Terry Collins the manager is aware and so are the Mets that April is nearing an end and though it looks like the season is over there is still plenty of baseball to be played. The Mets postgame clubhouse Thursday afternoon, and after their sixth straight loss did not sense any urgency to losing Yoenis Cespedes and a bad hamstring for a month or more.
They were not concerned that their ace Noah Syndergaard was scratched from his start. Nor was there the urgency that a season was slowly slipping away at this juncture despite a 8-13 record and falling into last place in the NL East.
Matt Harvey got the start and was not in tune. He said the mechanics were off with an unexpected start that was supposed to go to Syndergaard but the Mets woes continued with an abbreviated two-game sweep by the Atlanta Braves and that 7-5 loss concluded a 1-7 homestand, and dropping 10 of their last 11 games.
Heading to Washington and facing the first place Nationals as the last place team does not make things any better. And Collins had to send a message that was urgent.
“Last year we lost David Wright, he’s out again this year,” he told his team. “We lost Cabby. We lost Walk. We lost Duda. We lost Ces. We lost Harvey. We lost deGrom. We lost Matz. OK, we still made it through. We can do that again. But it’s got to start now.”
That was last year, and much sooner this time the key components to this team that depends on the home run ball and pitching have placed Collins into a semi panic point of urgency. The manager had no other option to get his points across and even that may not spark a plug with a dormant offense and team that seems to lack energy.
Enough said. Even if it’s April and last place the Mets believe, and have every reason to say so, that the season is far from over. Of course with 141 games remaining the season is far from done but that was a losing clubhouse in the bowels of Citi Field.
“We know it’s April but there is a fine line to know we have to continue the grind and get it going,” Neil Walker said. Walker, like most in the lineup that Collins has put on the field, has not been productive. There did not seem to be a sense of urgency from Walker or Jay Bruce.
Collins said there were seven all-stars in the clubhouse. “It’s now time to grind it out. They have to care, come out, play with some energy and get this thing going and I do believe they can do it.” The manager was not offering excuses about the weather conditions this month as Cespedes headed to the hospital for further evaluation regarding the sprain left pull to the hamstring.
And he stopped the questions about Cespedes who could be lost for a significant amount of time.
“You can write all you want, well, we should have put him on the DL. Well, we didn’t, because we didn’t think it was necessary, because he said he was going to be able to play,” Collins said.
And without Cespedes, who is the Mets offense, the Mets have to find options. Lucas Duda is still disabled with a hyper extended left elbow and Wilmer Flores is not ready for a return with a right knee infection. Collins in his postgame sounded again like the manager who was there last season trying to inject some life into a team that rebounded from the struggles.
But face the facts.This is not last year and it’s the end of April with a team 1-10 in their last 11 games, batting .184 overall and averaging three runs per game during that span. Yes, you don’t win many games that way no matter if it’s April, May, June, July, August or September.
And there are no indications that the Mets are ready to call up the youngsters. Amed Rosario the shortstop and Dominic Smith who are tearing up the ball in Triple-A Las Vegas could be an immediate remedy to the situation but they would need to play everyday or those reinforcement call ups would be useless.
The young stars of this pitching rotation that are supposed to take the Mets to the promised land, and for a long time, are very much in question. Again this is April, but the injuries are becoming so common and Collins with some frustration said he was tired of taking trips to the training room.
Don’t blame the manger as much as many Mets fans believe he is the culprit. It’s a matter of a veteran team mixed with some youngsters that may not be very good and still looking at that successful year of 2015 that never goes away.
“They have to care and play with some energy,” Collins said. That was a message apparently sent to a team that is showing no energy and at this point a boring team that shows no energy on the field. Though, and again, by all means that energy should return at some point when the injured return and when Cespedes is at full health.
Remember, this is still April and not September as the Mets continue to steep lower in the standings and at a time when playoff positions are not determined.
Said Jose Reyes who hit his first home run of the season in the fifth inning, a solo shot that made no difference, “We have to change the attitude when we are down 2-0. This is baseball and it all depends on how you bounce back.” He had his best game at the plate with three hits and drove in two runs.
But Reyes could also be a part of this problem, along with Curtis Granderson with a .147 average. And Travis d’Arnaud is on another skid, 0-for his last 16 , still having difficulty nailing runners and was ineffective again allowing the Braves to run in a four-run fifth inning.
As for Syndergaard, who has quickly and quietly become a leader in the clubhouse, that bicep remains to be determined. The ace who may be hurting because of a scratched start was packing his bags and not to the disabled list.
But “Thor” was in mid season form and did not take questions. Instead, Syndergaard sent a message to Mets Media Relations head Jay Horwitz. “Jay, will you tell your minions to go away.” Yes, we left and let Syndergaard contemplate and there is no definite answer if he will miss his next start.
The question is where will the Mets be after the next three games? Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg await the Mets as they take their turn on the mound for the Nationals. Syndergaard is a question mark.
It’s April. Yes we know. But in a few days this could be a done season for the Mets knowing there are many more games to be played and there is still time to get that energy back.
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