By Paul DiSclafani
First the Mets placed 2B-Neil Walker on the 10-Day DL with a partially torn left hamstring. No surprise there if you saw Walker pull up lame running down to first last night against the Cubs. Also, no chance he is back after 10 days.
When Matt Harvey left the game after throwing just 58 pitches, one of them landing over the Shea Bridge courtesy of Kyle Schwarber, you knew something was wrong, it was just a matter of what. Arm fatigue? Soreness? Hang-Nail?
Following the game, Harvey lamented that “My arm was just not working at all. I think the last time I threw an 87 mph fast ball was in high school.”
Sure enough, turns out after an MRI and a CAT SCAN, he has a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder. He is going to miss several weeks. Hope the Mets don’t have one of those Obama Exchange plans because these tests must be costing them a fortune.
The Mets said that both Harvey and Walker received a PRP injection. Walker can begin rehab immediately after receiving the injection, but Harvey cannot begin until he is pain free. Neither is expected back for several weeks.
At a press conference today, general manager Sandy Alderson also said that Noah Syndergaard will not even throw a baseball for at least the next four weeks, meaning it will take a number of weeks after that to begin building up any arm strength. Mets are not expecting to see Syndergaard back with the Big Club until late August.
And oh yeah, The Nationals are coming into town tonight for a four game weekend series.
By Paul DiSclafani
Mets fans aren’t blind to what is happening. In the supposed words of Yogi Berra, “it gets late early out here”. We are only 55 games into the 162-game season, just about one-third of the way there, and at a season high of seven games under .500 (24-31), when is it no longer too early to worry? Even our beloved Mr. Met is having a breakdown.
Obviously the Spring Training plan of riding our starting pitching is shot to hell. The Jose Reyes resurgence has been a bust. Injuries to Lucas Duda and the sudden defensive liability of Asdrubal Cabrera have hastened the talk of promoting AAA rookies SS-Amed Rosario and 1B-Dominic Smith.
Three players that nobody was counting on in March have become their only reliable players – Michael Conforto, Jay Bruce and Zach Wheeler.
And the injuries to the top players have been devastating. The best offensive player on the roster, Yoenis Cespedes, has been out since April 28th with what was initially diagnosed as a “quad strain”. His 10-day stint on the DL has lasted 40 days. Two days later, the best starting pitcher on the roster, Noah Syndergaard, left his start against Washington and won’t be back until August – and that’s being optimistic, something the Mets fans have learned to never be.
9 days later, the best closer, Jeruys Familia, blew a save against the San Francisco Giants and he ended up on the DL and will be out for the season – and that’s optimistic.
In a period of two weeks, just six weeks into the season, the Mets lost players that would be ranked in the top 10 of their respective positions – offensive player, starting pitcher and closer. How do you recover from that? Who has the kind of depth to replace your top offensive player, your Ace starter and your closer, who saved over 100 games over the last two seasons?
How is this team not 17 games under .500? And the way the games have been going, why does it seems they should be 10 games over .500? The Mets bullpen has had 33 save opportunities in the first 55 games, but just 12 saves. Do we really need to rehash how overworked the bullpen has been because we can’t get the starting pitching to even come out of the dugout in the seventh inning?
It is still a little premature to write off the last 67% of the season, but there is a limit to our patience. I’d like to suggest that we wait until June 25th to officially give up on this season. You can wait another 20 or so games, can’t you?
Starting on Thursday (June 8), the Mets begin a stretch of playing 18 games in 17 consecutive days, including a West Coast road trip. Beginning on June 12, they will play 11 straight games against some of the top teams – the World Champion Cubs (3 games), our own Division Leading Washington Nationals (36-20) for four games and then travel to play the 35-24 LA Dodgers four times.
Is it realistic that by the time June 12 rolls along, the Mets are within striking distance of .500? Until then, they have two games against the Rangers and four against the Braves. 4-2 only gets them to 28-33 (five games below), so is 5-1 unreasonable to get them to 29-32 heading into that brutal 11-game stretch?
Do we shoot for breaking even against the best teams in the National League at 5-6 or 6-5? 6-5 gets us to 35-37 with 90 games left. I’ll do the math for you, that means a run of 11 wins in 17 games. Does this team have that in them?
During that time, the Mets are expected to get some pitching help as Stephen Matz and Seth Lugo return to make their season debuts. Cespedes may be back. Now that they have passed the ridiculous Rule 2 time-frame for rookies that establishes their first year of free-agent eligibility, maybe we see Rosario and/or Smith sooner rather than later.
Everyone likes to play amateur General Manager, so here’s my two cents:
- Give Lugo / Matz two starts and once we are comfortable, send Matt Harvey down to the minors to work out his issues. We can’t have the inconsistency or drama here at the major league level if we think we can contend. Wheeler, deGrom, Gsellman, Lugo, Matz are the starters.
- If you’re against sending Harvey down, send Gsellman to the bullpen to be our insurance policy for Matz/Lugo
- Release Reyes, promote Rosario and let Flores play 3B full time. That gives us a veteran switch-hitting bat off the bench, Cabrera that can spell Walker and/or Flores. Flores can also spell Duda at First.
- Cespedes to left, Conforto to center, Bruce stays in right. Granderson to the bench
- One more injury to Duda and you bring up Smith
- Stop overworking Edgin, Salas, Smoker, Reed in the bullpen. Have Gilmartin and Seawald be your long relievers. Send Robles and Harvey down. We already know that Plawecki can pitch in a blowout.
- Stop making pitch counts the reason to take pitchers out of a game and use your head. Let pitchers start the next inning, but be ready if they falter.
I’m rooting for them, are you? If not, do I really have to start paying attention to what is going on in the JETS training Camp?
By Paul DiSclafani
The hits just keep on coming in this disaster of a start to the 2017 season for the Mets.
Mets closer Jeurys Familia was diagnosed with an “arterial clot” in his right shoulder and is headed to St. Louis to see Dr. Robert Thompson for further tests. Thompson is the same surgeon that operated on Matt Harvey for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Familia, who has pitched in just 11 games this season after serving a 15-game suspension at the start of the season, has just three saves. Familia was charged with his first blown save of the season after surrendering four runs (three earned) to the Giants on Wednesday afternoon, failing to protect a 3-2 lead in a game the Mets eventually lost, 6-5.
Former Mets pitcher David Cone had a similar blood clot issue in his arm pit in 1996 and missed four months following surgery.
Familia had pitched just 9.2 innings in his 11 appearances, and was pulled by Manager Terry Collins twice already this year. He has 8 walks to go along with his 10 strikeouts.
By Paul DiSclafani
“Matt Harvey has been suspended for three days without pay for a violation of team rules and has been sent home,” Anderson said.
Alderson would not disclose the nature of the violation. Terry Collins would only say that the Mets were “keeping it in-house”.
Adam Wilk was called up from AAA Las Vegas to take Harvey’s spot in today’s game against the Miami Marlins.
On Friday, a picture of TJ Rivera was published by the Mets on their Social Media pages of him smiling and wearing the “crown” as the Mets player of the game. In the background, there appeared to be a large, black dildo in the locker of teammate Kevin Plawecki. The photo was immediately removed, cropped and reposted. Plawecki insisted he was innocent and had no idea how it got there or, more importantly, who might have put it there.
Maybe the Mets found out and then suspended Harvey? It’s a three game suspension, so Harvey will miss only one start no matter what the reason.
The Chicago Cubs are home vs. The Philadelphia Phillies tonight after a 5-4 road trip. Last night the Cubs lost a tough one in the rubber match of a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, a gem of a ball park.
The crowd was kind of anxious the whole night, either that or they were cold, dealing with temperatures in the high 40’s. It was a tight game, until the dramatic 8th inning. In the top half, the Cubs tied it up on a close play at the plate, which was ruled in the Cubs’ favor upon video review. John Jay scored from second base on a dash to the plate and barely made it home. The review concurred that he was safe and the Cubs had tied up the game on two walks and a passed ball. Sometimes, you don’t need a base-hit. Baseball can be funny that way.
The Red Sox scored four runs in the last of the 8th inning off the bullpen. Pedro Strop uncorked a wild pitch to score a run. Later, Addison Russell fielded a ground ball which would have a routine out but he threw to first in the dirt and the ball hopped away from first-baseman Anthony Rizzo, plating another two runs. The BoSox didn’t pop the ball, but the Cubs helped them in the 8th inning and head back to Wrigley, 13-11 for the season. It’s not a great start. The Cubs have a slim one game lead in the Division.
Nothing is going to come easy for this team, it appears. This is the Cubs. One hopes that the team finds its identity and character. You can’t expect to take the field and win every game. That attitude may help, but you have to play your way to the W. Last season, the Cubs did that 103 times.
If the baseball race is a marathon, then this may be about the 3 mile mark. Many more miles to go before the end.
The Yankees come to town soon, and that will be an event at Wrigley for sure.
By Paul DiSclafani
Are you kidding me? On the heels of Noah Syndergaard being scratched from his start this afternoon due to “bicep discomfort” and a tired arm, now the Mets are facing the possibility that their 2017 meal ticket, Yoenis Cespedes may miss significant time as he reinjured his hamstring running out a double in today’s game against the Atlanta Braves.
Cespedes, who returned to the lineup last night after missing four games with a “tight” hamstring last week, pulled up lame and needed to be helped off the field. Last season, Cespedes missed 14 games with a pulled hamstring after he returned too early from a “tight” hamstring. That injury dogged him for the rest of the season, forcing manager Terry Collins to keep him out of centerfield and exclusively in left.
The Mets have lost 9 of their last 10 and now their two biggest stars, Cespedes and Syndergaard, may not be available as they head to Washington for a weekend series with the First Place Nationals. You can bet that Cespedes will be put on the DL before the end of today. Brandon Nimmo is just beginning his rehab assignment out in Las Vegas and the Mets don’t have another outfielder on the 40-man roster, unless you count Matt Reynonds, who was brought up yesterday. He has played mostly left field.
How does this training staff keep their jobs?
By Paul DiSclafani
Mets are reporting that Ace Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 1.73 ERA) has been scratched from this afternoon’s start due to a sore bicep and a tired arm. Syndergaard will be examined by team doctors later today.
“He came in ready to pitch, and that just doesn’t make any sense to take a chance,’’ Collins said. “This guy’s a pretty big piece to the puzzle. We’ll just wait to have the doctors examine him and see where we are. Due to what’s happened the last couple of days with him after he’s cooled down — as you know, it’s quite obvious we cannot take a chance on him, hurting this guy, especially when you’re talking about anything that runs into the shoulder to where he changes his delivery and other things happen. Right now we’re going to back him up a couple days, and he would probably be available this weekend.”
Matt Harvey will take Syndergaard’s start against the Braves today and Jacob deGrom will start the weekend series in Washington on Friday with Zach Wheeler on Saturday. The Mets have not announced a starter for Sunday, hoping that Syndergaard will be available.
Syndergaard’s start on Tuesday was rained out and the Mets initially decided to start him on Wednesday and skip Robert Gsellman’s spot in the rotation. That would allow the beleaguered bullpen to have Gsellman available for the next few games. The Mets have lost nine of their last ten.
But it was Gsellman that started on Wednesday against the Braves, putting the Mets in a 5-0 hole before they even got up to bat. What happened? Apparently, the issue surfaced a couple of days ago, according to Collins.
“Two days ago, after he’d finished throwing, after he got done, he talked about some discomfort in his bicep, and [Wednesday] he went out, threw again, felt fine, and after we had our press conference yesterday, he was in the outfield shagging and during batting practice it flared up again,’’ Collins said. “They gave him some medication. He feels much better … but it’s not worth taking the chance — certainly with this young man the way he’s throwing the baseball — to pitch him.”
Apparently, Syndergaard couldn’t raise his arm above his shoulder on Wednesday after experiencing some discomfort earlier in the week.
Syndergaard insists he will be able to make his next scheduled start on Sunday, the final game of the Washington series. “In short, it’s a little thing right now, but I definitely don’t want it to turn into a big thing”.
By Richard Kagan
The Chicago Cubs have been putting up big numbers on the scoreboard on the road. They come back to Chicago in a week or so. Can they continue their current torrid streak at the plate?
Lately, the team has been averaging 8.8 runs per game and hitters are spraying the ball all over the field. Jason Heyward has found his swing and has hit three home runs in the last four days. He belted a three-run homer against the Pirates in a 14-3 romp. Heyward is now batting .294 for the young season with 3 home runs and 16 RBI’s. Last season he hit .230 with seven home runs and 49 RBI’s.
Heyward has said he’s been working on his swing and he hopes his production continues. So do Cubs fans.
Addison Russell had four singles and Ben Zobrist hit a bases-loaded clearing double. Kris Bryant is finding his stroke and had a three hit night. So did Miguel Montero. Listen, these guys can hit. They hit in the dreary-like conditions in Pittsburgh, where it was a good idea to dress with the winter coat.
Imagine what may happen on a sunny day at Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out? The way the pitching has been going, the Cubs may win 15-7. Last night Brett Anderson looked like a starting pitcher in his outing. The starting pitching looks a bit vulnerable now. Kyle Hendricks has yet to find his groove. Jon Lester has yielded more runs than usual. Jake Arrieta looks starter-ready. But the Cubs offense might off-set the shaky starters — for a while.
It is a long season, and the Cubs have played less than 20 games, but signs are looking positive, just as the Ivy begins to bloom again on the walls in the outfield. The Ivy will come up.
Hopefully the bats continue to come alive as we head deeper into Spring.
UPDATE: 4/21/17, 4pm: Pitcher Jacob deGrom was scratched from tonight’s start with a stiff neck and may pitch on Saturday. Matt Harvey will start tonight on four-days rest against the Nationals. Also – Mets put Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores on the 10-day DL and recalled infielder TJ Rivera (who will start at 3B) and P-Sean Gilmartin, who was sent back to the minors yesterday.
Like an old Buick that is nickel and dime-ing you to death, the Mets are dealing with a number of injuries that are not severe enough put players on the new 10-Day Disabled List, but are causing manager Terry Collins to shorten an already short bench. Last night, in the rubber game against the Phillies that the Mets lost 6-4, Collins had only three of his five bench players available – Juan Lagares, Kevin Plawecki (who was just brought up from AAA) and Travis d’Arnaud, who could barely hold a bat due to a wrist injury.
That makes a tough job even tougher when starter Noah Syndergaard looked like he might not make it past the fifth inning.
With Lucas Duda (hyper-extended elbow) already not available, his backup at first, Wilmer Flores, was scratched because of an infection in his knee. Although he is now taking medication, he will also be out a few days. That caused Collins to pencil in Jay Bruce to play first. It was only the fifth time that Bruce ever played first at this level. With no other infielders on the bench, do you know who the emergency infielder for the evening was? Gold Glove center fielder Juan Lagares, who played SS in the minor leagues.
With closer Jeurys Familia back from suspension and Plawecki needed to catch, the Mets sent down two pitchers last night, Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero. Gilmartin was a no-brainer, but Montero may be a sad ending to what was once a promising career. The kid just can’t seem to pitch at the major league level. How many more chances can one player be given?
And now Yoenis Cespedes will miss at least the entire Washington Nationals series this weekend.
Cespedes was running to second base during a double play ball hit by Bruce and only made it half-way before limping off the field. The Mets said, at the time, that is was a hamstring “cramp”. This is the same left-hamstring that nagged Cespedes all last season, forcing him to move from center field to left. He missed 14 games on the DL because of this last year.
Through an interpreter, Cespedes contradicted the Mets initial diagnosis. “It’s not a cramp. It felt like a shock. I’ve had this injury before. This time it doesn’t feel as serious.” Still, Collins and the Mets will be über cautious with their meal ticket. “Any time you’re talking about a hamstring, it’s a concern,” Collins said. “When you talk about a hamstring and a guy like that, with his muscle strength, you’ve got to be careful.” Cespedes is tied with Bruce for the team lead with six home runs.
With the Nationals (10-5) coming into Citi Field this weekend with their early 2-game lead over the Mets (8-8), they need a first baseman, a catcher, and a power hitting outfielder.
Maybe it’s at least time to look under the couch for that panic button…
Last week, Jay Bruce hit two home runs to help the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies. It was the first time in his Met career he had gone deep twice in a single game. Tonight, he did it again. This time he hit a three-run home run with the Mets down 2-0 in the sixth and after the Phillies tied it 3-3, Bruce un-tied it with a two-run laser beam in the bottom of the 8th. The Mets (8-7) snapped a four-game losing streak with the 5-4 win.
Bruce, who now has six home runs in the first 15 games of the season, hit only eight home runs in his 50 games with the Mets last season.
Starter Robert Gsellman (ND), put the Mets in a hole, allowing the Phils to score single runs in the fourth and fifth innings for a 2-0 lead while Vince Velasquez was having his way with the Mets offense. The Mets had just one hit, a double by Bruce in the first inning, and two walks as they batted in the bottom of the sixth and Velasquez had retired 10 in a row.
Then Gsellman, of all people, led off the sixth with a single, but was erased on Curtis Granderson’s 1-6-3 double play. But the Mets finally got to Velasquez before he could get the third out. Asdrubal Cabrera singled to center and Yoenis Cespedes worked out a walk to keep the inning going. Then Bruce hit a line drive over the right field wall for his fifth home run, giving the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Gsellman got the Phillies 1-2-3 in the seventh and had already thrown 98 pitches, but with manager Terry Collins using 6 pitchers last night in the final three innings, he sent him back out there to start the eighth. Aaron Altherr greeted Gsellman’s first pitch and hit a ground rule double to left, prompting Collin to have a quick hook and bring in Jerry Blevins.
Blevins got Osdrubal Herrera on a grounder that moved Altherr to third for the first out, then struck out Maikel Franco. But light hitting Michael Saunders fisted a ball into short left that Cespedes dove for but couldn’t come up with and the Phillies tied the game 3-3. Once again, the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead.
With gloom and doom settling into the minds of the dwindling number of fans toughing it out at a cold, wet Citi Field, Cespedes greeted Edubray Ramos (L, 0-2), who relieved Velasquez, with a single to center on a 3-0 pitch. That brought up Bruce, who took the first pitch for a ball, then lined a shot to the same part of the ball park in right field, just clearing the right field wall for his sixth home run and giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.
Addison Reed came on in the ninth and gave up a run on a sacrifice fly after Freddie Galvis tripled, but earned his fourth save and made a winner of Hansel Robles (3-0), who got the final out of the eighth, a strikeout.
Noah Syndergaard (1-0) starts the rubber game tomorrow against Aaron Nolan (1-0). Syndergaard is 4-0 lifetime against Philadelphia with a 1.37 ERA and 30K in four career starts.
TWO INJURIES IN THE FIFTH
Both Travis d’Arnaud and Lucas Duda left the game with injuries suffered in the fifth inning. D’Arnaud banged this throwing hand on the batter’s bat as he attempted to throw out a runner stealing. Duda left the game with a hyperextended left elbow after he made contact with runner Cesar Hernandez on a throw from Gsellman that was offline. Later in the inning, with Altherr hitting, d’Arnaud hit his bat on this follow through, bruising his right wrist.
FAMILIA READY TO RETURN
Jeurys Familia will return to the Mets on Thursday night after sitting out the first 15 games during his suspension for domestic violence.
POSITIVES: Bruce had three hits (2-HR and a 2B) and five RBI on the night and leads the Mets in home runs (6) and RBI (14). He has his average up to .309 … Mets pitchers struck out 11 Phillies … Jose Reyes went 0-3 and his average dropped to .094 … David Wright went through drills with the team during the day and even took batting practice … Renee Rivera, who took over for d’Arnaud in the sixth, had another hit and is batting .316 for the year
NEGATIVES: Cespedes ran through a stop sign in the first inning and was thrown out at the plate on Bruce’s double, as he tried to score from first. At least this time he slid …
Paul DiSclafani is a featured writer on “A View From The Bench”, which has been recognized by Major League baseball as one of the top 100 blog sites.