Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard isn't pitching like the dominant pitcher he has shown capable of being. And he knows he needs to be better.
"To be quite honest, the entire beginning of this season, my performances have been unacceptable," Syndergaard told reporters after Sunday's 6-4 loss to the Cardinals. "I have to be better. I will be better. There's no excuses for it."
Syndergaard (1-2, 5.90 ERA) allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in five innings, giving up at least four runs for the fourth time in five starts this season.
Handed a 1-0 lead after Pete Alonso's first-inning home run, Syndergaard allowed three runs in the second inning and two in the third, as the four solo home runs the Mets hit -- including one by Syndergaard himself -- were not enough in the rubber game of the three-game set.
"[Syndergaard] knows he needs to get better," manager Mickey Callaway said. "We need to get better as a pitching staff. That's just the bottom line. We gotta pitch better than we are. And we will. I understand that guys go through tough times as a staff, and that's what we're doing right now."
Syndergaard allowed a leadoff walk and then a single to Yadier Molina in the second inning. Two batters later Kolton Wong hit an RBI single that tied the game at 1. After an Amed Rosario error and a flyout, Syndergaard gave up a two-run single to Paul Goldschmidt that made it 3-1.
He faced the same two-on, no-out jam in the third inning, but gave up a run-scoring groundout and an RBI double to Dexter Fowler.
"I think today, the leadoff walks hurt him," Callaway said. "The two innings they scored multiple runs were both leadoff walks in the inning."
This year, he has an ERA near 6.00. Opponents are hitting .268 off him. His only quality start was April 4, when he allowed two runs and one hit in six innings against the Nationals.
A year ago, Syndergaard went 13-4 with a 3.03 ERA. He knows he is capable of more.