By Paul DiSclafani:
Two more losses and more injuries. What is going on with the National League champion Mets?
Since the Mets limped into Washington, we learned that both Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard are pitching with bone chips in the elbows. While they are expected to continue pitching with said bone chips, how effective they will be depends on their tolerance to pain. Many veteran pitchers have been able to pitch with bone chips in their elbows and most are able to tolerate it during the season and opt for surgery after the season.
However, Matz and Syndergaard are not veteran pitchers and this type of discomfort – no matter how many MRI exams show no structural damage – will effect how they pitch and possibly what pitches they throw. Sliders are particularly painful with this type of injuries and both pitchers have been reducing their pitch selection because of it. Any major league hitter will tell you it doesn’t matter how fast your fastball is, if they know it is coming they will time it and hit it.
Then last night, in the 5-0 debacle that endured two rain delays, Curtis Granderson crashed into the outfield wall, never to return once the rain stopped in the fourth inning, and reliever Hansel Robles took a line drive off his leg and was in a crumpled heap before being helped off the field. At least the Mets got an out on that play.
Terry Collins’ press conferences have more a feel of a MASH Unit update instead of game details – and maybe that’s a good thing because they certainly have not been playing well at all. After losing 7 of 10 games in the last two weeks, the Mets actually picked up ground on the slumping Nationals. Of course that is, until they showed up in our Nation’s Capitol for a 3-game set on Monday.
After taking a surprising 4-0 lead with their Ace Syndergaard on the mound Monday, it all fell apart in the third inning. Actually, Syndergaard didn’t seem to have it all game as he loaded the bases in the first inning, only to get out of it without any damage. But it should have been a harbinger of things to come. Syndergaard surrendered five runs in the inning and never came back out for the fourth. The Nationals pelted the Mets bullpen for seven more runs in an embarrassing 11-4 win. After the game, Syndergaard and Collins both denied the rumors of bone chips in his elbow, only to have to eat crow the next day.
Last night, with the former Dark Knight, Matt Harvey on the mound, the Mets could manage only 5 hits in a dismal 5-0 loss. Harvey, who has looked very pedestrian in his last few outings and was not dominant at all, was cruising along with two outs in the fourth inning when the rain came having allowed just one run on four hits. Mother Nature finished his night off with an 85-minute rain delay.
With their two losses, the Mets have dropped five games behind the equally struggling Nationals and are now in third place, a half-game behind the Marlins, as they look to avoid the sweep with their stopper, Logan Verrett (3-4, 4.14) against Max Scherzer (8-5, 3.52). Steven Matz has been pushed back a day and will start tomorrow as the NL Central leading Cubbies come into Citi Field for a four game set. Think they are looking for revenge after being swept in the NLCS? It doesn’t get any easier after that as the Marlins come in for three, followed by the Nationals again, this time for four games right before the All Star break. That’s a 14-game stretch against the Nationals (7), Cubbies (4) and Marlins (3) of which the Mets are off to an 0-2 start.
JOSE REYES WATCH
Reyes was “promoted” to AA Binghamton on Tuesday after playing two games in Brooklyn (Single A) and is still looking for his first hit. His play at third has left much to be desired as he dropped a popup on Monday for an error and has let a few balls get past him for hits. Obviously you have more time to react to the ball at shortstop than at third, so this may take a while for him to feel comfortable. He will continue his minor league tour in AA before moving to AAA Las Vegas later this week. Don’t expect to see him up with the Big Club before the All-Star break unless something unforeseen happens. he just hasn’t played enough baseball to be thrown into a series against the Cubs this weekend.
GOURRIEL WORKS OUT
The Mets brain trust got their first up close look at Cuban third baseman Yulieski Gourriel in a private workout held down in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He took grounders and ran the bases, but did not take batting practice. He hasn’t played ball in six months. Team officials were impressed with his arm and his speed, but General Manager Sandy Alderson said that Gourriel is at least “a month away” from playing in the Big Leagues.
POSITIVES: Brandon Nimmo got his first major league hits on Monday and added another on Tuesday, so he is 3-8 in the series …
NEGATIVES: No sense in beating a dead horse, eh? The Mets lineup has just four regulars hitting over .260: Cespedes (.290), Loney (.286), Cabrera (.263) and Walker (.262) … What happened to working the count? Aljendra De Aza (who is hitting just .165) saw just six pitches in two AB’s (0-2) and Travis d’Arnaud saw just nine in three AB’s (0-3) … Remember Ollie Perez? He came in to the game for the Nationals in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out, trying to protect a 3-0 lead. Instead of walking in a run or giving up a bases clearing double, he struck out James Loney on a 2-2 pitch out of the strike zone and got Wilmer Flores to fly out to center. Geeze…