With the Los Angeles Dodgers coming off a 6-2 road trip and the New York Mets having won six of their last seven after a five-game losing streak, their series at Dodger Stadium brought about some intrigue.
On top of that, the four-game set began on Memorial Day, and the first three matchups were headlined by Clayton Kershaw and Jacob deGrom, Rich Hill and Steven Matz, and Walker Buehler and Noah Syndergaard.
However, the expected pitcher’s duels were everything but that. Each starter was knocked around early, with Buehler and Syndergaard the latest to come under siege.
The Dodgers fell into an early deficit but managed to pull even by scoring three runs off Syndergaard in his six innings of work.
The hard-throwing righty allowed seven hits and after the Mets’ walk-off loss, Syndergaard expressed some surprise at the Dodgers’ success against him, per Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News:
“I felt great. The ball was coming out really well. I’m still scratching my head at how they were able to get those balls in play on the fastballs up and in, in the zone,” Syndergaard said. “But I feel like I made a nice adjustment going down and away once I realized what their approach was.”
Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he and pitching coach Dave Eiland had a similar assessment:
“Noah had good stuff tonight,” Callaway said. “Dave was kind of perplexed when he’d go in and look at some of the pitches they were hitting, they were off the plate and up. He executed pitches like we wanted to and they’re still barreling them up right now.”
Mets bench coach took matters a step further, questioning if the Dodgers were assisted in some way, via Kevin Kernan of the New York Post:
“I think they have a system that helps them get some signs and stuff,” bench coach Jim Riggleman told The Post. “I don’t think it’s anything illegal, but I think they just do a good job of picking up things. If you do anything in your delivery that’s different, if your sequences are repetitive. We talked about it. Because they are taking some hefty cuts. They are not getting cheated. We made some pretty good pitches that they got. We’ll do better.”
With the Mets leading 3-0 in the second inning, Syndergaard allowed a string of consecutive doubles to Corey Seager, Matt Beaty and Alex Verdugo, which produced two runs. Justin Turner tied the game with an RBI single in the third inning.
Syndergaard worked around a walk in the fourth, and retired the side in order in each the fifth and sixth. His struggles seemed to stem from shying away from throwing the changeup and curveball, which had the Dodgers off balance. Syndergaard’s sinker was also inconsistent and he curiously walked Walker Buehler twice.
No matter the reason, Wednesday’s start was another in which the 26-year-old failed to meet expectations. Syndergaard took a no-decision, and is 3-4 with a 4.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, both of which are career-worst marks.