There’s two questions I look to have answered whenever I’m at Citi Field. How many games are the Mets behind in the wild card race? And who’s on the injury report this time?
It’s another day at the ballpark and the Mets have yet another injury update to provide us.
The latest M.A.S.H. Metroplitans’ report features an update on Jacob deGrom. On Friday evening the Mets announced that deGrom is dealing with right forearm soreness, his MRI was clean but he’ll miss his next start.
The news basically confirmed what everyone probably already figured out after watching deGrom labor through five innings in the Mets’ loss to the Miami Marlins the night before.
After the game deGrom did his best to assure everyone that his control issues were more mechanical-related than anything to do with his health.
Well, nice try young man. No one was buying it.
So the Mets will again hold their collective breaths on deGrom, the same as they’re doing for Steven Matz, and everytime Yoenis Cespedes tries to run the bases on his nagging quad.
Another day, another injury update. It’s become more of a popular conversation this summer than the race for the two National League wild cards no team seems to want.
The Mets, meanwhile, must go on with the show. They’re breathing down the neck of the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants for one of those two wild cards.
If the Mets are going to continue applying the pressure in the standings, they’d better hope the M.A.S.H truck doesn’t run out of supplies along the way.
Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman, and even Rafael Montero have made out to be decent band-aids for the wounded pitching staff, however the questionable health of deGrom and Matz leaves this team vulnerable.
This is the part where the dramatic superhero music begins to play in the background as all eyes turn to Noah Syndergaard.
On a day where injury news once again dominated the topic of conversation around the ballpark, the Mets needed Syndergaard to do more than be a band-aid.
The Mets turned their attention towards the visiting Washington Nationals for a key weekend series. If the Mets can take at least two of three from the National League East division leaders, it could be a huge statement to the remaining teams in playoff contention.
The statement would have to wait as the Nationals had other ideas.
A.J. Cole, in just his fourth big league start gave up only one run and three hits in six innings of work as Washington would defeat the Mets 4-1 Friday night.
Syndergaard threw seven strong innings, but the two runs he allowed were due to his continued failure to keep opponents from running on him all night.
45 runners have stolen a base off Syndergaard this season, that’s a stat which should keep him up at night. And boy did the Nationals ever get the memo, they stole four bases off him.
Syndergaard will have to figure out a way to limit opposing teams from running on him so much, something’s got to give in that area.
The Mets didn’t exactly provide much of anything in terms of run support, but when games are close like this one was, Syndergaard’s inability to hold a baserunner at first base comes into play.
What Syndergaard’s seven-inning performance did do, however, was come at a time where the Mets needed him more than at any other point in the season.
On this night, where the Mets managed not to lose ground in the wild card race, they did come away with a moral victory.
Moral victories won’t elevate the Mets into the playoffs, but, make no mistake about it, this team can benefit greatly from Syndergaard’s gritty effort.
He’s pitched more like his Thor nickname in recent starts and less like the superhero who lost his powers earlier this season.
Mets manager Terry Collins knows his team can’t afford to squander opportunities they’re getting from Syndergaard’s strong starts.
“Right now, we’ve got to win them all.” Collins said.
The Mets, wounded and ailing, have to keep going. There’s two more games against the Nationals and then a favorable September schedule they’ll try to take advantage of.
deGrom is hurting, and so is Matz. They both believe they’ll be back on the mound sooner than later. The chances are the next time I walk into Citi Field, one of their names will be on the injury report.
Collins took an extra deep breath when he spoke of deGrom’s prognosis. He took another one when he was asked about the Mets not losing any ground in the playoff race.
The Mets might be spent from taking so many deep breaths on the status of their key players. But at least, even in defeat on this night, Syndergaard gave them seven innings of optimism.