Noah Syndergaard said he was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ “weakest link” after another poor performance could have threatened his place in the starting lineup.
The once-intimidating Syndergaard saw his ERA soar to 6.54 after conceding five runs in seven hits – including three home runs – in Wednesday’s loss to the bottom-ranked Nationals.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts declined to say if Syndergaard would make his next start, and the former All-Star admitted the mechanical adjustments he tried weren’t effective.
“It really sucks,” Syndergaard told reporters. “Right now I just feel like I’m the weakest link on this team. I want to go out there and compete and be successful for the other guys in this clubhouse, but it’s just not working out.”
Syndergaard, whose early successes with the Mets earned him the nickname Thor, said he would do anything to be a dominant pitcher with a 100-mile fastball again.
“I would make my hypothetical firstborn my old self again,” he said. “I will do everything to go back there. I’m expected to go out and compete and today I just fell behind a lot of batsmen.”
After splitting with the Angels and Phillies last season, Syndergaard signed a one-year, $13 million deal with the Dodgers, who hoped he would help stabilize the back end of their rotation.
But Syndergaard has allowed multiple runs in nine straight appearances — not counting an appearance that lasted just one inning due to injury — and the Dodgers have won 3-7 in his ten starts this season. Roberts would not commit to Syndergaard next starting XI against the Reds next week.
“As an organization we have to keep figuring out which guys as starters give us the best chance of winning on any given day,” he said. “I don’t know Noah’s plan right now as to when he’s going to start next.”
Syndergaard, 30, missed all of 2020 after undergoing surgery by Tommy John and has a 4.71 ERA over the past two or more seasons. The right-hander went 10-10 with the Angels and National League champions Phillies last season with a 3.94 ERA.
Though they have two upcoming days off on their schedule, the first-place Dodgers are also plaguing their starting lineup injuries — including Julio Urias and Dustin May, who could provide short-term safety for Syndergaard. Dodgers star catcher Will Smith admitted Syndergaard is “struggling at the moment” but said he is confident the nine-year veteran will bounce back.
“I know that Noah in particular will continue to work on his [behind] “Off,” Smith said, according to MLB.com. “That’s what he’s doing.” No doubt he’ll come back at some point, whether it’s his next start or his start after. He’s too good a pitcher not to come back.