New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard led his team to a 9-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals in Game 3 of the World Series, but admitted after the game to purposely throwing at leadoff batter Alcides Escobar, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
With his first pitch of the game, Syndergaard unleashed a near 100 mph fastball above the head of the Royals shortstop, enraging the Kansas City dugout. The pitch was designed to make the free-swinging Escobar uncomfortable from the get-go and Syndergaard believes he accomplished that goal.
“My intent on that pitch was to make them uncomfortable, and I think I did just that.” — Noah Syndergaard on first pitch.
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) October 31, 2015
With the Mets trailing 2-0 in the World Series, a strong start from their right-hander was imperative. The Mansfield, Texas, native decided to establish himself early, especially with a hitter like Escobar, who swung at the first pitch in all 13 of his lead-off at bats in the playoffs prior to Game 3, per Mike Petriello of MLB.
The tactic may have achieved the desired result as Escobar struck out, but the Royals’ shortstop told Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that he did not care too much for Syndergaard’s wild pitch.
The Royals are pissed about Syndergaard going up and in on Escobar. “That’s bad,” Escobar said. “That’s bad.” — Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) October 31, 2015
Syndergaard did state prior to the game that he had “a few tricks” up his sleeve for the game, per Anthony DiComo of MLB. One of those tricks was that high-and-inside pitch to Escobar, which Syndergaard said was both premeditated and not thrown with the intent of hurting Escobar.
“I certainly wasn’t trying to hit the guy,” Syndergaard told Scott Miller of Bleacher Report. “I didn’t want him to get too comfortable.”
But Escobar was not alone in sharing disdain for Syndergaard’s pitch.
First baseman Eric Hosmer, who went 0-for-4 in the game told Vahe Gregorian of the Kansas City Star that retribution is definitely on the Royals mind.
“Of course we’re going to be upset. But we’ll find a way to get back at him.”
Outfielder Alex Rios, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI in Game 3 also chimed in on the situation.
Alex Rios on Noah Syndergaard’s first pitch: “I thought it was weak. Very weak. I thought it was unprofessional.” — Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) October 31, 2015
Just 23-years-old, Syndergaard was making his first career World Series start. With his blazing fastball and knee-buckling off-speed pitches, “Thor” was looking to keep a Royals team notorious for putting the ball in play off-balance. Despite allowing six hits to the first nine batters, Syndergaard was able to use his pitches to generate more swings and misses than every other starting pitcher in the World Series.
At age 23, Noah Syndergaard is the 2nd-youngest Mets pitcher to win a World Series game (Gary Gentry) pic.twitter.com/COj0WNtN8z
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 31, 2015
In six innings of work, Syndergaard allowed seven hits, three earned runs, and two walks while striking out six batters. After exiting the game, the trio of Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia slammed the door on the Royals.
Now, the two teams are set to resume the series on Saturday night at Citi Field. Steven Matz is set to take the ball for the Mets to oppose veteran Chris Young, who pitched three innings of relief in Game 1.
Syndergaard’s next scheduled start would take place in Game 7, if necessary. So unless the series goes the distance, Syndergaard may not make another appearance. But if the Royals have an issue with him, he told several reporters, including Anthony DiComo of MLB that the Royals can feel-free to do something about it.
“If they have a problem with me throwing inside, then they can meet me at 60 feet, six inches away.”
[Image by Al Bello/Getty Images]