Noah Syndergaard missed the better part of two seasons because of an arm injury that resulted in Tommy John surgery, but a fresh start with a new team seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
The right-hander will start for the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night in Anaheim, Calif., in the firstgame of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. Syndergaard got off to a great start this season, posting a 2.45 ERA over his first five starts.
That included shutting out the defending American League champion Astros on two hits over 5 1/3 innings in his season debut on April 9.
Syndergaard, though, learned the hard way that the recovery process after elbow surgery continues even after a return to the mound. He is coming off the shortest outing of his career when he lasted just two-thirds of an inning on May 16 against the Rangers. He gave up six runs (four earned) on four hits and two walks.
Despite the setback, Syndergaard (3-2, 3.60 ERA) is focusing on moving forward.
"I've got to have a short-term memory, but also learn from mistakes, learn from (that) outing, make sure it never happens again," Syndergaard said. "Delivery is getting better and better, it's just right now I'm kind of searching to figure it out, get back to what it used to be. I feel like I'm so close but still so far. But it's encouraging because you don't want it to be easy."
Tuesday's start will be Syndergaard's third against the Rangers this season. He earned a victory on April 16 when he allowed two runs and five hits in six innings.
Right-hander Dane Dunning (1-2, 3.92 ERA) will start for Texas, his ninth start of the season. He pitched against the Angels his last time out, getting a no-decision but pitching well, giving up two runs and three hits in six innings.
Dunning is 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA in five career starts vs. the Angels.
The Rangers are hoping to get an offensive boost from catcher/DH Mitch Garver, who returned four games ago after missing 11 games because of a strained forearm. He's still not able to get behind the plate, but he can hit.
The Rangers would like to see the Garver who hit 31 home runs in 2019 with Minnesota and won a Silver Slugger award as a catcher. For now, though, Garver's value to the Rangers is in the batter's box.
"He's a good catcher and a good leader back there," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "He brings a ton of value on the catching side. But obviously, with the bat in his hand, he's had some monster years. If we can tap into that, that's huge to have in the lineup. ... We obviously activated him not able to do anything but hit for a reason. We can't wait to see him catch fire."
--Field Level Media