Noah Syndergaard strikes out seven batters in a row, says he's not 'in midseason form'

For Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets, 2017 was a lost season. The club went 70-92 and missed the postseason, and Syndergaard was limited to 30 1/3 innings by a lat injury.

Both Syndergaard and the Mets will look to get back on track this year, and so far this spring, things are going well for the right-hander known as Thor. Syndergaard was marvelous again Thursday, throwing 3 1/3 shutout innings in his third Grapefruit League start. At one point he struck out seven consecutive batters.

"I honestly don't think he had his best stuff today," said catcher Kevin Plawecki to MLB.com's Anthony DiComo after the game, "but he made the most of what he had."  

Syndergaard, 25, has allowed one run on three hits and three walks in 8 1/3 innings this spring. He's struck out 11. Spring training stats don't mean anything. In Syndergaard's case, the more important number is 11. That's the number of times his fastball hit 100 mph Thursday.

Following the game, Syndergaard seemed happy with his outing, but added he's not yet in what he considers midseason form. From DiComo:

What Syndergaard had was a fastball that rested at 96-98 mph, a low-90s wipeout slider and a mid-80s curve and changeup. As the game wore on, Syndergaard leaned in particular on the latter three pitches, using them to escape a two-on, no-outs jam in the second. 

"I wouldn't say I'm in midseason form yet," Syndergaard said. "But it's nice to go out there and have some command issues, and be able to bounce back and finish up strong." 

When healthy, Syndergaard is the hardest throwing starter and one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. During his breakout 2016 season, he posted a 2.60 ERA (155 ERA+) with 218 strikeouts and only 43 walks in 183 1/3 innings. That earned him an All-Star Game nod and an eighth place finish in the NL Cy Young voting.

Right now, with Opening Day exactly three weeks away, the most important thing is that Syndergaard is healthy and having a normal spring training. The results don't matter. As long as he's healthy rather than trying to get back to normal following last year's injury, and doing what he has to do to get ready for the season, then Syndergaard and the Mets are in good shape.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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