“Friends ask me about him,” Wright said after Monday’s 5-2 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. “I say, ‘Think of it this way: When you used to play video games as a kid, if you build the player that you want to build and put all the abilities up to like max 10, he’s that guy that you build in the video games -- his presence physically, the stuff, the command.’ He throws 100 mph. If he’s not throwing 100, and he’s throwing 96 or 97, he can beat you with hitting his spots and his secondary pitches. When he’s out there throwing 2-1 sliders or 2-1 changeups or 3-1 curveballs, that just makes it completely unfair when he’s got 100 in his pocket.
“When he gives up a run, it’s almost like you look at him and you’re like, ‘What’s wrong with you tonight?’" Wright continued. "Very rarely do guys put good swings on him and get a chance to get two or three hits in an inning to score a run.”
Syndergaard limited the Phillies to one run on five hits and two walks while striking out eight in seven innings on Monday. He improved to 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA.
Three of Syndergaard’s first-inning fastballs registered 101 mph.
“Every once in a while I’ll get a feel for how hard I’m throwing,” Syndergaard said. “The first inning, everything was clicking mechanically. My arm felt great out there.”
Syndergaard became the seventh pitcher in franchise history to allow one run or fewer and toss at least six innings in each of his first three appearances in a season. He joined Matt Harvey (2013), Rick Reed (2000), Frank Viola (1991), Tom Seaver (1972 and ’73), Nolan Ryan (1970) and Jerry Koosman (1968).
Syndergaard has produced at least eight strikeouts while allowing no more than one run in each his first three games this season. The only player in the past 100 years with more such games to start a season is Randy Johnson, who had four straight to open his 1995 Cy Young campaign, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
“I think the biggest thing that keeps driving him is being good or being great isn’t enough. He wants to be in that elite level,” Wright said. “I think he’s certainly in the talks, at least through three starts.”
Syndergaard downplayed Wright's video-game comparison.
“It’s still a team sport," he said. "We go out there and have great team chemistry. We all pull for one another. I’m just extremely blessed to be in the circumstance that I am now.”
Has he ever created a video-game player and maxed out the skills?
“I wasn’t a real big sports gamer back in the day,” Syndergaard said. “I can’t say that I ever did that.”