Entering tonight’s series opener versus the Palm Beach Cardinals, the Port St. Lucie Mets, were fresh off a four game sweep of the Daytona Cubs. Presently in the midst of a nine game home-stand, the Mets were also winners of their last five in a row. This evening, Noah Syndergaard took his turn trying to extend St. Lucie’s streak. He was opposed by the Cards’ Kyle Hald.
Until tonight, Noah Syndergaard’s hits, walks and strikeouts per nine innings pitched were only slightly off from last year’s levels, when he posted 7.0 H/9, 2.7 W/9 and 10.6 K/9 in the Midwestern League. He started tonight operating at 9.0 H/9, 3.5 W/9 and 9.0 K/9 levels. In six previous starts, Noah endured four no-decisions before posting a 1-1 record over his last two appearances. After thirty-one innings, he brought a 2.90 ERA into the game. Syndergaard allowed thirty-one hits and walked twelve for a 1.387 WHiP, and struck out thirty-one before facing Palm Beach.
Shortly after Noah Syndergaard, 20, climbed the hill this evening, he proceeded to dominate Palm Beach over the first six innings. Palm Beach center fielder Nick Longmire led off the game with a double off Syndergaard, who then retired the next fifteen batters in order. The next Cardinals batter to reach base came in the top of the sixth, when third baseman Tyler Rahmatulla drew a lead-off walk. Syndergaard recovered to retire the next three who stepped up, striking out the last batter looking.
St. Lucie hitters jumped all over Palm Beach starter Kyle Hald early and often, and continued their onslaught against relievers Brandon Creath and Jose Almarante. St. Lucie led 10-0 after three innings, and 16-0 after six full. Mets shortstop Matt Reynolds led the barrage with three hits, two doubles and five RBI. Catcher Cam Maron had two hits in four times up, scored twice , and drove in three runs. Second baseman Robbie Shields, center fielder Gilbert Gomez and left fielder Dustin Lawley each added two RBI.
Palm Beach finally scored one run off Syndergaard in the top of the seventh. Although he completed the frame, Noah allowed three hits, and unleashed a wild pitched to lose the shutout. Upon his exit, Syndergaard had pitched seven full innings, allowing Palm Beach one earned run, on four hits. He issued a lone walk and struck out seven batters to earn his second victory of the season. Noah lowered his ERA to a 1.61 mark.
Reliever T.J. Chism assumed pitching duties in the eighth, and closed out with two scoreless frames. In the bottom of the eighth inning, St. Lucie scored their seventeenth and last run of the game. The final score was PSL Mets 17, the Palm Beach Cardinals 1. The Mets pounded out sixteen hits in eight innings – this for a team that entered tonight’s action lacking a single player hitting .300 or better. Seventeen runs in one game is clearly this season’s high. The Mets previously scored thirteen runs in a game three different times.
The Mets improved to 22-11, and have now won six in a row. They remain in second place, 3 1/2 games behind the division leading Fort Myers Miracle, who dumped Jupiter 8-0 tonight. Domingo Tapia is tentatively scheduled to start Game Two against Palm Beach on Friday evening.
* Starting pitcher Matthew Bowman, who turns twenty-two years old later this month, recently received a well deserved promotion from Savannah to Port St. Lucie. In four starts with the Sand Gnats, Matthew posted a 4-0 record with a 2.64 ERA. In 30.2 innings pitched, he struck out twenty-six batters, allowed twenty-eight hits, and walked only two for a 1.043 WHiP. He made his first start for St. Lucie on May 7th versus Dayton, in which he pitched six full innings and allowed three earned runs, on six hits, including a home run. He only walked one and struck out seven batters during a winning effort over the Cubs.
* Pedro Feliciano was seemingly taking positive steps forward with his comeback, making back to back appearances on May 2nd and 3rd, but none since. As his luck would have it, Pedro encountered a nasty instance of food poisoning. ESPN.com’s Adam Rubin described Feliciano’s particular case of fish poisoning earlier today. Pedro has pitched in five games this season. He surrendered his first run during his last outing, allowing two hits and three runs overall, however only one run was earned.