LAKELAND, Fla. - Sometimes the New York hype machine doesn't reach as far as we might think.
Case in point: Noah Syndergaard made his second spring training start for the Mets Saturday against the Tigers. The outing was much-hyped by the media and much-anticipated by Mets fans after the 21-year-old's sizzling debut vs. the Braves on Monday.
But afterward, Tigers veterans Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter said they had never heard of Syndergaard before stepping into the batter's box.
That didn't stop Kinsler and Hunter from raving about Syndergaard's stuff, even though the righthander wasn't as sharp as he was in two dominant innings against Atlanta. He allowed two runs in three innings in the Mets' 3-2 victory over the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium.
"He's not a prospect for no reason," Hunter said. "He's pretty good.''
Said Kinsler: "He looked like he belonged out there.''
Syndergaard allowed two hits, walked three and struck out three. His fastball ranged from 94 to 98 mph. He could have pitched three scoreless frames if second baseman Eric Young Jr. had made a better play on Steve Lombardozzi's two-run single in the second inning.
Young, usually an outfielder, dived to his left and had the ball glance off his glove on what could have been the third out of the inning.
Syndergaard was pleased with the outing, as was Mets brass. Syndergaard threw mostly fastballs and curves in the first two innings before featuring his changeup in the third. He threw 52 pitches, 31 for strikes, against a Tigers lineup that was missing slugger Miguel Cabrera.
"I kind of got the jitters out of the way,'' Syndergaard said. "But it was kind of cool throwing against Torii Hunter and Ian Kinsler, guys I grew up watching.''
Said the 38-year-old Hunter: "Oh, man, tell him: 'Don't you ever say that again.' No, it's awesome. I'm still around and I'm still playing. That's pretty cool. I thank God for giving me my health and that I was able to see this guy pitch who thought I was awesome when he was 3.''