Thor to make Brooklyn debut in season finale
Mets All-Star Ace Syndergaard to Rehab with Cyclones at MCU Park
The suddenly red-hot Cyclones haven’t needed much pitching help over the past two weeks, but they’ll get some in their final game of this otherwise dismal season in the form of Mets All-Star ace Noah Syndergaard on Thursday night.
The hulking blonde-locked hurler, who has been on the disabled list since the end of April due to a partial tear of the right lat muscle, will make his second rehab start this week against Staten Island after yielding two unearned runs on one hit with two strikeouts over one inning Saturday for the Gulf Coast League Mets.
Syndergaard threw 18 pitches, including 13 strikes, in his first game action since April 30 against Washington, when he clutched at the back of his right shoulder in the second inning of the Mets’ eventual 23-5 drubbing at the hands of the Nationals.
The 25-year-old Texas native, dubbed “Thor” for his resemblance to the Marvel super hero based on the Norse God of Thunder, was 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA over five starts before joining the Mets’ ever-growing list of injured players.
He will follow fellow Mets All-Star pitchers Matt Harvey (Aug. 16) and Jeurys Familia (Aug. 22 and 23) in making rehab outings here in our fair borough.
But Syndergaard’s start Thursday, scheduled to go at least two innings depending on pitch count, will also be the final game on the docket for the league-worst Baby Bums (24-49), who have miraculously caught fire down the stretch.
Before dropping the second game of their Labor Day doubleheader in Connecticut, 2-0, the resurgent Cyclones had won six games in a row and are a sparkling 9-2 overall since ending a franchise-record 14 game skid from Aug. 10-26.
Syndergaard, whose Thor bobblehead doll was handed out to Brooklyn fans earlier this summer, never pitched in Coney Island during his meteoric rise through the Mets’ minor league chain after being acquired from Toronto in a 2012 trade for former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
Standing at 6-foot-6, the dominating right-hander from Texas made his first All-Star appearance last year, and was in the running for the N.L. Cy Young after going 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA.
Familia and Harvey have already rejoined the Mets following their rehab stints, and Syndergaard hopes to do the same later this month despite New York’s dismal campaign in Flushing after entering the campaign with high expectations.
“This is the first time I’ve been injured, so I’m itching to get back out there,” Syndergaard said last month.
“Whether it’s September and we’re in it or not, I want to get out there and compete because I’m just getting bored.”
Cyclones fans had to be feeling the same way for most of this summer, but the team has rebounded nicely since ending its epic slide, which was the worst in the New York-Penn League since 2005.
First-year manager Edgardo Alfonzo’s beleaguered offense remains stagnant, but the Cyclones’ pitching staff has been lights out since the recent resurgence, yielding 11 earned runs over 85 innings during the past week 11 games.
On Monday afternoon, Brooklyn edged Connecticut, 2-1, in the doubleheader opener behind four innings of one-run ball by starter Ryan McAullife in front of 2,526 fans at Dodd Stadium.
Syndergaard’s presence at MCU Park should help fill the seats for the finale as Brooklyn has long been assured of missing out on the NY-Penn playoffs for the fifth consecutive summer.
Despite their franchise-worst record, the Cyclones will lead the 14-team circuit in season attendance for the 17th straight year.
They will also finish their campaign with a bang, and perhaps a lightning bolt or two, after losing in seemingly every fashion imaginable over the first two months of the 76-game grind of a short-season schedule.
This, That and the Other Thing: Brooklyn pitchers have allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of the last 11 games, working to a miniscule 1.16 ERA during that stretch after wallowing near the bottom of the league standings in earned runs allowed for most of the season … RHP Cannon Chadwick, a right-hander from Paris, Texas whom the Mets selected in the ninth round of this year’s draft out of the University of Arkansas, has been nothing short of brilliant out of the Brooklyn bullpen this year. Chadwick is 1-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the Cyclones, striking out 40 over 27 innings … Brooklyn, which still ranks dead last in the league with 233 runs this season, managed only two in Monday’s double dip on only seven hits.