New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard made his season debut on Tuesday night as part of a doubleheader against the Miami Marlins. The start was his first appearance in a big-league game in almost two years. Syndergaard last pitched on Sept. 29, 2019, in a win against the Atlanta Braves.
In his return to the mound, Syndergaard worked one perfect inning and struck out two of the three batters he faced. The outing was brief by design in order to ease Syndergaard back in after such a lengthy absence. Impressively, nine of Syndergaard's 10 pitches went for strikes. His fastball and sinker sat in the mid-90s. That's not quite vintage Thor velocity, even if it's still solidly above average.
Syndergaard, who celebrated his 29th birthday in August, is scheduled to reach free agency this offseason. Tuesday's appearance, then, served as an audition of sorts, as well as the official completion of his rehab from last spring's Tommy John surgery.
After the game, Syndergaard spoke about how he wanted to remain with the Mets, saying he's "fairly confident" things will work out on an extension and that he'd be "extremely grateful" if the Mets gave him the qualifying offer (a one-year deal worth roughly $19 million).
Prior to the operation, Syndergaard had been one of the most dynamic starters in baseball. In 119 career outings, he had accumulated a 3.31 ERA (119 ERA+) and a 4.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Syndergaard finished fourth in Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2015 and, in his sophomore season, made the All-Star Game while receiving down-ballot consideration for both the Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards.
Former Marlins president David Samson discussed Syndergaard's start and comments on free agency on Wednesday's Nothing Personal with David Samson. Listen below:
The Mets swept the Tuesday doubleheader, but they have already made the wrong kind of history this year, as no team with as many days in first place as them (103) had ever previously finished with a losing record. The Mets were in first place as late as mid-August. It's been all downhill since then, however, leaving them well outside the playoff picture.