The Los Angeles Dodgers faced off against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday for the first time since defeating them in the 2020 World Series, but took the loss in part to Noah Syndergaard struggling through another subpar outing.
The right-hander did pitch six innings, which provided some much-needed length for the Dodgers bullpen, but he also gave up six runs on eight hits. Syndergaard only struck out three hitters, but he maintained solid control with just one walk.
Although Syndergaard has not had much success this season, the Rays also deserve credit as the clear No. 1 team in baseball so far in 2023. They lead the Majors in runs scored, while also ranking first in runs prevented.
The 30-year-old acknowledged the Rays’ success, but also pointed to his own lack of quality pitches, via SportsNet LA:
“Pretty much what they’ve been doing all year to put themselves in the position that they’re in. Just not a lot of positive emotion right now when I think about pitching in particular. It’s just hard going out there with the weapons I used to have kind of being taken away from me. Throwing what I’m possessing right now is not enough to successfully battle a team like that. But just continue to work my butt off between starts to snap out of this.”
The Dodgers signed Syndergaard this past offseason as a reclamation project and to provide depth following the losses of Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney.
While the team hoped they could make some changes to his mechanics that would allow Syndergaard to find success, that has not been the case. But Syndergaard is determined to find the solution:
“I’m just going to keep on grinding and chipping away. I think everyone around here knows I’m the most determined person to get back to where I used to be. I just haven’t been the same since probably my setback when I was coming back from Tommy John. Still working through that and I’ll just maintain positivity each day I come to work. … I think if I just focus on getting 1% better every time, pretty soon I’ll be in pretty good shape.”
The 2016 All-Star, who was once one of the most feared pitchers in the league, now sits at just 1-4 through 10 starts. He has also pitched to a 6.27 ERA and 1.35 WHIP in 47.1 innings while striking out just 33 hitters.
The Dodgers may eventually decide to move on from Syndergaard, or possibly try him out in a bullpen role, which is something he did for the Philadelphia Phillies last season. However, his lack of strikeout stuff would be concerning in a relief role.
Noah Syndergaard joins unfortunate Dodgers record book
To make matters worse, Syndergaard’s 6.37 ERA is the highest by a Dodgers pitcher through his first 10 starts of a season (minimum 40 innings) since Hideo Nomo’s 7.33 ERA in 2004.
Nomo finished the season going 4-11 with an 8.25 ERA in 84 innings. It was his final season with the Dodgers before he spent one with the Rays in 2005, and one more with the Kansas City Rolays in 2008.
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