Noah Syndergaard's 12 K's proved that he's less of a pitcher, more of a terrifying hitter's nightmare
I don't envy the batters that have to square off against Noah Syndergaard. While I sit at home, wearing footsie pajamas, Major League hitters have to go up against a man with long-flowing locks and a nickname in "Thor" that feels less like a sobriquet and more like he's the actual Norse god every time he takes the mound.
Coming off a six-inning, nine-strikeout start to begin the year, Syndergaard set his sights on the Marlins batters. His objective: Make them look like high school hitters.
Needless to say, he was successful. Syndergaard pitched seven innings on Tuesday, giving up one run on seven hits, walking one while striking out 12. He has now struck out 42 percent of all batters he's faced this year.
And while that seems about as absurd as Rene Magritte's work, it doesn't adequately describe just how impossible he is to hit right now. Syndergaard averaged 99 mph on his fastball and sinker against the Marlins, topping out at 101 mph.
And he didn't shy away from it. Dee Gordon's at-bat to start the game was a three fastball appetizer of struggle:
Syndergaard then paired the heat with, well, a pitch that would be the heat for dozens of mere mortal pitchers, but for him, was in the form of a 93-mph slider. He even dialed it up to 94 when he retired Jeff Mathis in the fifth.
Only one other pitcher has thrown a slider that hard in 2016 and that's the hard-throwing reliever (meaning he doesn't need to pace himself) Arquimedes Caminero.
Of course, that's not enough for baseball's version of the terrifying painting from "Ghostbusters 2." The right-hander also has a changeup and a curveball, forcing batters to be ready for anything between 82 and 101 mph, with various types of spin available.
Just look at how Syndergaard attacked Giancarlo Stanton in the top of the second inning in their first ever match-up. Despite Stanton having the kind of power to put planets out of orbit with every swing, Syndergaard was not afraid of using everything in his arsenal to beat him.
If you're wondering, that's 81, 79, 89, 98, 97, 82 for the strikeout. Other than a pregame psychic reading, how does a batter possibly prepare for an at-bat like that?
In the end, the lightning-bolt tossing hurler got 26 whiffs on the night, the most by a Mets pitcher in 15 years.
Sadly for Syndergaard and the Mets, it wasn't quite enough to get the victory as Jose Fernandez and the Marlins bullpen were able to stymie the Mets' offense to win, 2-1.