Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to be on the mound for the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night when they play the Oakland Athletics in Anaheim, Calif.
That is, unless Syndergaard is traded before the 3 p.m. (PDT) deadline.
If the trade deadline passes and Syndergaard is still an Angel, he’ll take the mound a few hours later for his 16th start of the season. On a one-year contract worth $21 million, Syndergaard (5-8, 3.83 ERA) has had his moments, considering he returned from Tommy John surgery after missing most of two seasons.
And that’s why he’s drawn interest from playoff-contending teams. Syndergaard gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings his last time out, and after the game admitted the rumors were on his mind.
“I’ve thought about that, probably a bit just because it’s been brought up in the past,” he said.
Syndergaard added that he “loves” being an Angel, but if his time with the club ends, he said he feels his progress in returning from injury is ongoing and he’ll be even better for his new team.
Both his velocity and strikeout rate are down, but it was to be expected considering the surgery and recovery time needed.
“Overall, I feel like I’m learning a lot,” Syndergaard said. “I’m still getting a feel for my delivery after not pitching for two years. But I’m just going out there, and working with the stuff that I have is helping me become a better pitcher for when the plus stuff comes back. I’ll be able to utilize the stuff I’m learning now.”
A start Tuesday would be Syndergaard’s first against Oakland in his career.
“He’s pitched very well for us,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “I know everybody looks at the velo and they think Noah, a big guy, is going to throw hard like he used to. But he’s learning and he’s done a great job pitching with the stuff that he has. He really focuses on the shapes and what his pitches do and what it takes to get guys out.”
Right-hander Frankie Montas was in the same situation as Syndergaard, scheduled to start Tuesday’s game, but he was dealt to the New York Yankees on Monday. A’s center fielder Ramon Laureano, however, is still awaiting word on a possible trade but is doing his best to avoid thinking about it.
“I’m here,” Laureano said. “I’ve got to play ball, got to make adjustments at the plate, and that’s what I’m focused on.”
With Montas on a plane out of town, the A’s will go with Cole Irvin (6-7, 3.05 ERA) to make his 19th start of the season. He is coming off an impressive month of July.
Irvin went 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA in five starts last month, which included two victories over the Houston Astros. His only loss of the month came against the Astros, but he gave up just two runs in six innings in that game.
Irvin, who was born in Anaheim and grew up an Angels fan, is 2-3 with a 3.16 ERA in six career starts against the Angels.