PITTSBURGH — Noah Syndergaard still has time to prove himself. While they were not making it official Friday night after their young righthander took the 4-1 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park, the Mets have strongly indicated that he is not going to be sent back to the minors any time soon.
The Mets (24-19) lost for the third time in their last five games as Syndergaard (1-2) gave up a career-high four runs on a career-high seven hits. Even though righthander Dillon Gee, whose injury brought Syndergaard to the majors, is expected to rejoin the team Saturday, Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation is not in jeopardy at this time.
The Mets are leaning toward trying a six-man rotation for a while to help manage the workload of their starting five. They have also discussed piggy-backing Gee with the other starters, a way to manage the starter’s workload in the games and also of the bullpen, a source told the News.
“We have a lot of maneuvering that needs to be done,” Terry Collins said. “After I talk to Dillon, we’ll come up with a plan that hopefully works for us all.”
While the Mets manager would not confirm that Syndergaard will stay with the big-league club for at least a while longer, he did say Friday night that Syndergaard should not be pitching with his future on his mind. Collins insisted that they had not yet made a final decision on what will happen.
“We are going to address that after I sit down and talk with Dillon,” Collins said. “We don’t really know right now how long that could go. The one thing is… we’ve got a lot of managing to do of the workloads.”
The Mets are not just concerned about the workload of Matt Harvey, who missed the entire 2014 season after Tommy John surgery, but also of Bartolo Colon, who will turn 42 on Sunday. They are also managing Jacob deGrom, whom Collins reiterated was close to missing his Thursday start because of shoulder soreness, and Jon Niese, who has missed time the last two seasons with shoulder issues, carefully.
The Mets are weighing their options, because they recognize that while they want to rest them, their starters — Harvey in particular — are uncomfortable when they are taken out of their regular five-day routine. They are trying to walk a fine line.
“It is more about workload than anything else and how to manage these guys, keep them strong, and yet not doing too much, not giving them too much rest or skipping them,” Collins said. “We’re trying to do the best we can to try and keep from shutting guys down.”
That goes for Syndergaard, as well.
Juan Lagares celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch in the third inning.
The 22-year-old threw 133 innings in Triple-A last season, which means he will likely be limited to around 163 innings this season. After going six innings Friday night, Syndergaard has pitched 37 innings this season. The Mets will be very careful with their prized prospect.
But Syndergaard showed Friday night he still has plenty to learn. He got hit when he veered off the gameplan and struggled to keep runners on base and committed his first error trying to do so. Syndergaard gave up four runs, three earned on seven hits. He struck out five and did not issue a walk.
He gave up a ground-rule double to Pedro Alvares with two outs in the second. The Pirates’ slugger scored on Gregory Polanco’s single. The Pirates right fielder stole second and took third on Kevin Plawecki’s passed ball. He scored on Chris Stewart’s RBI-double before Daniel Murphy made a good grab on Gerrit Cole’s ground ball deep to his left to get the final out at first.
Andrew McCutchen led off the sixth with a double off the right-field wall and scored on Jung Ho Kang’s single.
Kang scored on a series of mistakes. He took second on Syndergaard’s throwing error to try and pick him off at first. He stole third and scored on Alvarez’s sacrifice fly to left field.
He was out-pitched by Cole, who allowed an unearned run on six hits. He struck out 10 and walked one in 8.1 innings.
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