Noah Syndergaard and Jose Fernandez are among the best young pitchers in baseball, both relying mainly on an overpowering fastball. However, it's the latest addition to Syndergaard's arsenal that has already left batters off balance in 2016.
Syndergaard will try to help the New York Mets stop their three-game slide Tuesday night when he takes the mound opposite Fernandez and the Miami Marlins at Citi Field.
Syndergaard and Fernandez are both 23 and capable of hitting 100 on the radar gun. While Tommy John surgery and other injuries have limited Fernandez over the past two years, Syndergaard is looking every bit like an emerging ace while displaying some versatility on the mound.
He had nine strikeouts in six innings and yielded three hits in a 2-0 win at Kansas City last Tuesday, utilizing a low-90s slider that baffled the reigning World Series champion.
“I felt like I really took it to the next level,” Syndergaard told MLB's official website. “I kind of shocked myself with how good my slider was. It felt good in spring training, but I amped it up.”
Syndergaard will have it on display for the Marlins for the first time, and he's 9-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 14 career home starts, including two wins in last year's postseason.
The Mets (2-4) could use another stellar effort from Syndergaard after falling 10-3 to Miami in the opener of this three-game series. Steven Matz lasted just 1 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs – all in the second.
The Marlins (2-3) had 15 hits Monday, raising their average to .299 through five games.
Fernandez didn't get any offensive support in his season debut in Wednesday's 7-3 loss to Detroit. However, while he struck out 13 in 5 2-3 innings, he also gave up five runs and threw 106 pitches as his 17-game home winning streak ended.
“His stuff is good, but I think he can continue to grow and get better,” manager Don Mattingly said. “It's funny you say something like that with a guy like Jose, but you do always have to be on the mission to get better and figure out a way to use your pitches at different times in the game and know exactly what you want to do.
“Jose is great, but he still can get better.”
That's certainly true on the road, where Fernandez is 5-9 with a 3.78 ERA and 10.68 strikeouts per nine innings over 21 career starts. He's yielded two runs and fanned 15 in 11 innings while not getting a decision in two outings in Queens.
Fernandez is 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 22 innings during four overall starts against New York.
Giancarlo Stanton is hitting .304 with nine homers and 16 RBIs over his last 14 games against the Mets after connecting for a two-run shot Monday.
Marcell Ozuna had a solo homer and a double, matching his hit total from the first four games. The center fielder has a .339 average in his last 16 games against New York.
David Wright is 4 for 8 with two doubles in two games after being rested for Saturday's 1-0 loss to Philadelphia. He was 2 for 11 while stranding seven runners over the three previous games.
Wright is 0 for 8 versus Fernandez.