PHILADELPHIA – Noah Syndergaard is very aware of the video that went viral in recent days when he presses his fingers in his glove for an apparent substance before launching a pitch.
But the Mets' right-hander denies there's anything useless in his actions.
"If I was getting into baseballs, I would not be throwing 86 mph sliders," Syndergaard told The Post after the Mets' 3-2 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.
On a cold night at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, Syndergaard may be hiding the tar that helped him grab the baseball. But Syndergaard, who surrendered five races in five innings, would not respond directly to that charge.
"You felt those baseballs, they felt like ice cubes," Syndergaard said. "Watch a video of a dog trying to pick up an ice cube, that's how it was."
Although pitchers are prohibited from using pine tar, the rule is rarely enforced unless the opposing team complains. A notable exception occurred in 2014, when Michael Pineda of the Yankees was ejected for applying pine tar on his neck and rubbing the baseball, regardless of the rule.
Jacob DeGrom is battling strep throat, manager Mickey Callaway to delay the next opening of the right-hander until Saturday. Jason Vargas will be moved one day to launch on Friday in St. Louis.
Saturday would originally have been DeGrom's day, but Callaway had reconfigured the rotation to ensure that Vargas would not have to face the Phillies next Wednesday at Citi Field. Now Vargas will be online to launch that day.
If deGrom is not yet ready for Saturday, the Mets may use Steven Matz on three days off, after the left-hander faced only eight batters on Tuesday and was eliminated without scoring one out. The left-hander allowed eight runs, six of which were won.
Jed Lowrie returned to Port St. Lucie and is expected to start the live batting practice on Saturday, but Callaway said it is too early to say when Lowrie could begin a minor league rehab assignment. Lowrie has been rehabilitating from a twisted capsule in his left knee that has kept him on the sidelines since the start of spring training.
Jacob Rhame was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse, one day after Drew Gagnon was needed to launch 5 1/3 innings in relief. Gagnon was sent to Syracuse.
Jeff McNeil finished 2-for-4, giving him six consecutive games of several successes. David Wright was the last Mets player to have at least as many. Wright had seven successive consecutive games in 2011.