Syndergaard may pitch in relief instead of starting
However, Mets manager Terry Collins said on Monday that Syndergaard might pitch in relief that day instead of starting.
The Mets have three off days during the first week of the season, meaning there will be a significant gap between game action for three of the starting pitchers if the Mets go with a traditional rotation for the first two games.
Matt Harvey has already been named the Opening Day starter and Jacob deGrom‘s status for the first week is uncertain since his wife is due to give birth to the couple’s first child right around Opening Day.
That likely leaves Syndergaard, Steven Matz, and Bartolo Colon as the options to pitch the second game of the season, with one of them starting, another in relief, and perhaps the other (or deGrom) tabbed to start the Mets’ home opener on April 8 against the Phillies.
Syndergaard has pitched in relief before, tossing a scoreless inning during Game 5 of the NLDS against the Dodgers last October. Colon worked in relief throughout the 2015 playoffs, and Matz has yet to pitch in relief during his time in the majors.
But while Syndergaard has some experience in relief, it would be easiest to have him start the second game.
And selfishly, I think most Mets fans want Syndergaard on the rubber to start the second game, just as he was during Game 3 of the World Series when he warmed up to the theme song from ‘Halloween,’ brushed back Alcides Escobar, and then proceeded to dominate the Royals for most of the game.
Assuming deGrom isn’t available to start the second game of the season, it would make the most sense to start Syndergaard, with Colon — who is used to a relief role — available in the bullpen.
Given that Matz has never pitched in relief before, it wouldn’t make much sense to have him do so during the second game of the regular season in potentially frigid conditions in Kansas City.