Remember when the New York Mets had Noah Syndergaard pitching for them every fifth day? It feels like ages since we saw him daring batters to meet him 60 feet, 6 inches away.
His last start with the team, the season finale on September 29, 2019, occurred in a much different world where pandemics were a thing of science fiction and Syndergaard would always be in orange and blue.
Syndergaard has now missed all of 2020 and will be out through at least June—likely more. As far as goals go, the big righty should have one at the top of his mind: getting ready for the postseason.
Imagine a 2021 Mets season with Noah Syndergaard on the mound in October
I do think Syndergaard will pitch for the Mets before the postseason. In what role and at what ability is still up in the air. We know Syndergaard has the talent to perform at a high level. Coming off of Tommy John Surgery is still a concern and not something to dismiss.
Syndergaard has already suffered a big setback in his recovery. While this is not uncommon, it definitely does suggest we should curb our enthusiasm with what he may offer them this year.
I know the most important thing for Syndergaard to do is to get healthy. That’s definitely the singular goal even above winning a World Series game for the Mets. I’m jumping ahead because you cannot have one without the other.
The Mets could have one of the most dangerous pitching staffs in recent MLB history if they are able to win their way into the postseason. With a four-man rotation needed at most, we could see them do a lot of creative things.
For Syndergaard, the goal shouldn’t be to push himself too hard immediately after coming back. I strongly oppose the idea of him pitching in relief just because of how different it is from starting. However, I wouldn’t dismiss the Mets using him in an opener situation with fewer innings expected of him. This could ease him back into games and ramp him up for when they may need him most: when the leaves turn orange and red.
Syndergaard remains the most recent Mets pitcher to leave the ballpark victorious in a World Series game. It’s the answer to a trivia question I am sure he would like to change, even if he reclaims it later on.
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Will we see Thor pitch again for the Mets in the playoffs? First, get healthy. Whatever it takes, even if it’s a lesser version of the man with the golden locks in the regular season, gearing up for a playoff blitz is what everyone who owns a blue and orange cap should want out of the big man.