Before the skeptics say the New York Mets need a witch doctor to cure the ailments, there is one reason for optimism. There are 27 games left, only two games away from that second NL wild card and help was on the way Friday night at Citi Field despite another loss to the division leading Washington Nationals.
The teams ahead, Cardinals, Pirates and Giants all came up short. But Jacob deGrom was the latest starting pitcher who will miss a start. Yes, the sick bay continues in Flushing, and now deGrom has to rest soreness that hinders his right forearm.
That developed Thursday night at Citi Field when deGrom left the mound as the Mets failed to sweep the Marlins.
The good news, deGrom does not have damage to the forearm and an MRI Friday revealed some inflammation that will require rest. The Mets have heard this repetitive song this season as three key components of their starting staff have missed starts, or have been placed on the disabled list.
Though the Mets and deGrom are optimistic he will only miss a start, Matt Harvey is out for the season with surgery to his right shoulder, and lefthander Steven Matz awaits his return as he recovers from left shoulder tightness.
So, the lone survivors at the Sick Bay by Flushing Bay, are the veteran 43-year old Bartolo Colon and righthander Noah Syndergaard who has a bone spur on his right elbow.
You heard the song, “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” and for the Mets with this continuing stigma of injured pitchers, their supposed strength, stopping them from seeing trainer Ray Ramirez would be a welcome reprieve.
Who would have conceived that the old man, Bartolo Colon, would be their most effective starter with Noah Syndergaard who took the hard luck loss Friday night. Then again, Colon does not have the muscle or strength of throwing a 95 plus fastball, but at times you would never know.
There is no answer to what is going on with this rash of injuries, not only to this core of pitching that is supposed to carry the Mets into the postseason again this year. The only answer is the amount of innings and pitches they threw into early November had ramifications.
And those consequences have led to this sick bay situation, one of elbows and shoulders that have made Ramirez a constant fixture to those who watch, cover and follow the Mets.
So, when does this end, and with not much time remaining to get the sick bay at Flushing Bay back to normal.
“Pretty good, relief it’s nothing more,” said Collins regarding no structural damage to deGrom when he was informed that his righthander needed some rest and had no damage to the forearm.
Then, Collins said, “As we always say, rest is the best medicine right now.” However, this is not time for rest. Collins is aware his team needs good pitching to fight this battle and with a schedule during this stretch in their favor.
Syndergaard continues to pitch and showing no bad effects with the prognosis of a bone spur in his pitching elbow. His command has been up to par and. Friday night at Citi Field, overall, it was his fourth straight quality start facing the Nationals, the team dominating the NL East and the Mets this season.
But the Mets lost 4-1, and did not lose ground in their quest for a NL wildcard postseason spot, and that was the good news.
“He’s back on track,” Manager Terry Collins said about Syndergaard. “Throwing the ball well against a very good lineup. Not enough support,” he said about the one-run and four hits the Mets compiled against Nationals starter and winner AJ Cole, and four relievers.
Collins said, he talked to the trainers twice during the day to get news about deGrom. He was aware of an issue Thursday night, however did not think it was serious with his starter who sustained his 8th loss.
DeGrom said he was also relieved and expects to return after skipping his start that was scheduled for Tuesday in Cincinnati. This does not appear to serious and a season ending situation, but the way the Mets are handling news about their sick bay patients, who is to know what will be the outcome?
“The main goal is to stay healthy and go out there every five days,” deGrom said in the Mets clubhouse after their latest loss. “It seems our guys have had a hard time with that this year. I want to be out there but have to make sure everything has calmed down.”
Meaning, as deGrom said, to make sure the shoulder is healthy and there is no damage
“Not as frustrating when you look up and see you haven’t lost ground,” Collins said. “It’s all about us taking care of our own business.” In baseball vernacular, of course that means winning as many ballgames as possible down the September stretch.
However, if those hard throwing and young arms continue to be a part of the sick bay by Flushing Bay, not many games will be won. Again the Mets went back to their bad habits at the plate and could only compile four hits. They will never recover from an early deficit and expect the replacement starters to come up big all the time.
Once veteran scout at the ballpark was asked Friday night about the latest setback to a Mets starter,
“Something is not right, but if they recover the Mets are dangerous down the stretch.” And that is the key question: When will they recover? The inability to be consistent at the plate is one aspect, and of course having that proper core on the mound.
Yoenis Cespedes is playing hurt and will be monitored day-to-day. Asdrubal Cabrera plays hurt with a bad knee, though homered again for the Mets lone run.
But the Mets need their pitching to be strong, the core that helped propel them to a NL pennant last season. And if deGrom can’t recover, it’s wait until next year.
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