JUPITER, Fla. -- Two starts into Grapefruit League play, Noah Syndergaard is trying to erase any fears about last year's injuries lingering into 2018.Though the Mets' ace wasn't perfect, like in his Grapefruit League debut earlier this week, Syndergaard did efficiently record four strikeouts in three innings against the rival
JUPITER, Fla. -- Two starts into Grapefruit League play, Noah Syndergaard is trying to erase any fears about last year's injuries lingering into 2018.
Though the Mets' ace wasn't perfect, like in his Grapefruit League debut earlier this week, Syndergaard did efficiently record four strikeouts in three innings against the rival Marlins in a 1-0 loss Saturday.
"I guess you can say it was more strategic going out there," Syndergaard said. "I just felt really clear-minded and was able to stick to my gameplan."
After making only seven starts last season and pitching just three innings after April 30 following surgery for a torn lat, Syndergaard has already impressed this spring. Syndergaard threw two scoreless innings Monday against the reigning World Series champion Astros, striking out two and walking none.
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Eleven of Syndergaard's 22 pitches during that game were clocked at least 100 mph or more, though he kept most of his pitches in the low-to-mid 90s on Saturday.
Syndergaard's outing began with a walk to Marlins right fielder Braxton Lee to begin the bottom of the first. Lee ended up scoring on a two-out single by Justin Bour -- whose hit ricocheted off Syndergaard's glove in the process -- before the righty struck out center fielder Lewis Brinson to end the threat.
"I felt a little erratic that first inning, trying some different things with my mechanics," Syndergaard said. "Those first innings can be kinda flukey. [I was] way too amped up like a race horse [trying to] get out of the gates."
Syndergaard came back strong in the second and third innings, throwing two perfect frames while striking out three.
Though he's thrown only five innings this spring, Syndergaard is quickly reminding fans -- and opposing hitters -- of the brilliance that has led him to strike out 418 hitters over his first 364 career innings.
"I think the first time through the rotation was more just, 'Establish your fastball,' that's the big thing for us as pitchers," Syndergaard said. "I feel great. My body's never felt more fluid, under control, athletic."
Syndergaard added that he "feels fresh" after 66 pitches in his first two starts.
While adrenaline didn't play a major role in Syndergaard's start on Saturday, the thought of the Mets' pitching staff returning to dominance has fueled him and other teammates this spring.
"There's a lot of excitement, and I think it starts off with the camaraderie and brotherhood that we have as a pitching staff," Syndergaard said. "Dig a little deeper and you have five starting pitchers who are all pushing one another and that's a bit of inner competition [for who] wants to be the best pitcher in the league."
Jake Elman is a contributor to MLB.com.