Noah Syndergaard says his start Thursday night, in Game 5 of the World Series against the Astros and Justin Verlander, is the biggest of his life.
The Phillies could have given the ball to Zack Wheeler, their ace who would have pitched on regular rest. But because he experienced arm fatigue after his poor performance last weekend, they opted to give him two extra days until Game 6 on Saturday in Houston.
It’s been a strange season for Syndergaard, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels last offseason before getting traded to the Phillies at the trade deadline. Now, he finds himself preparing for what is easily the biggest game of his career.
It’s going to be really cool to have the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with Justin Verlander. Justin’s a guy that I’ve looked up to my entire life . . . Just the whole opportunity just kind of gives me chills.” – Noah Syndergaard, per NewsDay.
“Every start this year’s kind of been one that I’m not quite used to,” Syndergaard said. “Just because coming back from Tommy John, I haven’t possessed the ability to throw a hundred miles an hour, off-speed stuff hasn’t been the same. So I’ve really had to adapt and change my way of pitching, and I think it’s just going to really help me out overall.”
This will be his first World Series game since the famous Alcides Escobar “60 feet, 6 inches” Game 3 against the Royals in 2015, when Syndergaard was a rookie with the Mets.
Syndergaard was initially set to pitch Game 3. The Phillies changed their rotation after the rainout Monday. He is expected to max out Thursday at three or four innings.