The Mets have hopes of a deep playoff run, but to see all the medical issues the Mets have faced, it feels more like 1987 than 1986 around Flushing.
Sunday’s starter Noah Syndergaard is dealing with a bone spur, as is fellow pitcher Steven Matz. The cautious Mets recently moved Matz’s last start from Thursday in Washington to Friday against the Cubs. Syndergaard’s issue is not as serious, but it’s up to the prideful pitchers to be honest with the team about how they feel.
“We’ve had enough conversations with those two guys to make sure they understand that when it starts to flare up, they’ve got to give us immediate notice so we can certainly get them out and get somebody else in,” Terry Collins said prior to Sunday’s game.
Sandy Alderson noted on Friday that the standings do not reflect injuries, and there are no asterisks applied to team records because of them. However, a lot of questions about the team this season have been about what goes on in the trainer’s room as much as what happens on the field.
There was Matt Harvey’s bladder infection. Jacob deGrom missed a start in April because of right lat soreness. Zack Wheeler is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched since the 2014 season. Lucas Duda has been limited to 39 games because of a stress fracture in his lower back. David Wright’s future is up in the air as he looks to recover from his neck surgery. Juan Lagares just returned from a stay on the disabled list due to a sprained thumb he got diving for a ball. Even Curtis Granderson has missed the last few games with a sore right calf. Asdrubal Cabrera is out Sunday to rest his knee which had been “barking” according to Collins. And the Mets avoided disaster a few weeks ago when Bartolo Colon suffered a right thumb contusion when a one-hopper hit him on the mound but didn’t miss any starts, although he did exit that start against the Royals after four pitches.
In 1987, the pitching staff which was decimated. With Dwight Gooden already missing the first two months because of a drug use suspension, Bobby Ojeda had elbow surgery in May and was limited to seven starts. David Cone missed over two months when he broke a finger on his pitching hand while trying to bunt. Sid Fernandez missed three weeks after the All-Star break because of a knee injury. And Ron Darling injured his thumb while fielding a bunt and had to miss the final three weeks of the season.
The Mets looked to 42-year-old Tom Seaver in June, although he retired several weeks later when he decided he didn’t have what it took to pitch at the highest level. Now, with problems in the infield, the Mets turn to old pal Jose Reyes to pick up the slack at the hot corner. Unlike Tom Terrific, Reyes will not be retiring and will likely return to Queens sometime this week.
The 1987 Mets were 42-38 after 80 games. The current team is 43-37.
If the Mets should finish in second place, at least they would have a chance at one of the two wild card spots, a luxury not afforded to the 92-win Mets of 1987, who finished with the fourth-best record in the majors. And as banged up as the club has been, the important thing for the Mets is getting everybody healthy for the pennant run. Better to be banged up now with time to recover than to limp into the home stretch.