Noah Syndergaard looked near-unhittable on Opening Day for the Mets against the Braves, powering through six innings featuring his typical blazing fastball and logic-defying low-90s slider, while also sporting a nascent, wicked changeup. For most of Syndergaard’s time on the mound it just didn’t seem fair, as he carved up the Braves’ lineup through those six innings to the tune of seven strikeouts, while scattering just five hits and not allowing a single walk.
Syndergaard’s start ended in uncertainty, however, as Terry Collins decided not to send him back out to the mound for the seventh inning—despite only throwing 86 pitches—after the Mets’ ace popped a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand in the process of wriggling out of a first-and-third jam with one out in the top of the sixth.
During his post-game press conference Terry Collins noted that Syndergaard would have started the seventh inning had the blister issue not developed, but downplayed the concern over the blister itself. While the blister shouldn’t cause Syndergaard to miss any time, Collins did say that the decision had already been made to push Syndergaard’s next start from Saturday night against the Marlins to the Sunday night game, providing an extra day for the blister to properly heal up.
As a result of Syndergaard being pushed back a day, Robert Gsellman will take his first rotation turn in the Saturday night game against the Marlins. Gsellman—who pitched the ninth inning on Opening Day with the Mets enjoying a comfortable lead—was previously expected to be skipped the first time through the rotation since Tuesday’s day off would have allowed the Mets to not use a fifth starter until April 12 in Philadelphia. Instead, Gsellman will now take the hill against the Marlins on Saturday with full rest after today’s one-inning appearance.
Mets fans will certainly hope this is the last they hear of blister issues for Syndergaard. Assuming there are no lingering effects, the end result for the Mets is a harmless scheduling change. Let’s hope that’s the extent of it.