NEW YORK Noah Syndergaard knows a thing or two about setting a tone. Just ask Alcides Escobar about that first-pitchfastball that sailed over his headand to the backstop to start Game 3 of the 2015 World Series. Though it wasn’t nearly as dramatic a tone-setter, Syndergaard stated in no uncertain terms Wednesday what his Opening Day start against the Cardinals means to him and his Mets teammates..”I think it’s pretty crucial for us to come out of the gates hot and prove to a lot of people we are here to compete, and we’re going to have a hell of a year,” Syndergaard told reporters at Citi Field following a team workout ahead of Thursday’s Jose Fernandez Jersey opener.SN PREDICTIONS: How our experts see the 2018 season unfoldingIt is the second consecutive Opening Day start for Syndergaard, a second opportunity to set the tone for a new Mets season. He did his part last April 3 against the Braves at Citi Field, to sing six scorele s frames with seven strikeouts in a 6-0 Mets victory.It appeared then it was the start for another feel-good yearand po sibly a third consecutive postseason appearance for the Mets.Syndergaard, however,may have really set the tone for what turned out to be a miserable 2017 seasonin Flushing when, in his fifth start, on April 30, hesuffered a torn lat muscle while pitching against the Nationals. The mighty Thor spent most of the next fivemonths on the sideline, and the Mets reeled from a string of injuries to fellow key players Yoenis Cespedes, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, Michael Conforto, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo, Travis d’Arnaud and Zack Wheeler, among others, finishing with a dismal 70-92 record. Now the Mets have a clean slate, and they’re looking to Syndergaard, not only on Opening Day, but for a full, healthyseason of 30-plus starts.”When Noah Syndergaard has pitched, he’s dominated,” said new Mets manager Mickey Callaway. “He’s right there (among baseball’s best pitchers). Ithink him consistently getting out there on the field is probably the only thing that’s mi sing. He’s done a great job this offseason, has done what it takes to put himself in the same caliber as those other guys.”Syndergaard, who appeared in Starlin Castro Jersey two games throwing three scorele s innings at the end of last season, looked the part of ace in spring training, striking out 23 batters over 15 innings and pitching to a 1.35 ERA. His first pitch of the spring was clocked over 100 mph, but over the course of five games he showed mastery over his complete nasty arsenal, which includes a 92 mph slider and 90 mph changeup.MLB OPENING DAY: 18 burning questions for the 2018 seasonNew Mets third baseman Todd Frazier summed up how imposing Syndergaard is to opposing hitters.”I’ll be honest, Ifaced that guy four times and he struck me out four times,” Frazier said (overall, Frazier is 1 for 7 with four Ks lifetime vs. Thor).”He’s filthy on the mound. He’s a bulldog. His pitches are devastating. He throws 100 miles per hour, his change up is in the low 90s, and he’s got other pitches pitchers dream of throwing.”For me, I’m just glad to be on his team and play behind him.”Final tune-up in the books…We are ready to go. #LGM New York Mets (@Mets) March 28, 2018That first opportunity to play on the same side as Syndergaard this season is Thursday, Opening Day.”I’m just really excited to get out there,” said Syndergaard, who stated a goal of pitching 200 innings this season.”Two (late-season) starts last year didn’t really feel like starts, more like tune-ups for me to take some positivity into the offseason. I really want to get back out there and feel the crowd, the electricity. I’m really looking forward to it.”