Noah Syndergaard admitted he was scared when he saw a line drive coming straight for his chest.
“That’s been my nightmare since I started playing baseball,” he said.
Luckily the Mets escaped a real nightmare when X-rays on Syndergaard’s ribs came back negative after he was nailed by a Cesar Hernandez liner in the seventh inning of their 10-5 win over the Phillies Saturday night. Knowing nothing was broken after the game, Syndergaard was able to joke around about the frightening scene.
“Everyone’s asking if I’m ok, I’m just concerned if the ball’s OK,” he said.
Syndergaard said he expects to be sore in the morning, and all jokes aside, the biggest concern for Mickey Callaway and the Mets was that the big right-hander didn’t look all that comfortable on the mound Saturday night.
He labored through 6.2 innings until he left the game after being hit with the liner, allowing 12 hits, walking five and giving up four runs one start after tossing the first complete game of his career.
“Just overall command was maybe lacking a little bit,” Callaway said. “He’s had better command with his fastball, but he battled pretty hard and put up a good game.”
He came away with a victory largely because the Mets finally decided to score some runs at Citi Field, maybe drawing inspiration from seeing their captain back on the diamond earlier in the day.
Coming into the game, the Mets had scored 220 runs at home compared to 360 on the road, also winning seven more games away from Flushing. But they jumped on Phillies starter Zach Eflin early Saturday night, scoring three runs in the second inning just a few hours after Wright had hit a home run in a simulated game on the same field.
Unheralded catcher Tomas Nido, who was in the lineup because Kevin Plawecki and Devin Mesoraco are both banged up, was responsible for those first three runs, ripping a bases loaded double down the left field line.
Jeff McNeil, who had yet another three-hit game, led off the third inning with a triple and Todd Frazier brought him and Jay Bruce home with a three-run home run, effectively knocking Eflin out of the game. Michael Conforto continued his power surge of late with his 22nd home run of the season, and Jay Bruce had two hits, scored two runs and had an RBI.
McNeil, who has been a revelation since being called up and is hitting .329 with an .872 OPS, is giving Callaway hope for the future.
“He’s added a whole new dimension to the way the lineup looks,” Callaway said. “He’s able to spray the ball around the field. Just adding that whole other dynamic to your lineup makes it that much more challenging for a pitcher to come out and navigate things.”