Rockies fall at the feet of Syndergaard, drop rubber match to Mets

Jun 9, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) pitches against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It was a rough day in the Big Apple for the Colorado Rockies.

The offense failed to find a groove against Noah Syndergaard, the pitching once again stumbled and the New York Mets secured a series win in the 6-1 loss.

In all, the Rockies record fell to 33-31 with the loss, with their place in the National League standings taking another hit.

Ahead are takeaways from the blunder.

The best and worst of Jeff Hoffman on full display

Jeff Hoffman, a former top prospect, showed exactly why he was so well regarded in the past, as well as why that potential is considered “in the past” in many eyes.

The first inning, plagued by control issues, was the latter. Hoffman allowed both of the opening two hitters to garner hits, striking out Pete Alonso soon after. Then, the greatest damage was dealt:

After the home run, the premier arsenal of Hoffman came to the forefront once again. He struck out the next four, eventually retiring nine consecutive hitters. The curveball was bitting late, the fastball had control and he appeared to find his groove.

Though he limited the damage to one run in the fourth stanza, the youngster once again fell apart in the fifth. In his final frame, Hoffman walked the leadoff hitter and proceeded to allow both a run-scoring double and triple late in the inning, forcing the hand of Manager Bud Black.

In 4.2 innings, Hoffman struck out seven, but allowed seven hits, six earned runs and walked two. He only had 74 pitches upon his exit, signaling his woes stopped what could’ve been a deep outing.

His season earned run average rose to 8.06.

Thor breaks out the hammer

Noah Syndergaard, backed by his high-velocity repertoire, made Hoffman’s nine-hitter streak look elementary.

The first two innings he tallied a pair of punchouts. In the subsequent inning, he notched two more. Keying his efforts was the fastball that originally earned him the nickname of a Norse god. Of the 53 fastballs he threw, he induced a career-best 11 swings and misses.

In his entire seven innings, Syndergaard didn’t allow a single Rockies’ hitter to reach further than first base. Of the final 19 hitters, he sat down 18. 

To say the dominant performance is surprising would be understating the talent the flamethrower possesses. His 2019 campaign had fallen far short of that potential prior to the start.

In 13 starts, Syndergaard had allowed four-or-more earned runs in six. The analytics signaled a breakout was due.

Unfortunately for the Rockies, they were dealt the brunt of the outburst.

Rockies strikeout woes continue on the road

Putting the ball in play has been a difficult endeavor on the road for the Rockies.

In 34 games, including their latest whiff, the club has struck out 358 times. Comparatively, they’ve punched out 250 times in 30 bouts at home.

The run production has been largely muted by the lack of successful at-bats for the Rockies. In their six-game road trip, they scored 23 runs after scoring 44 in their last six home games.

An adjustment has to be made quickly when leaving the thin air and lesser breaking balls of Coors Field to hit the road. For the Rockies, that tweak and has yet to be made in recent years.

Starting pitching could be downfall for Rockies’ playoff hopes

Peter Lambert’s debut was one of the best in franchise history. Outside of his performance and another positive start from Antonio Senzatela, the Rockies’ starters continued their crumble in recent days.

German Marquez, Jon Gray and Jeff Hoffman combined to give up 18 earned runs in 15.2 innings in the rotation’s last go-around. The efforts were most alarming for the first two on the list.

Prior to their last turns, Marquez and Gray had shouldering much of the load for Black’s rotation. Outside of occasional blemishes, the pair had shown the consistency needed for the one-two punch of the rotation, with Kyle Freeland’s exit placing further weight on their shoulders.

Imagining a scenario in which the club grabs a playoff spot in the loaded National League with their starters resembling a roller coaster is hard. The impending surges of both the Milwaukee Brewers and Atlanta Braves – who just added Dallas Keuchel – will only deepen the hole.

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