Mets: Runners won’t stop stealing on Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz
By Tim Boyle
Opponents are running wild on New York Mets starters Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz.
When Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz take the mound in 2018, the New York Mets infielders better prepare for a stolen base. The pair has combined to allow 50 stolen bases this year.
How bad is this total? This is more than a few MLB teams have surrendered.
For several seasons, the Mets have been one of the worst teams at preventing stolen bases. The weaker catcher arms are partly at fault. However, with Syndergaard and Matz having such high numbers against them when they’re on the hill, they need to receive the bulk of the blame.
Thor and Matz will surely run away with the most combined by a pair of teammates as they are tied for the league lead with 25 each. Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox is the only other pitcher in baseball who has reached the 20 stolen bases against mark this season. They’ve had their own issues with preventing stolen bases with several of their starters on the leaderboard.
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It’s odd in some ways to see these two names at the top. Syndergaard throws hard so we might assume runners would have a tougher time getting to second or third base with enough time. Matz, who throws left-handed, should also have an advantage over righties. Even with these attributes, base thieves are taking advantage.
In 2016, Syndergaard led the league with an astonishing 48 stolen bases against. Matz allowed 20 that same year.
Syndergaard won’t set a new career-high this year, but will likely challenge for the lead alongside his southpaw teammate. The Philadelphia Phillies ran all over Thor on Friday night. Surely, more teams will do the same for the remainder of 2018.
Last year, former Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey led the league with 26 stolen bases against. He tied Julio Teheran with this rather low total, which I expect gets passed the next time Matz takes the mound. His last two starts were so poor I doubt his focus will be on the base runners.
There’s no easy solution. Reincarnating a young Ivan Rodriguez is one way to limit the stolen bases. Until that technology exists, we’ll need to accept these shortcomings.
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Or maybe, the Mets try something like working on their weaknesses. Wouldn’t fixing the issues work out better for everyone?