Earlier in the day, Matt Harvey was done for the season with season ending surgery with shoulder discomfort due to thoracic outlet syndrome. Then Friday night at Citi Field, after the New York Mets lost to the Washington Nationals 3-1, the status for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and right hander Noah Syndergaard remain to be determined after the all-star break.
A strained quad for Cespedes, and arm fatigue that caused Syndergaard to leave his start after 4.2 innings are the new issues that has manager, Terry Collins concerned and frustrated.
And there is more frustration when Collins continues to address the constant medical conditions of his team.
Yes, this is a concern. Collins has that pain etched in his face, and you hear it in his voice. There are more medical updates at Citi Field about the state of his roster, enough to make any manager kick a bucket.
The Mets, in this stretch of 11-games at home before the all-star break have been managing the situation by winning, using the home run ball and scoring a lot of runs. They did not do that Friday night because Stephen Strasburg improved to 7-3 with a 2.53 ERA in his 12th start against them in his career, 3-0 this season with an impressive 1.83 ERA.
But as Collins said, “Nobody is going to feel sorry for us.” And Collins, last season also had to manage with adversity before reinforcements came in prior to the trading deadline. And, we all know what occurred when the puzzle came together as his team came up short in the World Series to the Kansas City Royals.
However, if Cespedes, who has been swinging a hot bat, and Syndergaard who had been pitching well as the new ace with a minor bone spur to his elbow, are out long term, well getting to the pinnacle point of September will be a difficult task.
It’s a simple equation: A Mets team, already without Harvey, who was having issues from his first start, and without a Syndergaard in the rotation, will need reinforcements or expectations for another run to the postseason get that more difficult.
And, that also goes for Cespedes, their leading home run hitter and slugger. Syndergaard and Cespedes will probably miss the all-star game festivities in San Diego next week. But as they say, there will be more chances to get there.
What is more important, is that Collins has them both healthy enough for the second half that begins next Friday in Philadelphia.
“We’re running out of bodies,” Collins said in his postgame comments Friday night. David Wright most likely will not return with his surgery to get his back and neck in playing shape. There is no word when Lucas Duda is expected to return with a lower back stress fracture.
And the return of Zach Wheeler to the mound is not any closer. The lefthander, was on his way back from Tommy John Surgery, and now that has been pushed back.
So, there is frustration and concern in that New York Mets clubhouse. At the same time, dealing with adversity, something that many experienced last season, is not breaking a mood of optimism.
However, when your main slugger is experiencing a quad issue, and your ace has arm fatigue, that leaves many doubts about a team that depends on them to get them back to playing ball in October.
And the main three, Cespedes, Syndergaard and closer Jeurys Familia, who notched his baseball best 31st save Thursday night, are major components of this team. The way this injury bug continues to plague the Mets, they hope Familia avoids any type of arm fatigue or injury.
“Injuries are going to happen,” Wilmer Flores said. “We have to find a way to go out there and play. Don’t want that to put us in a tough position. That happened last year. That has happened this year.”
Flores is on a torrid pace,and it is obvious he needs to stay healthy ,and from the way Collins talks there can’t be any room for another key component on his roster to miss a significant amount of time.
“He tells me there is nothing wrong,” Collins said about Syndergaard. “He’s just tired.” Yes, some rest can be a good cure but there is that constant issue of a bone spur, and the one that is also an issue with lefthander Steven Matz.
Reinforcements if this continues to be a lingering issue? The Mets have minimal trade bait with many going in trades to get Cespedes and other moves GM Sandy Alderson pulled off the past two years.
And in the minor league system, Michael Conforto is working his way back from Triple-A Las Vegas. And T.J. Rivera, the New York kid of 26-years of age is playing solid at third and in the outfield, also ripping with ball and among the leaders in the PCL with a .363 average and 63 runs batted in.
If Syndergaard goes down for the long term, Rafael Montero, the once promising righthander may need to be one of those reinforcements. Though the Mets hierarchy are not as high on Montero, as they once were with his tendency to give up a lot of runs and hits in the PCL with Las Vegas.
So late Saturday afternoon, before the Mets take on the first place Nationals in the third game of four, and a crucial series before the break that sees them trailing the leaders by four in the standings, Collins will give the updates on Cespedes and Syndergaard.
It is expected that they will be shut down for the final games before the break, and highly doubtful they travel with their manager to San Diego where he will manage the NL all-stars.
Cespedes said through an interpreter about the quad strain that hindered him, this after a Daniel Murphy double in the third inning, “I hope so, yes,” about getting back in the lineup when the Mets resume play after the break. He had a similar injury with the Tigers in spring training last year and missed four or five days.
Rest is more crucial for them, rather than risking more injury in a meaningless exhibition game. And for Collins and the banged up Mets, the break comes at the right time.
Because if these key components of the National League defending champions are not at full capacity, then come October Citi Field will be very quiet.