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Mets’ Syndergaard returns to face Nationals

The New York Mets are getting their ace back.

Manager Mickey Callaway said right-hander Noah Syndergaard will take the hill Friday against the Washington Nationals, per Erin Fish of MLB.com. Syndergaard has been on the disabled list since May 26 because of a strained ligament in the index finger on his pitching hand, but the manager said he “feels great” after his Wednesday bullpen session.

The Mets have fallen apart without him and are an ugly 36-53 on the campaign. They are 14.5 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East after a hot start and face an uphill climb to play meaningful baseball down the stretch.

Syndergaard (4-1, 3.06 ERA) is expected to make his first start in seven weeks when he opposes the Nationals’ Tanner Roark (3-11, 4.76) in a battle of right-handers.

The Nationals won the series opener Thursday night, when Anthony Rendon homered in his first two at-bats before Harper accounted for the decisive runs by launching a long two-run homer off Mets left-hander Jerry Blevins in the seventh inning of a 5-4 victory.

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Harper is in the midst of a difficult campaign for the Nationals (47-46). He has 23 homers and 53 RBIs, but is batting .213, which would be a career-low by 30 points, and his .840 OPS is 168 points lower than a year ago. Washington manager Dave Martinez, though, said he thought the left-handed-hitting slugger might have unlocked something against Blevins.

“He was really quiet (in the at-bat),” Martinez said. “Those are the kind of at-bats that might turn things around for him. Left on left, Blevins is not an easy guy to face, and he crushed the ball. So hopefully that’ll get him going here the next few days. He gets the All-Star break and then we’ll see what happens after that.”

Getting Syndergaard going is likely one of the few things the Mets (37-54) have to look forward to the remainder of the season. New York has gone 12-32 since Syndergaard’s most recent start May 25, when he gave up three runs over six innings against the Milwaukee Brewers and didn’t factor into the decision as the Brewers earned a 4-3, 10-inning win.

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Categories: Sports