Thor signals arrival with mighty home debut
Syndergaard notches first MLB victory with six strong innings of one-run ball
NEW YORK -- The nickname. The build. The stuff. Everything about Noah Syndergaard screams "power," and he wielded a whole first chapter's worth in the Mets' 5-1 win over the Brewers on Sunday that signified his Citi Field debut.
That power came in many forms, one being the upper-90's fastball that Syndergaard commanded to the tune of five strikeouts and just one walk over six innings on his way to his first Major League win. Another manifested in the way Syndergaard's arrival triggered the appearance of a new generation of fantasy fans at Citi Field. The Mets' No. 1 prospect walked out to the "Game of Thrones" theme music, and many of the 32,422 present waved replicas of Thor's hammer in honor of Syndergaard's moniker.
But for Mets manager Terry Collins, Syndergaard asserted himself the most after his power briefly -- and almost tragically -- got away from him.
With no outs and a runner on first base in the sixth, Syndergaard unleashed the wildest of his 95 pitches. The 97-mph fastball struck Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez in the left earflap so hard that the helmet's outline could be seen traced on his face postgame. With Syndergaard in trouble for the first time all day and Gomez still on the ground -- he would leave the game but be fine -- Collins delivered a message to his rookie.
"The biggest out of the day is this next guy," Collins said.
"I'll get him," Syndergaard responded.
Syndergaard struck out the next batter, Khris Davis, before allowing an RBI single to Ryan Braun. But he retired the next two hitters on harmless fly balls to do what he couldn't in his debut at Wrigley Field -- limit sixth-inning damage to end on a positive note.
"He was outstanding," said Collins. "But the real character was shown after he hit Gomez. Is he going to settle down? Is he going to be able to rein himself in? And he did. As upset as he was when I walked out to the mound, he reined himself in and got out of the inning. I was really impressed."
Syndergaard began his postgame media session -- typically a lighthearted affair after a player earns his first Major League win -- by wishing Gomez well and clarifying that there was no intent.
"I just tried to go in there and lost control of it," Syndergaard said.
It was a rare slip in command for Syndergaard, who threw 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes and began the day by striking out three of four Brewers. That marks an improvement from his MLB debut last week, when Syndergaard walked four Cubs against six strikeouts.
Syndergaard has now allowed four runs and struck out 11 in 11 1/3 innings over two starts. He should get at least one more start before Dillon Gee completes a rehab assignment for a groin strain. What happens then is up to the Mets' front office. But so far Syndergaard has pleaded his case loudly.
"I'm going to do everything possible to stay up here," he said. "Nobody wants to be pitching at Triple-A. The ultimate goal is to be pitching in the big leagues."
"I know that those decisions are coming down the line and we're getting there," Collins said. "But certainly an outing like today makes it hard."