CHICAGO – When Tuesday marked the swan song of Noah Syndergaard's New York Mets career, he made the most of his last appearance. Not that he thinks it's right.
The big right-hander, whom they call "Thor," made 7⅓ innings good, kept the Chicago White Sox inexperienced and headed the day before the annual baseball game 2-1. Syndergaard scored five goals for Chicago and beat 11.
Afterwards, Syndergaard was asked if he was confident he would be back at the Guaranteed Rate Field on Wednesday.
"That's me," said Syndergaard. He added that he had "talked a bit here and there with the Mets Front Office, but I do not think anything is going to happen."
Syndergaard had made no decision following the draw of the White Sox in the ninth against another Mets trade candidate, closer to Edwin Diaz. New York won 5-2 in the 11th against two consecutive Homer from Jeff McNeil – a shot that shot just over the wall – and Michael Conforto, who fired a shot at the shed on the right -field.
It was a fifth win of the season in succession for New York, which is only five games behind a Wild Card slot in the National League, a fact that has been eclipsed by the turmoil of trading rumors in New York last week.
"It's getting a bit old," Syndergaard said of his own role in the rumor mill. "I think it's kind of encouraging at the same time."
After Syndergaard left, he watched from the coaching bench as reliever Seth Lugo got the Chicago Jose Abreu to roll into a double on the inning end. He pumped his fist to celebrate.
"I thought he was electric," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "All his pitches worked so deep in the game, he did a great job, which was probably the best I've seen him."
It was Syndergaard's fourth run in a row, in which he has completed at least seven innings, the kind of workload an applicant would like to acquire in the mid-season. With his double-digit strike performance in the 16th career, Syndergaard has an ERA of 3.20 and an average of 6.4 innings per outing over his last 10 starts.
Syndergaard's name has been a popular name in rumor mill since spring training. The 6-foot-6-Syndergaard is one of the hardest thrown baseball starters and routinely touches three-digit numbers with his fastball, earning him his mythological nickname.
But as New York manager in the first year, Brodie Van Wagenen has done so slowly Syndergaard, who has redesigned the list of Mets, was touted as a commodity. At age 26, he retains two other team-controlled seasons as a referee. Van Wagenen was already one of the busy managers of baseball this week. He took over right starter Marcus Stroman of Toronto and negotiated left starter Jason Vargas with rival Philadelphia from the east of the country his club has suddenly begun to meet the expectations of the preseason.
"You know we play good baseball," Callaway said. "We're not trying to send messages to anyone, we're just trying to win as many games as possible, that was our goal [since] at the start of the season."
All trades and rumored activity made Syndergaard a little curious before the game on Tuesday. Would he be scratched? Would he even appear in the guaranteed rates box? As it turned out, Syndergaard just dressed and went through his normal day of play before making a strong start.
"I always have that in mind," said Syndergaard. "I'm not trying to harp on things that are out of my control."
Stirring the pot was the news that veteran starter Ervin Santana had been scratched by a planned outing for Mets' Triple A daughter. Before Callaway faced White Sox, he said the club would simply "cover all our bases" if a pitcher moves. In addition to Syndergaard, the budding free agent Zack Wheeler was often referred to as a trade candidate. Wheeler is expected to start in Chicago on Thursday.
Was Syndergaard the jewel of Tuesday as Met? We will find out next Wednesday. The last bell at the close will be at 16:00. ET on Wednesday. When it turns out Thor needs to find a new place to hang his hammer, he's not sure how he'll feel, especially when the vibrations in the New York clubhouse suddenly sound so good.
"If so, it would be a bittersweet moment," said Syndergaard. "Just because of the fan base, the guys in this clubhouse, I still hope that all of them will be in this clubhouse tomorrow, after July ."