Former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is not at the top of most Mets fans’ lists of favorite opposing players. In fact, he’s probably right at the bottom.
Utley drew the ire of Mets fans after sliding hard into second base as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Mets in the 2015 NLDS. Utley’s slide broke Ruben Tejada’s fibula, so the next time the Mets faced Utley and Dodgers in May of the following season, Noah Syndergaard was famously ejected for throwing a pitch behind Utley at Citi Field.
But with Utley set to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Phillies ahead of their Game 4 matchup with the Houston Astros on Wednesday night, Syndergaard, now a Phillie, was asked about his relationship with Utley, and his answer was a bit surprising.
After saying he had not broken the ice with Utley face-to-face since that moment in 2015, Syndergaard was asked about what Utley means to the Phillies organization.
“I’ve always admired the way he’s played the game,” Syndergaard told Newsday’s Tim Healey. “He’s a tremendous talent and I’m glad to be able to put on the same uniform as him.”
The 30-year-old Syndergaard signed a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels last offseason but was then dealt to the Phillies ahead of the trade deadline. After posting a 4.12 ERA in 10 regular appearances with the Phillies, Syndergaard has made three postseason appearances for Philadelphia, allowing one earned run in 5.1 innings.
Syndergaard is also likely to start Game 5 for the Phillies on Thursday night.