Mets rookie hits triple digits 15 times, racks up 9 K's in Game 2 loss
By David Adler
LOS ANGELES -- Noah Syndergaard fired a 101-mph fastball through the 90-degree heat in Chavez Ravine, and the Dodger Stadium crowd let out an audible gasp.
It was the first inning of the Mets' 5-2 loss in Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Saturday, and the 23-year-old rookie right-hander had just struck out elite Dodgers prospect Corey Seager with his first of 15 pitches to hit triple digits on the radar gun.
"Early on, it was just like it was dynamite," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
Syndergaard threw three pitches to Seager in the first inning. Seager swung and missed three times. The first two fastballs registered at 99 mph, the last 101 mph.
Syndergaard's fastball routinely sits in the upper 90s, but he brought something extra in his first career postseason start. Prior to Game 2 of the NLDS, he had only thrown two fastballs 100 mph or faster in 2015, according to PITCHf/x data from Baseball Savant.
In a season marked by the ascendance of young players, the Mets' postseason rotation of young power arms has looked dominant in the NLDS, matching the Dodgers' Cy Young Award duo of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke pitch for pitch.
On Saturday, Syndergaard struck out nine in 6 1/3 innings, outdueling Greinke for much of the night. But he was charged with three runs and the loss after the Dodgers got to the Mets' bullpen once he came out of the game in the seventh. The four-run frame, turning on Chase Utley's takeout slide of Ruben Tejada at second base, was enough to even the series heading into a pivotal Game 3 in New York.
"We'd always like to go back to New York 2-0, but some things don't really happen like that," Syndergaard said. "But I'm liking our odds in New York right now."
In the next two games at Citi Field, the Mets are expected to run out the second half of their wave of young starters: Matt Harvey, who manager Terry Collins called "the ace" of the Mets on Saturday, starts Game 3 on Monday night, and Steven Matz is likely to start Game 4. In the Mets' first home postseason games since 2006, Harvey and Matz will try to continue what Jacob deGrom and Syndergaard started on the road in the series' first two games.
"It was loud here," Syndergaard said of the Game 2 atmosphere at Dodger Stadium, "but it will be a lot [louder] with the Mets faithful out there."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.