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Noah Syndergaard mentions ‘neurological patterns’ amid struggles

Noah Syndergaard has stumbled out of the gate this season to a troubling degree, and the New York Mets ace is leaving no stone unturned to identify the source of his struggles.

Syndergaard, coming off a loss to the Brewers in which he surrendered five runs in five innings of work, has his next scheduled start slated for Thursday against the Cincinnati Reds.

The Mets right-hander currently is examining the intricacies to his pitching approach — particularly on off days — a deep dive he believes will deliver a return to form.

“I don’t feel super-comfortable with my mechanics with runners on, basically,” Syndergaard said Monday, per the New York Post. “But it’s just all about getting good repetitions in between my starts, and that’s what I’ve been working on, because I feel like I’ve been doing certain body patterns my entire life, and I feel like I’ve seen something that needs to change over the last couple of years in order for me to become better.

“It’s just hard to overcome those neurological patterns of pitching that I’ve had my whole life. It’s a work in progress. I’m still confident in overcoming this. Just kind of correcting seven or eight years of doing something that I’d like to change.”

So far this season, Syndergaard has posted a 1-3 record with a 6.34 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. That said, some of his stats — strikeouts-to-walks ratio and line-drive percentage among them — encouragingly have remained consistent with last season.

On the other hand, Syndergaard has given up five home runs this season after surrendering only nine last season. Further, and as Syndergaard himself alluded to Monday, his substandard strand rate is a concern.

Of the baserunners Syndergaard has allowed, only 56.8% are left stranded on base, a far cry from the 76.6% he posted in 2018. Batters are slashing at a far better clip this season (.333/.378/.455 to .258/.351/.320 in 2018) as well.

Despite the early-season slump, a philosophical Syndergaard remains optimistic about turning around things.

“It’s not me really competing against the other team out there,” Syndergaard said. “It’s just me competing against my own self and finding myself.”