The New York Mets escaped a mediocre Noah Syndergaard start on Wednesday and the right-hander is desperate for answers at this point.
The 27-year-old even joked with reporters about potentially needing therapist and talk show host Dr. Phil to help him through his mental struggles with his breaking ball.
"I need Dr. Phil or something to help me out with that" – Noah Syndergaard pic.twitter.com/W6Bi9DZjNi
— SNY (@SNYtv) September 18, 2019
“It’s been the same issue for the entire year,” Syndergaard told reporters after Wednesday’s victory. “I don’t know what it is. I need Dr. Phil or something to help me out with that.”
Syndergaard has shown that he hasn’t been confident using his slider throughout this season. Compared to last season, Syndergaard has been throwing his slider 6% less this season. The fewer number of sliders have meant that Syndergaard has had to rely on his heater a lot more than previous seasons.
Among other speculation, Syndergaard also said that these struggles with his slider have nothing to do with the current catcher controversy that’s taking place.
After this start against the Rockies, it seems likely that Syndergaard’s issues have more to do with his inability to execute his slider. This season, Syndergaard has seen a 1.6% increase in his walk rate with his slider. Before this season, Syndergaard had also only surrendered one home run off his slider. So far this season, Thor has given up five home runs off his breaking ball.
In talking with reporters after Wednesday’s game, Syndergaard also spoke about how he feels opposing hitters are beginning to sit on his fastball. During high-leverage situations, Syndergaard has felt more confident in throwing his fastball compared to his slider. Although he also feels hitters are starting to notice that as well, which has mounted even more frustration for Syndergaard.
With just under two weeks remaining in the regular season, Syndergaard will likely receive one or two more starts before the conclusion of the 2019 campaign. The Mets are currently a long shot to make the playoffs, which means Syndergaard doesn’t have much time left to correct himself.
The Mets should be positioned to contend for a playoff spot once again next season. So, they’ll need Syndergaard to take these last few starts of the season, and continue working through the offseason for him to regain his confidence in his slider for next season.