Noah Syndergaard returns to the World Series stage as a Phillies star
PHILADELPHIA – The last time Noah Syndergaard started a World Series game, the right-footer fired a 97 mph fastball over the head of Kansas City shortstop Alcides Escobar with the first pitch of the game.
“I feel like he really made a statement to start the game, that the guys can’t dig and get too aggressive because I’m going to go in there,” Syndergaard said after Game 3 of those 2015 World Series. “If they have a problem with my throw in. , they can meet me 60 feet, 6 inches away. ”
It angered the Royals, who scored three runs against Syndergaard in the first three innings, but the right-hander rebounded and pitched well in the Mets’ only game in that series.
Seven years later, Syndergaard is finally back, this time with the Phillies.
Game 3 will start against the Astros on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, with the series tied, 1-1.
Injuries, including surgery on Tommy John, derailed his career with the Mets and he signed with the Angels earlier this season before the struggling Halos sent him to the Phillies when the trade expired.
The 30-year-old didn’t pitch much in the postseason and probably won’t be asked to go much longer than three innings, but his former manager will watch him.
“I’m glad he’s back,” Terry Collins said on the phone Sunday. “I just hope he calms down a little. It was great for us in ’15 and there was no stopping it. He is not the same guy. Doesn’t roll 100 [mph] more. If he did, be careful. ”
Not only did Syndergaard board Escobar in the World Series, but he also hit Chase Utley with a pitch in 2016 after Utley infuriated the Mets with what they believed was a dirty slide that knocked out shortstop Ruben Tejada in Game 2 in 2015 NLDS.
But Collins believes Syndergaard can still deliver for the Phillies.
“You understand, I think, he must be a different guy,” Collins said. “We all remember him as he threw the ball back [Escobar’s] head and hitting Utley in the back in ’16. That’s him.”
However, that wasn’t all Syndergaard dealt with the Mets, which is why Collins believes he is able to survive at reduced speed.
His fastball, which averaged 99.6 mph in 2017, was 94.5 mph this season, but Syndergaard was solid with both the Angels and the Phillies and gave up a single run in 5¹ / ₃ innings in three playoff appearances.
“I mean, seven years just seems like a long time ago,” Syndergaard said in a Zoom call on Sunday. “At the time I was just a very naive beginner. Since then, I’ve had a lot of baseball behind me to gain experience. I have been in this scenario before. I think the Phillies have already been in this scenario. We are even 1-1, taking him back to the Bank where I think we are quite dangerous “.
It’s that experience that helped lead Phillies manager Rob Thomson to decide to go to Syndergaard as he tries to put together a rotation.
“I don’t care much for Noah, his nerves and being involved in the moment,” Thomson said. “He’s a pretty firm guy, and he’s been through it before, so I feel pretty confident about that.”
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