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The Dodgers hand the ball to Noah Syndergaard in Milwaukee today. He's making his first start in nine days after skipping a turn in the rotation to focus on some mechanical adjustments.

So far, Syndergaard's season has been underwhelming. The right-hander has struggled to keep runners off the base paths and runs off the board. He's allowed 40 hits and 22 earned runs over his first 31.1 innings this year, good for a 6.32 ERA over six starts. While he's limited the walks (just 4 free passes), he's not fooling people as evidenced by his low 21 total strikeouts.

Syndergaard's trouble putting hitters away seems connected to the fastball velocity he's lost since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020. Pre-injury Syndergaard used to average 98.7 mph on his fastball. Back then he had a healthy 26.4 strikeout percentage. Since the surgery, he's averaged just over 94 mph and has been down from that this year, sitting closer to 92 mph and posting a career-low 15.2 K%.

He came to the Dodgers hoping to reclaim some of that lost velocity but things haven't turned out that way so far.

Syndergaard opened up about some "mental blocks" he is trying to overcome. He mentioned feeling mentally inhibited in letting his fastball go since that 2020 surgery.

In an attempt to clear that block, he has tried everything, including hypnosis, according to the LA Times.

Several times in recent weeks, the pitcher has followed this new routine, slipping into a mind-numbing trance as mental skills coach Brent Walker hypnotizes him — literally — while seated by his side.

"I'll try just about any resource I have," Syndergaard said. "Just to snap out of it."

The LA Times provided an in-depth look into Syndergaard's current state of mind as he tries to return to the form he showed as recently as 2018, so it's worth a read for the full story. However, a few more takeaways echo a sentiment Thor has expressed since the earliest days of spring training: something is off mechanically.

"I know it's in there. I try to be explosive, 110%," he said. "But my movement just isn't efficient."... "I feel like I'm super close," he said. "I've been working really hard for the last four months now. And the work ethic and the desire and the will is always gonna be the same. That's the easy stuff."

Syndergaard will continue to get opportunities to get back on track with the first chance coming against the Brewers tonight.