Mets: Pitch counts keeping Noah Syndergaard from complete games
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has yet to earn a complete game in his MLB career. We can blame pitch counts as a major culprit.
In his young career, New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has shown plenty of promise. One thing he has yet to accomplish is throwing a complete game. In 71 MLB starts, Thor has a goose egg in the complete games column.
For a pitcher of his caliber, it’s quite amazing for Syndergaard to go this long without going the distance. Since becoming a professional back in 2010 with the Toronto Blue Jays, Syndergaard has pitched only a single complete game. This was a shutout in 2015 as a member of the Las Vegas 51s in a doubleheader. As you may know, minor league doubleheaders are only seven innings each.
So, technically, Syndergaard has never pitched a true complete game in his professional baseball career.
It’s nothing for Syndergaard to feel ashamed of. Plenty of talented pitchers fail to go the distance on a regular. Thanks to pitch counts, lasting for all 27 outs is a thing of the past.
At most, we usually see a pitcher end the year with one complete game. Jacob deGrom has only two complete games in his career. He pulled these out with one in 2016 and another in 2017. Mets fans may not believe it, but as a member of the Kansas City Royals in 2017, Jason Vargas completed a game.
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Since the turn of the century, only James Shields has ended a season with double-digit complete games. While with the Tampa Bay Rays, Shields started and finished 11 starts. It’s a high mark and not one I expect anyone to ever match again.
However, in more recent history, we have seen a more realistic disappearance. Last season, the high in the National League was a pathetic two complete games. Carlos Martinez, Ivan Nova, Clayton Richard, and Cy Young winner Max Scherzer shared this league-leading statistic.
Over in the American League, Corey Kluber and Ervin Santana shared a much more respectable total of five.
Syndergaard isn’t the type of pitcher to go out there every fifth day and earn a complete game. He relies heavily on throwing hard and striking batters out. He’s a power pitcher whose strength is giving his team five or six strong innings. If he enters the seventh or eighth, consider it a rare moment. Fans might want to keep their ticket stubs for those games.
I don’t knock Syndergaard for not having a complete game yet. His time may eventually come. Unfortunately, he may need to sacrifice some Ks to make it happen.
Next: How the Mets missed out on Mike Trout
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Baseball is changing. We can thank pitch counts for this and blame this way of thinking for the lack of Thor in the ninth inning.