Vintage Thor was on display Sunday, as Noah Syndergaard struck out 11 Brewers in the Mets' 3-2 win. It was easily Noah’s best start of the season. Eight of his 11 strikeouts came consecutively, two shy of the MLB record. And while this is what we have come to expect from our ace, the filthy movement he had on Sunday deserves a discussion of its own.
Since he’s debuted, Noah’s triple-digit fastballs have made him an intimidating threat to hitters. But Sunday’s outing showed why he may have the best stuff in the game. What is it that’s starting to really set him apart from other aces? Whether it’s a fastball or something off speed, there is an elite movement to his pitches. They simply move in a way things in motion shouldn’t.
Let’s examine some downright nasty pitches against the Brew Crew:
97 MPH Sinker:
Thor's 97 mph Black Magic Sinker (slow).— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 15, 2018
It's looks like he's throwing a pitch in a tornado. pic.twitter.com/6GzYdMQXPy
What is a hitter supposed to do with that? Tomas Nido knew where this pitch was going and he didn’t even try to catch it. If Noah has an 0-2 count and decides he’s going to throw one of these acts of sorcery, our thoughts and prayers are with the batter.
89 MPH Changeup:
Yucky. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/OAUIDirOGs— MLB (@MLB) April 15, 2018
This is what MLB batters refer to as “unhittable.” As if the offs peed factor wasn’t enough, this bad boy moved with the torsion of a wiffle ball. Poor Travis Shaw...he never stood a chance. Shaw even took to Twitter after the game to beg for mercy, but Thor dropped his hammer.
97 MPH Fastball:
Noah Syndergaard's 97mph fastball movement.... pic.twitter.com/NlDlUrIvMz— Starting 9 (@Starting9) April 15, 2018
This has to be from a video game. How did Eric Thames lay off? The pitch was so nasty that Thames had to leave the game with a hip strain, and he didn’t even swing. The movement on this one was wiffle ball-esque, too. And if a batter sees this when he’s behind in the count, it’s lights out and time for bed.
On Sunday, Noah's pitches were the stuff of legend. With the way they were moving, it’s a shocker that the Brewers were able muster even two hits off of him. It's just a reminder that when Noah is on, he’s arguably the filthiest pitcher in the game. If he continues to throw the ball like this, we can expect to see more double-digit strikeout outings, and maybe even a no-hitter. For now, we’re content with another W and some solid GIFs of batters looking silly.
Photo credit: Paul J. Bereswill