PHILADELPHIA — Noah Syndergaard gave the Mets plenty of evidence that he should be ready to lead the rotation come next spring, hitting 101 mph on the radar gun in two scoreless innings in an 11-0 loss to the Phillies Sunday to end the season.
But Syndergaard’s strongest pitch came after the game, when he demanded that the Mets bring back pitching coach Dan Warthen, whose contract might not be renewed by the club.
Aside from David Wright, Warthen is the longest-tenured player or coach. He was installed as pitching coach in May 2008.
“As far as our pitching coach situation goes, I think it’s [expletive] what’s going on with Dan,” Syndergaard said. “It’s like he’s taking the blame for all the injuries that have happened this year.”
Before suffering a right lat injury in April, Syndergaard had been expected to anchor a brilliant starting rotation, which the Mets had banked on to be the dynamo behind a playoff run. Instead, the injury limited Syndergaard to 30 1⁄3 innings over seven starts for a 2.97 ERA. He threw 26 pitches on Sunday, up from the five he threw in his first appearance off the disabled list.
But it was enough to offer reassurance that he is healthy and on track for a regular offseason of preparation.
Said Syndergaard: “Today was the best that I’ve ever felt in my entire life and I owe a lot of the credit to Dan.”
The Mets finished in fourth place in the NL East at 70-92, their most losses since 2009. Of the 25 players on the Opening Day roster, just 11 made it to the finale, with the rest either released, demoted, traded or lost to injury.
Of those 11, only Jacob deGrom and Jerry Blevins saw the journey through to the end, never landing on the disabled or getting demoted.
The winter promises to bring change, with only third-base coach Glenn Sherlock under contract. As for Syndergaard’s full-throated defense of Warthen, general manager Sandy Alderson said, “players’ input is important and always taken into account.”