Matthew Pouliot

Noah Syndergaard

Noah Syndergaard gives up three runs, takes loss in debut

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For five innings, Noah Syndergaard matched zeroes with Jake Arrieta in his major league debut. The sixth inning was enough to separate the two.

The 22-year-old Syndergaard gave up a single, an RBI double and a two-run homer to Chris Coghlan before being pulled in the sixth and ended up with the loss as the Cubs topped the Mets 6-1.

Arrieta, coming off a couple of uncharacteristically poor showings in losses to the Brewers and Cardinals, pitched two-hit ball over seven innings before giving up a run in the eighth. He struck out 10, and he’s now 4-3 with a 3.00 ERA this season.

Syndergaard ended up striking out six and walking four (one intentionally). He was left in to face Arrieta after Coghlan’s homer and struck him out with his 104th pitch before being lifted.

Although his high-90s fastball was impressive, it wasn’t quite the dominant showing Syndergaard was regularly turning in for Triple-A Las Vegas this season. He was 3-0 with a 1.82 ERA and a 34/8 K/BB ratio in his second go at the PCL.

Syndergaard is likely to make one more start Sunday before the Mets decide how to proceed with their rotation. Dillon Gee is likely to make a quick return from the strained groin that put him on the disabled list, so the Mets could send Syndergaard right back to Triple-A next week.

Alex Rodriguez isn’t the Yankees’ backup third baseman any longer

Alex Rodriguez
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Alex Rodriguez, who has started two games at third base playing behind Chase Headley this season, will likely be limited to DH duties for the foreseeable future, manager Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News.

A-Rod has been bothered by a sore left hamstring, and while that’s not a major issue, the Yankees think they can spare him aches and pains by keeping him out of the field. That also probably means no more starts at first base, where he’s played just once this year and looked pretty awkward in doing so.

With A-Rod out of the mix, Stephen Drew has started taking grounders at third base and likely will play there whenever Headley needs a day off. Drew is still the Yankees’ primary second baseman, but the team is looking to work Jose Pirela more into the mix anyway.

Rodriguez entered Tuesday’s game with a .250/.360/.558 line and eight homers in 104 at-bats this season.

First-inning success fueling Yankees start, while failures bury Indians

Mark Teixeira, Brett Gardner
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In theory, anyway, every manager in baseball designs his lineup to give his team the best chance of scoring in the first inning of the game. And it generally works: there have been 509 runs scored in the first innings of games this year, 23 more than the next highest-scoring inning.

One team’s pitching staff hasn’t been contributing to that total, though. The Pittsburgh Pirates have allowed just three first-inning runs in 31 games. It’s not simply the best mark in baseball, but it blows everyone else out of the water. No other team has allowed fewer than 10 first-inning runs.

First-inning runs allowed
1. Pirates – 3
2. Nationals – 10
2. Royals – 10
4. Giants – 12
4. Marlins – 12
4. Rays – 12

27. Blue Jays – 24
27. Dodgers – 24
27. Red Sox – 24
30. Indians – 27

On the flip side, the Pirates have been a middling offensive team in the first, totaling 14 runs. The Yankees lead the way there.

First-inning runs scored
1. Yankees – 31
2. Braves – 28
2. Tigers – 28
4. Padres – 27

26. Marlins – 11
26. Mets – 11
28. Indians – 10
29. Phillies – 9
30. White Sox – 7

The Yankees have the game’s best run-differential in the first inning this year, which plays a big role in their 20-12 record. They’ve outscored the opposition by 17 runs in the first and just 13 over the remainder of the game.

First-inning run differential
1. Yankees +17
2. Pirates +11
2. Royals +11
4. Tigers +10
5. Padres +9

27. Phillies -11
27. Red Sox -11
29. White Sox -13
30. Indians -17

We can also see just how difficult it is to consistently dig out of an early hole. The Red Sox and Indians were both expected by most to be contenders this year, and the White Sox had their share of backers, as well. All are struggling. The Indians, with the AL’s worst record at 11-19, have a -17 run differential in the first, though they’re practically matching the competition the rest of the way (-2 from the second inning on).