Fennelly: Injuries Have the New York Mets Living in Bizarro World Again

The New York Mets came into the 2017 season with high expectations. This would be the year they would realize their potential behind their powerful starting pitching rotation and veteran lineup. But just six weeks into the season, their ship has run aground.  Injuries have stripped them practically bare again.

On the surface, the Mets (16-18) have the appearance of a team that is climbing out of a late April rut, having won six of their last ten games and four straight series. But they are not. They are a team that can only hope to run in place for the moment until this latest spate of bad luck passes. When that will happen, or even if it will happen, may not be soon enough to save their season.

The Mets usually reserved general manager, Sandy Alderson, has the look of man these days who is running out of options. That’s because he is. His club has lost it’s biggest offensive threat in OF Yoenis Cespedes, it’s top pitcher in Noah Syndergaard and it’s closer, Jeurys Familia, to injuries with no clarity on when any of them will see the field again. It’s like some type of Greek tragedy, twists of fate that cannot be explained away.

Manager Terry Collins is also devoid of answers. He is charged with the task of trying to defray those losses, a job no manager, living or dead, can get done. In addition to their longterm injury issues, Collins has some short term ones to deal with. He has two other starting pitchers on the shelf at the moment in Steven Matz and Seth Lugo along with his starting catcher, Travis d’Arnaud.

His starting rotation is currently led by Jason deGrom (2-1, 3.80 ERA), who has given the Mets five quality starts in seven turns this season. That’s the good news. The rest of the current rotation consists of Matt Harvey (2-3, 5.63 ERA), Zach Wheeler (2-2, 4.18 ERA), Robert Gsellman (2-2, 6.54 ERA) and newcomer Tommy Milone (0-0, 3.60 ERA).

Harvey is a mess right now. Coming back from a serious operation to address a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome, he has lost command of his once-daunting arsenal of pitches. He is inconsistent, lacks his usual confidence and is very hittable. Adding to his misery, his beau, Brazilian model Adriana Lima, is cavorting with other men and women around the world in exotic settings while he toils in places such as Milwaukee.

Wheeler is back in the rotation after missing two seasons following Tommy John surgery. He has displayed good velocity in his pitches but overall, he’s been average. Gsellman has been very disappointing after a solid showing in spring training. The bottom line is these two only have one quality start apiece between them in 12 combined outings. Ouch.

The bullpen survived without Familia during his 15-game suspension to start the season, but the fact of the matter is they’ve been treading water. They have only converted eight of 13 save opportunities and the Mets are 9-1 when they don’t surrender a run, 7-17 when they do. Without Familia, the confidence level in this group is low.

Their team ERA is 4.72, 28th overall and they have a WHIP of 1.42, also 28th overall.

On offense, the Mets have been a surprise of sorts. They have been getting on the board early, scoring in the first inning in nine of their last 11 games. They have scored five or more runs in 11 of the last 14 games and get this – they lead the majors with a .320 (73-228) batting average with runners in scoring position, a stat which has flummoxed them for years. They also lead the majors with a .412 on-base percentage with RISP.

They are 10th in runs scored with 171 but are still only batting .236 as a team this season, which is not going be good enough with the pitching they’ve been getting. Their 10 stolen bases are send-to-last in baseball, mainly because Jose Reyes has an on-base percentage of .265 this year.

All tolled, the Mets are going to have to find a way to hold down the fort until the cavalry comes back to town. Whenever that will be.

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