Noah Syndergaard’s historic start

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This past Thursday, Noah Syndergaard displayed one of baseball’s rarest feats.

Each Monday morning I release a summary of the past week, as well as the upcoming week’s matchups and games to watch as part of my Marty’s Musings series. This past Monday was no exception, and I identified CC Sabathia’s Tuesday start and Noah Syndergaard’s Thursday matinee among the games to watch this week. Well, the CC performance yielded history, as he became the 17th pitcher to notch 3,000 strikeouts in his career, and Syndergaard followed it up with a Thursday performance that is more rare than a perfect game.

Syndergaard’s complete game shutout against the Reds is excellent enough in itself. Thor entered the game with a 6.35 ERA, a forgettable start to a season in which opposing batters hit nearly .300 against him. Thursday presented an opportunity to turn his season around, and get back into his groove.

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Over the course of a full nine innings, Syndergaard allowed only four hits and one walk, struck out ten batters, and most impressively, hit a solo home run in the third inning. Driving in more runs than allowing is a rare feat, but the 1-0, complete game shutout, with what ended up being the game-winning run is the rarest of feats.

This scenario has only happened ten times in baseball history, and only four times since 1960. Since the last CGSO / solo shot game, MLB pitchers have thrown 90 no hitters and 13 perfect games!

The last time a team won 1-0 and had their complete-game-shutout-pitcher hit the solo home run was 1983, coincidentally also at the Reds expense. Dodgers starter Bob Welch hit a solo shot in the sixth inning, and threw a complete game shutout. It was not the utter dominance that Syndergaard showed, as Welch walked five batters and struck out only four in the game.

What happened at Citi Field Thursday afternoon was historically special. Unfortunately, since we don’t have a name for it, few texted their friends to tune in to watch. Regardless of who saw it, it will be remembered as one of the best games of Noah Syndergaard’s career. Considering it was an early-May game, and Syndergaard is trying to turn his season around, (he still has an ERA over five), it sure wasn’t a bad day at the office.

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Steven Martano is an Editor at Beyond the Box Score, and a contributing writer for The Hardball Times. You can follow him on Twitter at @SMartano.

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