The right-hander pitched six innings while allowing just two runs on five hits while adding four strikeouts with no walks. In his Angels debut, he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings and now owns a 1.59 ERA this season.
While his early success is encouraging, the 29-year-old has yet to fully hit his stride in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery.
So far this season, Syndergaard is averaging 95 mph on his fastball, a drop from his previous average that sat around 98 mph and touched triple-digits consistently, but he believes that high velocity will come back to him eventually, he said via Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I don’t have triple-digit stuff necessarily quite just yet,” Syndergaard said. “I think that’s pretty much an understanding of guys coming back in their first year (after Tommy John surgery). I feel like I still have good stuff. It’s forced me to really focus on pitching, not so much throwing. I can’t wait to get the hundo back, but until then, I think this is gonna benefit me in the long run.”
Syndergaard is also proving he can pitch without the need for elite velocity. He has developed somewhat of the reputation of being a flamethrower first and and a pitcher second, Angels manager Joe Maddon has stressed that narrative couldn’t be further from the truth:
“He’s a big guy and you think he’s this guy who just throws hard,” Maddon said, “but his changeup and his breaking ball are outstanding, with command. I can’t emphasize that enough.”
So far, the results have been encouraging for both Syndergaard and the Angels.
The Angels have had pitching problems for the past few seasons which has caused them to miss the playoffs, but now they look to put those issues behind them led a rotation that includes Syndergaard along with Shohei Ohtani.
Ohtani finds success with aggressive approach
Ohtani’s season got off to a slow start by going 5-for-29 while only registering one walk and two extra-base hits with 10 strikeouts but he remained confident.
In the second game against the Rangers, Ohtani deposited a first-pitch fastball from Matt Bush into the right-field bullpen for his first home run of the season. He followed that up with a two-run shot in the top of the fifth inning on a cut fastball in the heart of the zone.