Noah Syndergaard is awesome. But, it's pretty clear that teams have figured out that his Kryptonite is stealing bases again him. And, more importantly, getting in his head to the point where he may start tinkering with his delivery in an effort to improve how he keeps runners close to first base, which might be his biggest vulnerability of all...
In his last two starts, the Reds and Giants combined to go 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts against Syndergaard. In total, during his brief career, opposing base runners have 27 steals in 29 attempts.
Terry Collins has said he, Tom Goodwin and Dan Warthen have been working with Syndergaard to be quicker to the plate for when he faces the Padres tonight in San Diego.
"If you keep those guys that steal bases off the bases, you don't have to worry about it," Collins was sure to point out Thursday. "That's one of the things he's always done in the past. We're going to ask him to try to certainly quicken his delivery a little bit. But, if he loses command of his stuff, then we're defeating the purpose."
Exactly. This is the real concern. I'm far less worried about guys advancing as I am that Thor will take away what makes him Thor, which is dominating the guys at the plate...
"That would be a blockhead approach -- not a good approach," Bob Ojeda recently told the NY Post's Mike Puma, when asked about altering Syndergaard's delivery to defend against stolen bases. "Believe me, there are guys who have that mentality. I hope he doesn't, because every base hit, every walk cannot be a double. You're not going to win. You are going to throw some great games and you are going to lose 3-2, 2-1, 4-3. He will be a very good losing pitcher. It's very similar to a golfer: I can drive the ball good, I can hit great irons, but if I can't putt, I'm not worth anything. So you have to make adjustments if you want to be a winner, and I think that's what most guys want to be."
Syndergaard is part of the issue. But, so are his catchers. Travis d'Arnaud, who is the slowest on the roster when throwing to second base, is currently on the disabled list. However, Kevin Plawecki is similarly slow, and the Giants exploited that earlier this week.
I'm hoping Terry decides to use backup Rene Rivera behind the plate. He is a far better 'catch-and-throw guy,' as they say. He has never worked with Syndergaard, but it might also ease Noah's mind to know he has someone behind the plate to help stop this madness from messing with his head any more than it already is. Plus, it's going to be rainy and wet in San Diego, which is a rarity. This, too, may also slow the game down and give Noah even more of an advantage.