It was a battle right up until the end. But Juan Lagares’ pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth was enough to prop up Noah Syndergaard’s eight scoreless innings, and the Mets defeated the Dodgers 1-0 to clinch a series win going into tomorrow’s evening matchup against Clayton Kershaw.
Syndergaard went the eight, striking out twelve, before departing for Lagares. With Jeurys Familia unavailable, Addison Reed nailed down the save.
The tension surrounding Chase Utley continued to mount: in the top of the third, Syndergaard’s first pitch to Utley was behind him. The home plate umpire, a sensible, logically-thinking human being, warned both benches, not wanting to send the game into complete and total disarray by completely uselessly ejecting Syndergaard, and the game continued without trouble.
“Of course he didn’t eject him,” read a statement released by Terry Collins and co-endorsed by millions of people nationwide who know the first thing about baseball. “You give a warning, the grudge is settled, everything settles down. It’s clearly established precedent.”
“It was the right call not to eject him,” said the National Council for Common Sense in Baseball. “The pitch wasn’t anywhere near him; it was sending a message. Once that’s over, it’s clear that the grudge is settled, so there’s no need for anything more than a warning. If you eject him, you create completely unnecessary additional hostility, so it’s a good thing he didn’t do it.”
Even Utley himself agreed wholeheartedly with the decision.
“As someone who believes — wrongly, I should add — that I ‘play the game the right way,’ I don’t have a problem with it,” he said, speaking sense for what is probably the first time in his maggot-infested life. “I should add that I don’t feel human emotions.”
Utley finished the game 0 for 4 with four strikeouts, the dreaded “golden sombrero.”
Terry Collins, who hadn’t had the slightest worry that Syndergaard would be ejected, because he is a sane, thinking human being, agreed with others’ assessments.
“Why would he toss him?” Collins asked rhetorically, knowing that there was no sensible reason. “To toss him would be to completely forget what the umpire’s role is in keeping the game moving smoothly. If he’d tossed him, it would have been a decision based entirely on gut feelings and emotions — exactly the opposite of what an umpire is supposed to do.”
After the pitch behind Utley, the boos from the crowd subsided in subsequent at-bats.
“I think the crowd understood that we’d sent our message,” Syndergaard said. “He broke our guy’s leg, now we throw behind him, messages exchanged, we move on.”
“It’s a good thing I wasn’t tossed for it though,” he added. “If I had been, the fans wouldn’t have been able to get over the whole thing. Everyone would have stayed really angry, maybe for the rest of Utley’s career, the grudge would have continued, and maybe even gotten worse — it would have done more harm than good.”
“Thank god our umpires are sensible, non-reactionary people,” he concluded. “This whole game went just about as smoothly as possible, thanks to them.”