He hasn’t necessarily been bad, but New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard has left something to be desired this season.
Coming back from a torn pectoral muscle that sidelined him for most of 2017, the fireballing right-hander nicknamed Thor hasn’t quite regained his superhero form from 2016 and the early portions of 2017.
There hasn’t been a change in his velocity, but there seems to be less life on it, which has made him seem less hittable through the early portions of this year.
He’s allowed three or more earned runs three times over his first eight starts and hasn’t won a game since Apr. 9. His walks, hits per innings pitched (WHIP) is at 1.200, which is on pace for its highest mark in his career and his four home runs given up in 46.2 innings of work has him poised to allow the most round-trippers since his rookie year in 2015, should he pitch 180 innings.
That being said, Syndergaard has pitched six or more innings in each of his last four starts while ranking fifth in the National League with 10.41 strikeouts per nine innings. And a 2-1 record with a 3.09 ERA is nothing to be concerned over. It’s just that the ace’s 2016 season in which he went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA and the start of 2017 when he had a walks-to-strikeout ratio of 11.33 while not allowing a single home run in seven starts created big expectations this year.
Syndergaard hasn’t seemed too concerned, though.
“I’m getting those mediocre starts out of the way so I can dominate in September, I guess,” he said after his last outing on May 6.
His scheduled start on Saturday night was squashed due to rain. The team’s late notice of inclement weather forced Syndergaard to move his start to Tuesday night instead of Sunday in an attempt to avoid any sort of injury. Syndergaard was warmed up and ready to go on Saturday night and getting him up again for Sunday could have created a strain on the arm or recovered pectoral muscle.
Now he’ll face a Toronto Blue Jays team that traded him to the Mets in 2012 alongside Travis d’Arnaud for pitcher R.A. Dickey, a deal that has worked out incredibly well in the Mets favor.
Syndergaard has faced his former team just once before in his career, allowing just one run on two hits while striking out 11 over six innings in a no-decision during the 2015 season.
The Blue Jays have lost seven of their last 10 games, which is narrowly better than the fledgling Mets, losers of nine of their last 11 outings. After starting the season 11-1, the Mets have plummeted to fourth in the National League East and are now four games behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves.