about finding a happy medium.”
Syndergaard tried humor to deal with his frustration.
“This gives me a chance to go get a mani-pedi,” he said. “I have to maintain this. … I wanted to stay out there and finish the job. I feel I will be able to bounce back.”
The Mets used eight pitchers in Thursday’s 16-inning marathon and Collins said he wouldn’t use Addison Reed, Hansel Robles or Josh Smoker. To pick up the slack they brought up lefty Sean Gilmartin, whose role tonight would have been to pitch had the game gone to extra innings.
Syndergaard gave up two runs on six hits with no walks and four strikeouts, good enough to win most games, but not in those in which the Mets went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and leaving 11 runners on base.
“He pitched fine,” Collins said of Syndergaard. “He held them to two runs. We had opportunities to score.”
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW: For the second straight game a reversed replay challenge factored prominently.
On Thursday, the Mets had a run taken off the board, when the original safe ruling on Yoenis Cespedes was overturned. Cespedes would likely have been safe had he slid.
Had it happened that way, the Mets would have won in regulation and not spent their bullpen, and consequently, tonight things might have played out differently.
Tonight, Miguel Rojas was thrown out at the plate by Michael Conforto to end the seventh. The call was upheld after Collins challenged, although the TV replay showed catcher Rene Rivera missed the tag.
FLU SHELVES CESPEDES: Cespedes, probably the National League’s Player of the Week with five homers, hit two Thursday despite playing with the flu.
“He was, at the end of the game, absolutely beat,” Collins said. “I went to him yesterday before the game started and asked if he needed it, and he said, `I’ll be OK.’ So he played. But by the end of the game, you could tell. If you saw him walk off the field, he was shot.”
Cespedes struck out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.
METS STILL FLEXING: The Mets lead the Major Leagues with 21 homers, including Lucas Duda’s fourth tying him with Jay Bruce for the team lead.
Duda homered to center to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Duda reached base four times with two hits and two walks.
You have to love Duda’s approach at the plate. He’s been patient and drawn walks and going to the opposite field.