Noah Syndergaard received a standing ovation as he ran towards the mound on Tuesday night and yet another as he left minutes later.
In between, he threw 10 pitches, striking out the three hitters he faced with two strikeouts. He was back – a day before the second anniversary of his last appearance for the Mets.
Syndergaard, who underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2020 that had kept him away from the major leagues until tonight, opened the scoring in a 2-1 win over Miami in nine innings that went completed a double scan. The Mets won Game 1, 5-2, behind five solid innings from Marcus Stroman.
âWhen I got out of the canoe, hearing the fans, I almost shed a tear,â Syndergaard said. “I’m not an emotional guy, but it touched me.”
Syndergaard, an impending free agent, admitted part of that emotion was knowing he could have pitched at Citi Field for the last time with the Mets.
“[But] I’m pretty sure we’ll come to an agreement and I’ll probably be here next year, âSyndergaard said. “I wouldn’t like anything more than that. New York has a special place in my heart and always will be.”
Despite this, Syndergaard said his confidence did not come from any conversation with the club about a contract.
âJust speculation and more hope than anything else,â he said.
The Mets could extend a qualifying offer to Syndergaard (which will likely be worth around $ 20 million next season) or could try to sign him for less. Asked specifically about the qualifying offer, Syndergaard said he would be “extremely grateful” if offered to him.
âWe’ll cross that bridge when we get there, but it’s definitely something that I hope for,â Syndergaard said.
At 96 mph, Syndergaard featured a four-seam fastball and shift (it has been medically discouraged from throwing your slider and curveball this season). He struck out the first two hitters he faced, Miguel Rojas and Jazz Chisholm Jr., on eight pitches before taking out Bryan De La Cruz on a Grounder at third base. Nine of his 10 throws were strikes.
The Mets initially hoped to have Syndergaard by mid-June, but that plan was scuttled when he contracted elbow tightness during a minor league rehab debut in May. Syndergaard resumed rehab in July, but it briefly derailed in late August, after testing positive for COVID-19. After his quarantine, Syndergaard threw twice in the opening of the Triple-A Syracuse. Syndergaard has indicated that he expects to launch again before the end of the season. The Mets finish the season in Atlanta this weekend.
After seeing their starters get knocked over most of the time over the past week, the Mets could only be grateful for Stroman’s performance in Game 1, which helped the team end a five consecutive losses.
Stroman allowed two earned runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in four innings. It was his 21st start this season (of 33) in which he pitched at least five innings and allowed two runs or less. Stroman is also an impending free agent.
âI’m open to anything,â Stroman said, referring to his future. âAt this point in my career, I can’t wait to be part of a team where I know I’ll be there for more than a year. It is extremely rewarding. It took me a thousand turns to get to this point, so I’m eagerly awaiting free will – however it may turn out, I know it manifests and I’m playing the story as it should. ‘to be. There are no worries on my end and I know there will be a team or a few teams that want me so I’m excited for the next few months.
Stroman was also part of the offensive excitement. After hitting third baseman Eddy Alvarez’s throwing error in the second inning, he stole second and advanced to third on a stray Nick Fortes pitch on the play. It was first base steal in Stroman’s career. The last Mets pitcher to steal a goal was Jacob deGrom in the 2017 season. Stroman said he told his teammates ahead of the game that if he made it to base he was going to fly.
âAnd the situation just arose,â Stroman said. âI said, ‘I have to do this. I can’t talk about everything. I just had a good jump and arrived at the right time.