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Give Noah a fair shake. September 12, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Noah Syndergaard is set to start tonight’s game in Atlanta. Syndergaard has had a tough year on the road: he’s 7-1 with a 2.15 ERA in 10 starts at Citi Field but 1-5 with a 4.91 ERA in 10 road starts. However, the offense hasn’t been good on the road, and there’s an argument that the defense hasn’t been supportive on the road.

In Noah’s road starts, the team (not Noah, necessarily) has beaten the Dodgers and Phillies, and lost to the Cubs, Pirates, Padres, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Rays, and Orioles. In his home starts, the Mets have won against the Brewers, Phillies, Blue Jays, Reds, Diamondbacks, Padres, Nationals, Rockies, and Red Sox; his only home loss is to the Giants. The road teams Noah has beaten have a combined record of 134-148; the teams he’s lost to on the road combine to 585-539. Meanwhile, his loss to the Giants at home was Chris Heston‘s no-hitter, and his wins came against the bottom-dwelling Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, and Phillies, and the fourth-place Padres, Brewers, and Braves, the balance coming against the Nationals (who he lost to on the road) and 3rd-place Diamondbacks (still below .500). It’s true that Noah isn’t as good at home as we’d like to pretend.

He isn’t as bad on the road as we think, either, though. Three of those road losses are to the ridiculous NL Central, including the Cubs, Pirates, and Cardinals. (The Cubs are in third place and still have more wins than the NL East-leading Mets.) He’s overall faced a tough schedule on the road and not received much help – 29 runs of support (that’s 1.2 below the league average) on the road, compared with 48 at home (over 2/3 of a run above the league average).

Credit Flickr user slgckgc

Credit Flickr user slgckgc

That corresponds to his 1-2 road record in August, bolstered by Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, and Kelly Johnson and receiving 4.67 runs per game of support . (He’s 3-0 at home in August.)

In addition, Noah’s batting average on balls in play (BAbip) at home is .240. The league average hovers around .290, meaning that more balls in play are hoovered up by the defense at home than would be expected. On the road, not so good – a Farnsworthian .364. Without a doubt, Noah has some issues – he more than doubles his home walk numbers on the road from 9 to 20 – but he’s gotten some very unlucky hits as well.

Finally, a piece of advice: Let Noah face no more than 18 batters. When facing batters for the first time, he holds them to a .288 on-base percentage, and pushes that down to .246 in the second appearance. That balloons to .333 when a batter sees him for the third time. With a strong and rested Mets bullpen, don’t be afraid to hook Syndergaard for long man Sean Gilmartin or lefty specialist Dario Alvarez. Make sure that if you leave him in, you have a strong defense behind him, and for heaven’s sake, help him out by producing some runs for him.

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