Noah Syndergaard appears to be extremely reluctant to face his former team this season.
After Syndergaard signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Angels in the offseason, many circled the mid-June matchup between the Angels and Mets as must watch TV.
Except after being scheduled to start against them, his start was pushed back several days to give him “extra rest,” according to Angels manager Phil Nevin.
Then around the MLB trade deadline, Syndergaard was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, which seemingly ensured that he’d face his new in-division rivals.
Except an incredible coincidence, the “extra rest” bug struck Thor once again just in time for him to avoid the Mets:
What are the odds?!
There doesn’t seem to be an explanation for this other than wanting to avoid facing his former team.
Needing extra rest isn’t that uncommon, but Syndergaard’s only pitched 98 innings this season, and it beggars belief to believe it would happen twice in the same year against the same time if it wasn’t on purpose.
Even more suspiciously, Syndergaard’s last start came on Monday, August 18th, meaning that his previously scheduled start on Sunday was already on “extra” rest. Not to mention that the series includes a double header, so the Phillies need all the pitching they can get.
Now, in order to avoid the Mets, he’ll have to go a full week in between starts.
Syndergaard, who has a 3.95 ERA this season and has made three starts since coming over to Philadelphia, seems remarkably determined to avoid his fourth coming against old teammates.
It’s a very odd situation; players often relish the opportunity to face their erstwhile organization out of a chance to prove their abilities. The game’s also in Philadelphia, meaning he wouldn’t have to face a hostile road crowd.
Maybe he’s concerned that the Mets will beat him handily or just doesn’t want to deal with whatever presumed awkwardness might ensue, but it’s still extremely unusual.
Fortunately for Syndergaard, this is the last scheduled meeting between the Mets and Phillies in the regular season. It would be fun to see what happens if the two teams meet in the postseason. Who knows, Thor could still need “extra rest” even in October.