Perhaps one of the biggest let-downs of the season for the Dodgers has been Noah Syndergaard’s performance. Signed to a one-year, $13 million contract in the offseason, Syndergaard was expected to be a key starter in the Dodger pitching rotation.
Instead, Syndergaard’s ERA ballooned up to 7.16 before the Dodgers placed the 30-year-old on the IL with a blistered finger, likely in order to give the pitcher time to reset.
While Syndergaard has been absent, the Dodgers have struggled to find a reliable five-man rotation. With Julio Urias slowly making his way back to full health and Clayton Kershaw out until likely after the All-Star break, the Dodgers have had to rely on rookies Bobby Miller and Emmet Sheehan to round out their starting five.
Things have gotten so dire for the Dodgers pitching staff, Dave Roberts revealed on Thursday that Syndergaard could be activated in an emergency situation before he’s fully ready to return.
#Dodgers also pushed back Noah Syndergaard’s three-inning simulated game until tomorrow … I’m case they have to activate him for coverage during #Angels series. ASB can’t come soon enough for these guys.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) July 6, 2023
However, if the team can survive Thursday, the expectation is that Syndergaard will throw to hitters before heading out on a minor league rehab assignment where Roberts said his future with the team will be performance based.
“The ball is in his court, to be honest, to go out there and perform,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “The sample that we’ve seen up to this point — whether it be related solely to performance or a combo of injury, finger blister, layered onto performance — is hasn’t been where we need it to be. Noah understands that. So I think for us, the challenge is to go out there and be the pitcher we know he can be.”(Via The Orange County Register)
Syndergaard only pitched 55.1 innings across 12 starts, meaning his average start only lasted roughly 4.2 innings — not nearly enough for someone expected to be a staple in the rotation. Even as his performance has declined since his time as a New York Met, Syndergaard’s ERA last season in Philadelphia was over 3 runs lower across almost as many innings.
With a bullpen that has proven to be spotty at times, having a pitcher who can go 6 or more innings on a given start is incredibly important if the Dodgers expect to overtake the Arizona Diamondbacks for first place in the NL West.
Syndergaard must prove himself in the minor leagues, and ultimately in his Dodger Debut 2.0 after the break, if he is to expect to contribute to a team set on bringing home a banner.
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