Noah Syndergaard Pleased With First Impression In Dodgers Debut

Noah Syndergaard appeared in five games (four starts) during Spring Training, but Sunday marked his official Los Angeles Dodgers debut, and the right-hander turned in his best performance yet.

Syndergaard ended the spring with consecutive shaky performances but confident he had made progress in the starts and would continue ironing out his mechanics prior to facing the Arizona Diamondbacks. Syndergaard wound up pitching six-plus innings and walked off the field at Dodger Stadium to a standing ovation.

“It was awesome. I’m a big believer in first impressions,” Syndergaard said of his Dodgers debut. “New home, new fanbase, so just wanted to go out there and execute.

“Attack hitters and leave a good first impression. Glad I got the first one over. Relax a little bit and let the nerves kind of calm down. All in all, I think it was a really good outing. Just unfortunately we lost.”

Syndergaard’s first seven pitches of the game were all for strike. He stranded a two-out single and overall held the Diamondbacks to four hits.

“Just trying to focus on execution, delivery-wise,” he answered when asked what was key to that success. “Will (Smith) and I had a really good game plan and we stuck to it. I think everything was working for me for the most part. I think it’s definitely one that I could carry over to the next start and continue to get better.”

Syndergaard primarily relied on his cutter, sinker and changeup throughout the start, ditching the slider and largely abandoning the four-seam fastball as well. “I was just throwing what was generating success,” he explained.

Syndergaard appreciated Dodgers fans giving him a rousing ovation as he walked to the dugout but noted, “I kind of blacked out there.”

The 30-year-old then reiterated, “Really pleased with how it went, just unfortunately we couldn’t get a W.”

What is success for Noah Syndergaard?

The Dodgers have maintained Syndergaard does not need to get his fastball velocity back up to triple digits in order to be effective in their eyes. Instead, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts explained prior to the series finale with the Diamondbacks that the club would consider outings a success if Syndergaard logged sufficient innings.

“I think for us to count on him for innings, for length, to go deep in games, to be efficient, sort of what Dustin did the other night for us is kind of what we’re expecting,” Roberts said.

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