Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bullpen Bloopers a Recurring Theme

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bullpen Bloopers a Recurring Theme

Article excerpt

BALTIMORE -- The minor tweak Noah Syndergaard made Wednesday to his warm-up routine for a road start could not prevent another mediocre outing, one that lasted just three batters into the sixth inning.

That short appearance left the Mets needing extended innings from a bullpen that has been fallible of late, and proved to be once again in a loss to the Orioles.

Carlos Torres allowed a walk-off homer to Henry Urrutia and the Mets fell, 5-4, to Baltimore on Wednesday night at Camden Yards. The bullpen has allowed 15 runs (13 earned) in the last five games, and Syndergaard is winless in nine road starts after allowing three runs and not recording an out in the sixth. The team's lead in the NL East shrank to 3 1/2 games.

"The pitch was where I wanted it," Torres said. "Just the wrong pitch."

While Syndergaard has put together a campaign that will have him in the conversation for rookie of the year, he's shone at Citi Field and struggled away from it. Wednesday's no-decision left him 0-5 with a 5.05 ERA in road starts compared with 7-1 and a 1.82 ERA at Citi Field.

In an attempt to help the youngster find success on the road, the coaching staff changed Syndergaard's warm-up routine to have it more closely resemble that of his home starts.

Syndergaard started warming later than normal, which allowed him to reduce the time before his first pitch.

"I think it [helped]," Syndergaard said. "Not a lot of sitting around."

The new routine did not appear to work early as the Orioles mounted an immediate threat by loading the bases with no outs. Syndergaard escaped the jam to preserve a 1-0 lead provided by Daniel Murphy's solo home run.

Syndergaard battled slugger Chris Davis in a nine-pitch at-bat and won the battle when he struck him out on an 81-mph curveball. The right-hander followed that by inducing an inning-ending double- play grounder from Jonathan Schoop.

The strikeout of Davis was the first of eight consecutive outs Syndergaard recorded, and he ultimately surrendered an RBI single to Steve Clevanger in the fourth. …

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