The Noah Syndergaard experiment has been a complete and utter disaster for the Dodgers so far. Now the team seems uncertain to when the former All-Star will return after being placed on the injured list with a lingering blister issue compounded with a broken fingernail suffered in his most recent start.
After his most recent start against the Reds, Syndergaard now carries a horrendous 7.16 ERA through his first twelve starts of the season, which gives him the third worst ERA for any Dodgers pitcher through their first twelve starts of the season (trailing only Carlos Perez in 1999 and Hideo Nomo in 2004). The 30-year-old right hander has also been rocked by his opponents over his past three starts, posting a ghastly 10.93 ERA, while also failing to pitch more innings than the amount of runs posted per start.
Once one of baseball’s premier flamethrowers, able to touch triple digits on a four seamer that ranked within the 99th percentile of baseball back in 2016, Syndergaard has seen his fastball top off between 93 and 94 mph, as well as ranking within only the 21st percentile for his fastball. His xwOBA (expected weighted on-base average) has also fallen off drastically, as he has gone from ranking within the 93rd percentile in 2016 all the way down to just the 14th percentile this season. Syndergaard has expressed his frustrations with his performance, with one outlandish comment indicating that he would “give up his hypothetical first-born child” to be the same pitcher he was during his days with the Mets.
As Syndergaard’s status on his injury is still up in the air, he will use this time to reset his season’s expectations, and will continue to find a way to recapture his previous velocity. Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports on how assistant pitching coach Conor McGuiness has evaluated the right-hander’s performance, and what steps both Syndergaard and the team have taken in attempts to fix his mechanics:
“The mechanics are always going to be a battle, as it is with any pitcher. He’s looking to get some separation off of the different weapons within his arsenal. He’s doing very similar stuff to what he was doing last year. He was still chasing velocity last year. … We’re there with him. He’s going to have to get to work here, and hopefully something kind of clicks moving forward.”
- Clayton Kershaw’s seven shutout innings against the Reds on Thursday helped the Dodgers snap their longest losing streak of the season and avoid a sweep. Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times comments on Dave Roberts’ reaction to Kershaw’s latest start, noting how his dominance has alleviated stress off the other starters to perform on par with him:
“It seems like every time Clayton is taking the mound, it’s a must-win or he’s gotta go deep and cover innings,” Roberts said. “For him to get through seven and for us to use one reliever today” — Tayler Scott pitched the final two innings of the Dodgers’ fifth shutout — “it was enormous.”