Dodgers' Noah Syndergaard drops heartbreaking quote after rough start vs Nationals

Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers
Washington Nationals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

The moment the Dodgers signed right-hander Noah Syndergaard this offseason, optimism reigned. After all, who's better at teaching pitchers to live with diminished velocity than Mark Prior, who'd just turned Tyler Anderson into an All-Star?

Prior's credentials were sound. The only questions that remained were, "Did Syndergaard possess the secondary stuff to survive with a lesser fastball? What about the mental fortitude to move on from the past?"

Don't muddy it. Syndergaard, at his peak, was a flame-throwing chin music specialist. This wouldn't be saying goodbye to just any fastball.

Instead of being able to run from it, though, Syndergaard has remained fully submerged in melancholy nostalgia mode. His most recent appearance against the Nationals featured five earned runs in five innings, powered by a trio of home runs. In the start prior, the Tampa Bay Rays' record-threatening offense waved him aside, piling up six runs in six innings. All in, his ERA now sits at 6.54 and his WAR has subtracted from the Dodgers' chances rather than propel them.

Syndergaard is, predictably, not handling this well. Any of us would do the same.

Dodgers starter Noah Syndergaard struggling with the 'new' him

No matter how you feel about the Syndergaard experiment, that's gutting.

This probably is the end of his road in Los Angeles. There's very little below the hood that indicates a bounce back for the right-hander. He's maintained elite command, but his stuff simply hasn't been good enough to record big-league outs. When you aren't walking people and are relentlessly dedicated to finding the plate but can't fool anyone, it's a recipe for disaster. Keeping the ball down won't do much for you if your fastball and curveball spin both remain below the 20th percentile.

Syndergaard's mental health is pertinent now, and it won't be any easier for him to swallow his pride when his time with the Dodgers does reach its inevitable end. The Old Syndergaard doesn't seem likely to return, and the new one doesn't appear to be a pitcher who merits a rotation spot with an NL contender. The sad reality is the experiment might be over league-wide, rather than only in Los Angeles.

If Prior can't craft deception from your arsenal, then it's possible it's time for all parties to move on.