It’s another day in paradise for Mets’ Opening Day starter

It’s another day in paradise for Mets’ Opening Day starter

PORT ST. LUCIE — Injuries stole the spotlight again Tuesday for the Mets.

But don’t overlook the rising star that is Noah Syndergaard and the Mets’ rotation. Syndergaard was officially named the Opening Day starter by manager Mickey Callaway after the Mets’ 6-1 loss to the Astros at First Data Field.

Syndergaard left the ballpark by the time Callaway made the announcement, but two days ago Syndergaard was asked what it would mean to start Opening Day, his second straight.

Syndergaard smiled and threw down the perfect Thor answer.

“Just another day,’’ Syndergaard said. “Another day in paradise.’’

When Syndergaard is on the mound, it is paradise for the Mets no matter what is going on around them.

Hours before Syndergaard’s start against the world champion Astros, Yoenis Cespedes was pulled from the lineup because of a right wrist issue that has been bothering him since last Tuesday.

Word also arrived that David Wright had another setback in what has become a series of setbacks and will not be able to do any baseball activities for at least two months. No matter his physical condition, Syndergaard said Wright’s positivity has been a plus.

Syndergaard’s pitching positivity is the plus the Mets must have, a pitching beast.

“He’s a guy that wants to pitch,’’ Callaway said, adding of the Opening Day start, “he deserves it. He looks great. He did a great job this offseason of getting his body where it needed to be. I think that’s going to be really good for him.’’

Jacob deGrom will start Game 2.

“We think that’s a pretty good 1-2 coming out of the gate,’’ Callaway said.

He’s right. SynderGrom is a terrific 1-2.

“[Syndergaard] is serious when it comes to pitching and baseball,’’ Callaway said. “Seeing him live is something special. He threw a 95-mph slider today. It’s a sight to see.’’

Syndergaard pitched 4 ²/₃ innings, allowing one earned run, and struck out five. The first strikeout was most impressive, three fastballs to World Series MVP George Springer, who led off the game. The third pitch was 99 mph.

On this day Syndergaard’s pitching paint brush went from 85 to 99 mph.

The stuff is there, the intensity is there and pitching inside is there, that just has to be refined.

“I’m real confident on the mound now,’’ Syndergaard said after his outing. “I’m using all my pitches.’’

He was able to set up the Astros a bit.

“We don’t play these guys in the regular season, hopefully we see them in the World Series, so it’s nice to go out there and play with things because you don’t have much to lose,’’ Syndergaard said. “It’s nice to be able to throw everything you want and say, ‘What if?’

“Those guys are young and very talented, they’re going to be in the top 10 faces for a long time so I might have to get used to seeing them.’’

There was a rocket hit back up the middle by Carlos Correa to start the second inning. Syndergaard called it “my daily dose of coffee.’’

But it also showed how good Syndergaard is because Correa, one of the best hitters in the game, simplified his approach.

Syndergaard said he is still trying to guide the ball inside instead of throwing it inside but this is a pitching cultural shift that will take a little time and there will be great rewards down the road when Syndergaard is comfortable getting that fastball inside to right-handers as pitching coach Dave Eiland wants his pitchers to do. Syndergaard refers to Eiland as a “badass.’’

With runners on base, Syndergaard said he has to learn to do less, “I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall,’ but I need to try to do less with runners on base.”

Syndergaard becomes the first Mets pitcher to start two straight Opening Days since Johan Santana started three straight from 2008-10.

The movie critic in Syndergaard also revealed “Good Will Hunting” is one of his favorite movies. Syndergaard begins his hunting for pitching superiority come Opening Day.

Just another day in pitching paradise.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of