SARASOTA, Fla. — Noah Syndergaard did all the Thor stuff the Mets needed to see in a 5-4 victory over the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on Sunday (except throw enough pitches).
Syndergaard broke bats and got a ton of swings-and-misses during his seven-inning performance, an 85-pitch outing. He allowed one run and eight hits, three of the infield variety.
“I could tell in the bullpen, he was spotting everything,” catcher Travis d’Arnaud said. “He was really nasty. He was able to put his slider on both sides of the plate.”
Syndergaard struck out five but didn’t issue a walk. His velocity stayed at 96-98 mph from start to finish, a positive sign heading toward his Opening Day assignment March 29.
“The slider felt nice coming out of my hand,” said Syndergaard, who has a 1.35 ERA in five starts, with 23 strikeouts and six walks in 20 innings. As for all the contact, much of it weak and off splintered bats, he said, “It saves me some bullets and allowed me to go deep into the game.”
While it’s unusual to go seven innings in spring training, Mickey Callaway said Syndergaard still was 10 pitches short of their goal. The efficiency might have been the best part of the outing. “I see him pitching now,” Callaway said. “He’s not trying to blow anybody away.”
D’Arnaud went 2-for-4 with a homer and a two-run double, but the highlight might have been his nifty slide-spin-throw on a tapper in front of the plate that Syndergaard described as “sexy.” With the solid play of d’Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki, Callaway said playing time during the regular season is going to depend more on offensive matchups against opposing pitchers than who’s on the mound for the Mets . . . Callaway said Juan Lagares looks as if he’s thinking too much about mechanics at the plate . . . In Port St. Lucie, Michael Conforto, who played the outfield (center) for the first time, went 0-for-4 with a walk in three innings of a minor-league game.