As Citi Field fans get their first glimpse of a potential top-of-the-rotation pitcher, they shouldn't expect to see him at the bottom of the lineup.
Noah Syndergaard could cap a memorable 24-hour stretch in Queens if he can follow the New York Mets' slump-busting outburst by earning his first major league victory Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Manager Terry Collins could have Syndergaard batting eighth for this matinee after starter Jacob deGrom did Saturday night while Wilmer Flores dropped to No. 9 even though he led New York with five homers. It was the first time the Mets had their home run leader bat ninth since 1967, and the move worked to perfection as deGrom had three hits and Flores highlighted a 10-run fourth inning with a grand slam in a 14-1 win.
"It's not like he's Giancarlo Stanton," Collins said of Flores.
New York (21-16), which had its highest-scoring inning since 2006, compiled a season-best 16 hits after entering on a five-game losing streak during which it totaled 10 runs.
Syndergaard did bat eighth in his big league debut Tuesday at Wrigley Field, striking out twice, but more importantly showed promise on the mound after being hailed as the Mets' most prized prospect. The 6-foot-6 right-hander held the Chicago Cubs scoreless through five innings before fading in the sixth, when he recorded only one out and gave up three runs in a 6-1 loss.
Regularly reaching the high 90s with his fastball and displaying a sharp curve, Syndergaard struck out six but walked four and surrendered six hits. Opposing pitcher Jake Arrieta said "he was electric," and Collins was fairly dazzled as well.
"Obviously, he's got good stuff and I was certainly impressed with how he threw it," he said.
Syndergaard has been excited for his Citi Field debut since recently seeing reporters tweet about the electric atmosphere there.
"It's been something I've wanted to experience since that point," he told MLB's official website. "I'm looking forward to stepping on that mound."
He'll have trouble winning if the Mets don't solve Wily Peralta (1-4, 3.80 ERA). Every other team to face him more than once has beaten the right-hander, but Peralta has won all three starts he's made against New York with a 1.35 ERA - his best against any opponent.
Peralta is seeking a fifth consecutive quality start, having posted a 2.42 ERA in the last four.
Curtis Granderson is 4 for 5 with a homer off Peralta, and he was 3 for 5 with a homer Saturday.
Ryan Braun drove in Milwaukee's only run with a sacrifice fly after homering twice Friday. Carlos Gomez, whose big league career began with the Mets, had two hits Saturday and is a .444 hitter in 11 games at Citi Field.
Luis Sardinas, part of the Yovani Gallardo deal, had two hits on his 22nd birthday in his Brewers debut. He was called up to help fill in for shortstop Jean Segura (finger).
"There's a pretty good competition to make the team at shortstop," Sardinas told MLB's official website. "... You want to (show) the organization, 'I want it.' Now, for me, it's really important, because I want to stay here for a long time. I don't want to go back to Triple-A."
Peralta has allowed four homers in his last three starts and the Brewers (13-24) have served up a major league-worst 54.
The Mets are 14-4 at home with a 2.50 ERA.