Noah Syndergaard has ‘some tricks up his sleeve’ for the Royals on Friday
Since the day Noah Syndergaard was acquired, he has always been able to take everything in stride.
Despite his large presence, his mean fastball and his, “hook from hell” curveball, Syndergaard has always had a relaxed demeanor with unquestionable focus about how he goes about his work.
It has helped define his journey from the depths of the Florida State League with Single-A St. Lucie all the way to the World Series for the Mets in 2015, just 5 1/2 months after finally getting promoted to the big leagues.
So in a way, Syndergaard is the perfect fit to pitch in the most important game of his career, in the biggest game in Citi Field history, and in what is an absolute must-win game as the Mets attempt to battle back from an 0-2 hole in their World Series in Game 3.
And Syndergaard is taking that mentality into this start on Friday night.
“In reality, it’s the same game, a little louder, a little bit different atmosphere,” Syndergaard said on Thursday. “Travis is still sixty feet, six inches away and you still have to execute every single pitch.”
That louder crowd will be on his side on Friday, as Syndergaard will have upwards of 45,000 hungry fans attempting to will him to the club’s first win in the World Series and cutting the deficit against the Royals to 2-1.
In the first two games of the series, both Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom threw a lower percentage of fastballs than they typically do. And ironically enough, in the case of deGrom in Game 2, he allowed runs in the fifth inning on off-speed pitches after being unable to put the Royals away with his fastball.
But the reality is, the Royals only have four hits against 83 fastballs combined from Harvey and deGrom in the first two games of the World Series.
With that in mind, Syndergaard is going to execute what he feels makes him good – his hard fastball – against the Royals strength, which is the ability to hit hard fastballs.
“They’re going against us with their strengths and their strength is how aggressive they are,” the right-hander explained. “I can’t be too focused on that, because I still have to be able to pitch to my strengths. I was able to watch Matt, deGrom and see how they approach their hitters, and I saw how aggressive they were, and devised a game plan for myself.”
Syndergaard believes he has benefitted from observing the Royals in the first two games, as it will help him be more effective against what is a very aggressive Royals offense.
“I feel like being able to watch the past two games as really helped me out and helped me devise a game plan to go out there and approach them,” he said.
Despite needing to pitch to his strengths – which is to base everything off his fastball – it’s still going to be important for Syndergaard to not fall into any patterns. At times he may have to pitch backwards, but at all times he has to trust his stuff and not fear his off-speed pitches, especially early in the counts.
But he’s shown not only he can and will do that, but that he can also throw strikes with his change-up, curveball, and his new toy, the two-seamer, in any count.
” I have a few tricks up my sleeve that I’ll be able to break out tomorrow night. I’m looking forward to it,” Syndergaard explained.
He should be looking forward to it. Its the biggest start of his life under the biggest spotlight, and an opportunity to both shine and succeed to pull the Mets back into the World Series.