“It’s like every little kid’s dream come true to pitch in the high-stakes game,” Syndergaard said. “So I’ll embrace it. I look forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”


In his first full big league season, Syndergaard has constructed a resume that looks an awful lot like what the Mets hoped it would. Despite pitching through a bone spur in his elbow that causes intermittent inflammation, he finished 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA, and tied for fourth in the NL with 218 strikeouts.

Perhaps most encouraging, after a midsummer string of pedestrian starts, he completed the season with a 2.06 ERA over his final seven outings. Thanks to the Mets’ early clinch on Saturday, he will start the Wild Card Game on extra rest, throwing an extended bullpen session on Sunday to prepare.

“The obvious is what he brings, and that’s a great competitor,” Collins said. “I thought Noah pitched as big a game as we’ve ever had since I’ve been here, Game 3 last year in the World Series. So I think he can handle it. And I think he’s the right guy. … As you saw, he’s not afraid. He’s not intimidated, so he’s the right guy.”

That’s not to say Syndergaard has no flaws. Although he can regularly run his fastball up to 101 mph, his max-effort style often results in gaudy pitch counts and early exits. His inability to contain the running game is also a significant issue; he allowed 48 stolen bases this season, 13th most in big league history.

But Syndergaard knows how to intimidate — remember the first-pitch fastball that knocked down Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar in Game 3 of the World Series? — and possesses perhaps the best pure stuff of any starter in baseball. Aside from that triple-digit fastball, he can throw his slider in the mid-90s, also mixing in a sinker, changeup and curve. And his most recent start against the Giants was one of the best of his career — eight innings, two hits, no runs and six strikeouts.

Syndergaard's sparkling start

Syndergaard’s sparkling start

NYM@SF: Syndergaard blanks Giants in superb outing

Noah Syndergaard shuts out the Giants on two hits while collecting six strikeouts over eight impressive innings to earn his 11th win of 2016

Anything approaching that effort on Wednesday will give the Mets a strong chance to win, regardless of what Madison Bumgarner does for the Giants.

“I think we’re all looking forward to it, giving the Mets faithful something they deserve and something they’ve been waiting for,” Syndergaard said. “I think we’re all going to enjoy it.”

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Source: Mets News / Thor obvious choice to start Wild Card Game