Another day, another injury report, another win for the Mets.
On a day where Gabriel Ynoa became the third Mets pitcher to make his first major league start this season, the Mets found a way to continue their winning ways.
Oh, by the way, that’s the National League Wild Card leading New York Mets.
Ynoa struck out eight batters, while allowing one run on four hits in 4.2 innings pitched, and T.J. Rivera continued his hot hitting with a solo home run. The Mets came away with a 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins, completing a three-game weekend series sweep Sunday at Citi Field.
The Mets found out over the weekend they’ll most likely be without Jacob deGrom for the remainder of the season with a recurring ulnar nerve issue in his right elbow.
The loss of deGrom meant it was Ynoa’s turn to follow behind Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman as the next man up to help keep the Mets afloat in their wild card pursuit.
Ynoa opened up the game with a solid 1-2-3 first inning, he’d go on to settle in after a shaky second frame and managed to keep the Twins at arms length by mixing up his pitches and impressively locating his off-speed stuff.
The Mets were hoping to get Ynoa through the Twins lineup at least twice in this game, he was able to deliver and, along with a surprising eight strikeouts, may have shown Mets manager Terry Collins enough to give him another start, if needed.
“Dan Warthen (Mets pitching coach) and I talked before the game and we said we’ll give him two times through the lineup, his first start, to see how he does,” Collins said afterwards of his game plan for Ynoa. “He got us into the fifth inning, he was tremendous.”
Collins wasn’t ready to assure Ynoa another start, at least not with the rehabbing Steven Matz still in the picture and trying to work his way back into the rotation. But still, it has to feel good to know he has another reliable arm on standby for his first-aid unit.
The loss of deGrom is disheartening, however hardly a surprise when . It’s another hurdle for the Mets to clear if they intend on finishing this wild run to the playoffs.
Collins has spent the majority of this summer holding his breath when it’s time to fill out his lineup card, Sunday’s game was no different.
The night before took extra innings for the Mets to defeat the Twins. Curtis Granderson’s walk-off home run provided plenty of feel-good vibes on a late Saturday night. The win was fun, however, the quick turnaround for an early Sunday afternoon game was obviously not.
Granderson, Jose Reyes, Jay Bruce, and Asdrubal Cabrera were all given a much-needed day off by Collins, although Cabrera did make an appearance as a pinch-hitter.
Cabrera pinch-hit for Lucas Duda in the sixth inning, Duda was playing in his first game in over four months. While Duda didn’t appear to show any lingering signs of the back injury which sent him to the disabled list, he went 0 for 2 with a strikeout.
It won’t be easy to find playing time for Duda, however it’s important for Collins to find opportunities where they are to get his bat involved. He’s still potentially a big bat worth having off the bench.
It should also be noted that Wilmer Flores is still nursing a sore wrist which required a cortisone shot a few days ago. Flores was unable to swing a bat before Sunday’s game, his status bears watching and also increases the importance of having Luda available and ready to play.
Yoenis Cespedes left the game after six innings in left field, due to nausea and dizziness, according to team reports. Collins, after the game, was optimistic that his power-hitter will be alright for the next game.
“The inning before we took him out he came up and said he just got sick in the runway and his legs were getting a little weak,” said Collins. “He was getting a little dizzy, so I took him out. He says he feels a lot better.”
The challenge remains, for Collins, to find spots in the schedule where he can rest his starters while also fielding a competitive team fighting for a spot in the playoffs.
Cespedes and his sore quad, like the others, could’ve also benefited from a day of rest. He was visibly favoring his leg while on the bases, it’s a problem the Mets have no choice but to handle delicately the rest of the way.
New York currently hold a two-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card and are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the first wild card. A month ago, the Mets were six games behind the Giants. They’ve managed to somehow continue taking care of their business on the field and in the standings.
The Mets are bruised, battered, and very much a flawed team. They’re also very much aware it’s the last lap of a season-long marathon which will require a strong finish in order to play baseball in October.