The cheers were great, the performance was scintillating, but the New York Mets – and their often-frustrated fan base – shouldn’t get carried away and read too much into Noah Syndergaard’s performance in Thursday’s intrasquad game.
In Syndergaard’s first performance in the Mets’ camp, Syndergaard, throwing what manager Terry Collins calls “the hook from hell,’’ struck out five in two innings. He also gave up a run on four hits, but with no walks.
Not only was Syndergaard’s curveball working in fall-off-the-table fashion, but his 97 mph., fastball was sizzling.
“I felt pretty good out there. I kind of shocked myself a little bit,’’ Syndergaard told reporters Thursday in Port St. Lucie. “I wasn’t expecting that my first time out there.’’
Nor should the Mets expect that from him in Monday’s start against Atlanta; every time out at Triple-A Las Vegas; or when he finally is brought up in June. He’ll need time to develop into all what is expected of him.
“I didn’t think I was going to get the start, first of all,” Syndergaard said of Monday. “I’m excited, a little nervous at the same time. It’s the first time facing a real big-league lineup. I’m going to go out there and do what I can. It’s still a game. They’re still playing baseball out there.’’
Which is true, but baseball is also a game of emotions. Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, despite their youth, have been able to keep their emotions in check. The Mets would like to see the same from Syndergaard.
That will be easier, of course, if he’s throwing that fastball in the upper 90s.
“How can you not like what you saw?’’ Collins said. “For heaven’s sake, I don’t know how hard he threw, but it was firm. Even in a game like this, you better get to the heater, because you don’t want to try to hit that curveball.
“Certainly everything you heard, you saw. You heard, ‘What a great arm.’ You got it. You heard, ‘He’s got a great presence,’ that he pounds the strike zone. He did that.’’
Of course, should Syndergaard cut down the Braves as he did his minor league teammates, there will be rumblings about cracking the rotation.
However, Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson should a turn a deaf ear and continue with the same plan they had last season for Wheeler.
ON DECK: Mets Wrap.