Zack Wheeler

Time to Make a Run

The Mets have not won back-t0-back games since over a month ago.  At that time, they have gone from three back in the division and leading the race for the second Wild Card.  They have seen Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jose Reyes go on the disabled list.  Matt Harvey had season ending surgery.  The Mets have seen themselves fall to nine back in the division.

Yet, the Mets are still in the thick of the Wild Card race.

After a much needed day off, the Mets begin a six game homestand against two of the worst teams in baseball in the Diamondbacks and the Padres.  After that the Mets begin a West Coast trip starting with the Diamondbacks.  These are nine extremely winnable games.  If the Mets are a playoff team, they will steamroll through the Diamondbacks and the Padres and take possession of the second Wild Card spot.

Even better, they should have some help coming soon.  Jim Henderson, Zack Wheeler, and Reyes are on rehab assignments in St. Lucie.  Adding these health players along with a Michael Conforto, who hit an opposite field home run yesterday, gives you some optimism in what has mostly been a frustrating season for both him and the team.

All that anger and frustration can go away over the next nine games against two bad baseball teams.

Editor’s Note: this was also published on Mets Merized Online 

Trading Dilson Herrera Was a Bad Idea

Coming into the season, the Mets were high on Dilson Herrera, and they viewed him as the second baseman of the near future.  It is why the Mets let postseason hero Daniel Murphy walk, and they eschewed other long term free agent options to trade for Neil Walker who was a year away from free agency.  However, the Mets made it perfectly clear they were willing to forego Herrera as the second baseman of the future if the right player came along.  That is why the Mets doggedly pursued Ben Zobrist in the offseason.  For the right piece or for the right price, the Mets were going to move on from Herrera to make the team better.

It is just hard to believe that player was Jay Bruce.

There is a lot to like about Bruce.  He is a traditional slugger who is leading the league in RBI.  He has a very affordable team option.  He is insurance against Yoenis Cespedes missing an extended period of time this year, and quite possibly insurance against him leaving in free agency.  He also helps with a sluggish Mets offense and with the Mets inability to hit with runners for scoring position.  He is also more of the same.

This is a Mets team full of low OBP, high slugging outfielders – Bruce, Cespedes, Curtis Granderson, and Michael Conforto.  With the exception of Cespedes, all of the Mets current outfield options are left-handed batters.  What this team doesn’t have is a center fielder.  Currently, the best defensive center fielder on the team is Alejandro De Aza.  While he is the team’s hottest hitter and best defender, it is hard to imagine he is going to be an everyday player while the team sits one of Granderson or Conforto everyday.  In sum, Bruce is a nice offensive upgrade, but he doesn’t solve the teams problems.  With that in mind, it seems like Herrera was a steep price to pay for someone that doesn’t solve what ails the team.

It’s also selling low on Herrera in what has been a tough year for him.  Herrera has gone from a .327/.382/.511 hitter to a .276/.327/.462 hitter in AAA this year.  He has had nagging shoulder issues, and he has fallen into some bad habits at the plate.  It has been the first time the 22 year old has struggled at the minor league level.  However, given the fact that he is still young for his level, and the fact that his struggles are closely associated with an injury, there is every reason to believe Herrera will rebound and become the All Star second baseman the Mets envisioned he would become.  That is a steep price to pay for a duplicative player that does not solve the Mets problems.

We are just seeing it now with Michael Fulmer in Detroit.  Fulmer was the big time prospect the Mets traded last year.  He is the leading Rookie of the Year contender, and he is certainly in the Cy Young conversation with him going 9-2 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.089 WHIP.  With each and every dominant start, it is a stark reminder how much the Mets need him this year with Matt Harvey‘s season ending surgery and Zack Wheeler being well behind schedule to return to the rotation.  Overall, the idea behind trading Fulmer was to trade from depth to acquire a missing piece . . . a missing piece that was an imperfect fit.  As we see last year, the Mets supposed depth was an allusion.

Now, the Mets did trade from depth with Herrera.  Gavin Cecchini could move from shortstop to second, which now seems to be his destiny with the meteoric rise of Amed RosarioWilmer Flores could move over there next year.  The Mets could always re-sign Neil Walker or another free agent or make another trade.  Depending on David Wright‘s health, Jose Reyes could move from third to second.  There are any number of factors at play, but as we see again this year, the Mets can never have enough depth as this team seems more snakebitten than any other team in the majors.  With that in mind, the Mets are now less deep at second base, and they are quite possibly without their best second base option for next year.

The Mets traded away another big time prospect for another slugging corner outfielder.  Hopefully, Bruce will have a similar effect on the Mets as Cespedes did last year.  The Mets are going to need that type of performance to help them get back to the postseason.  They are going to need that type of performance to help Mets fans forget about the player they gave away in Herrera.

Brandon Nimmo Is Going to Homer Tonight

Last year, the Mets seemingly had a trade in place for Carlos Gomez sending Citi Field abuzz, or in this day and age, I should say a-twitter.  Apparently, the only person who was unaware that a trade happened was the Mets manager Terry Collins who kept a crying Wilmer Flores in the field.

As we would subsequently discover, the trade would fall apart due to Gomez’s hip.  As a result, Flores and Zack Wheeler would remain New York Mets.  In the next game Flores would play, he would do this:

Today, Brandon Nimmo finds himself in a similar situation.  He was supposed to be part of the trade that sent Jay Bruce to the Mets.  As one of the Mets minor leaguers in the trade failed a physical, the deal had to be reworked.  The resulting deal was the Mets sending Dilson Herrera to the Reds instead of Nimmo.

As we saw with Wilmer Flores, the only possible result to this fiasco is Nimmo hitting a game winning home run tonight to beat the New York Yankees.

Where Mets Trade Rumors Stand As of Right Now

According to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, the Mets have inquired about Jon Niese, and the team may be interested in Mark Melancon.

Niese makes a lot of sense for the Mets.  With the Mets not knowing when and if Zack Wheeler can come back this year and Steven Matz dealing with bone spurs in his elbow, it would not hurt for them to have some insurance in their starting rotation even if it is Niese, who was dreadful as a starting pitcher this year.  The hope is that Niese could get back to what he was with the Mets when he is once again working with Dan Warthen.  It is also possible that Niese could pitch out of the bullpen for the Mets as he did so well for them last year.

Niese was demoted to the bullpen by the Pirates, and he has made four appearance so far pitching well.  He is 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and a 1.080 WHIP.

On the other hand, it is hard to believe the Mets could also acquire the pending free agent Melancon from the Pirates even if it was a package deal to take on both Niese and Melancon.  Melancon is having another outstanding year as the Pirates closer going 1-1 with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 0.960 WHIP in 45 appearance.  Either this is a ploy to drive up the price of Melancon as the Nationals are interested in him, or it’s the Mets trying to get him on the cheap by having the Pirates try to package him with Niese.  It is doubtful the Mets would give up the prospects necessary to land him to have him set up for Jeurys Familia.

The Mets are apparently more interested in a bat now due to Juan Lagares‘ injury.  In other news, the Mets were interested in Steve Pearce, but they have found the Rays asking price to be too high.  The Mets have also inquired on Jay Bruce as insurance for Yoenis Cespedes for both this year and the next. It should be noted that the Reds turned down a Bruce for Wheeler deal last year that resulted in the Mets acquiring Cespedes for Michael Fulmer last year at the trading deadline.

The Reds are also dangling Ross Ohlendorf, Blake Wood, and Tony Cingrani in the hopes of making a deal to alleviate some payroll for next year.  There are no reports that the Reds have discussed any of these relievers with the Mets in a deal that could or could not involve Jay Bruce.  However, we do know that the Reds have been scouting Kevin Plawecki for some reason or another.

If the Mets were able to move Plawecki for a Cingrani or a Wood, they have to consider it as they are both having good years out of the pen. Wood has made 44 appearances going 5-1 with one save, a 3.42 ERA, a 1.500 WHIP, and an 8.6 K/9.  Cingrani has made 46 appearances going 4-2 with 12 saves, a 3.20 ERA, a 1.267 WHIP, and a 6.4 K/9.  Both relievers are controllable past this year, and it appears as if Plawecki may never fulfill his offensive potential with the Mets.  It is worth a shot.

Potential Starting Pitching Targets

With Steven Matz taking the loss last night, he fell to 0-4 with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.475 ERA over his last seven starts. In those seven starts, he has been spotted rubbing his elbow in the dugout between innnigsm and he has thrown his slider less frequently.  He has been clearly affected by the bone spurs in his elbow that need to eventually be surgically removed from his elbow.  Matz’s problems highlight the Mets rotation issues which also include Noah Syndergaard‘s dead arm scare, and Matt Harvey having season ending surgery to address his thoracic outlet syndrom.

The options to fill Harvey’s spot in the rotation leave much to be desired.  Logan Verrett currently has a 5.20 ERA as a starter this year.  Both Gabriel Ynoa and Sean Gilmartin have pitched to an ERA over 6.00 for the past few months.  Zack Wheeler, who was initially slated to rejoin the rotation in the beginning of July, has had a number of setbacks and is still throwing bullpen sessions.  Best case scenario, Wheeler is back around mid-August.  That may be too long to wait given the Mets current hole in the rotation and the health issues the Mets other starters are currently experiencing.  Strange as it may sound, the Mets are actually investigating the possibility of adding a starting pitcher at the trade deadline, including but not limited to Jon Niese.  Ideally, the Mets would look to add a back of the rotation starter who would hopefully not cost much in terms of prospects and who could eat up some valuable innings as the Mets continue fighting in this pennant race.  With that in mind, here are some possible trade targets:

Jon Niese – Niese is having a nightmare of a season with a 4.89 ERA and a 1.556 WHIP that got him banished to the bullpen.  Still, over his Mets career, he had a serviceable 3.91 ERA and a 1.361 WHIP while averaging six innings per start.  In the postseason last year, he was moved to the bullpen where he got many valuable outs.

The Rays

Matt Moore – Moore is not the same pitcher who was an All Star and finished in the Top 10 in Cy Young voting.  After his 2014 Tommy John surgery, he has not been the same pitcher.  With this being his first full season back, he is 5-7 with a 4.33 ERA and a 1.298 WHIP.  He is primarily a fastball-change up pitcher with a low to mid nineties fastball and a mid eighties change up.  Over the course of this season, he is averaging a little over six innings per game.  He still has some upside, and he has a $7 million team option and $2.5 million buyout for next year.

Jake Odorizzi – Odorizzi is 4-5 with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP in 20 starts for the Rays this season.  Part of the issues with Odorizzi is he doesn’t go deep into games averaging under 5.2 innings per start, and the fact that he has a higher career ERA, WHIP, and opponent’s batting average in the second half of the season.  The 26 year old is under team control until 2020.

Drew Smyly – Smyly is another member of an underachieving Rays pitching staff that could be moved at the trade deadline.  Smyly has been dealing with a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, and he has opted not to have surgery.  He is now in the process of having the worst year of his career going 2-11 with a 5.64 ERA and a 1.358 WHIP while averaging almost six innings per start.

Jeremy Hellickson – Unlike his former teammate Moore, Hellickson, the 2011 Rookie of the Year, never did undergo Tommy John surgery.  The 2017 free agent is putting together a solid season for the Phillies going 6-7 with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.200 WHIP while averaging 5.2 innings per start.  These numbers stand to be his best in four years.

The Pending Free Agents

Tyler Chatwood – The 26 year old Chatwood is having a good season with an 8-5 record with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP while averaging six innings per start.  These numbers are all the more impressive when considering the fact that he pitches half of his games at Coors Field, and the fact that this is his first full season after having had Tommy John surgery in 2014.

Andrew Cashner – The pending free agent is having the worst year of this career going 407 with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.478 WHIP averaging under five innings per start while pitching a majority of his games in Petco Park, which could be the best pitcher’s park in the majors.

Jorge De La Rosa – The 35 year old De La Rosa is approaching both free agency and the end of his career.  This year he is 6-6 with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.573 WHIP while averaging five inning per start.  Surprisingly, he is even worse away from Coors Field going 2-4 with a 6.50 ERA and a 1.778 WHIP.

The Angels

Jered Weaver – Once an ace for the Angels, Weaver has seemingly lost it this season.  He has gone from a guy who got guys out with guile, location, and a 90 MPH sinker to a guy who tops out at 84 MPH.  The result is an 8-7 record with a 5.05 ERA and a 1.412 WHIP.

Tim Lineceum – Weaver’s current Angels teammate has also gone from an ace to an also ran.  In his five starts for the Angels, he is 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA and a 2.070 WHIP.

Hector Santiago – Santiago is putting together another average season going 7-4 with a 4.27 ERA and a 1.272 WHIP while averaging a little over five innings per start.  The 28 year old is scheduled to be a free agent after next season.

Matt Shoemaker – Shoemaker is another Angel on a staff of mid to the back of the rotation starters.  This year, Shoemaker is 5-9 with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.264 WHIP while averaging almost six innings per start.  He may be the player the Angels are least likely to move as he is under team control until 2021.

Overall, the trade options do not stand to be much better than the internal options.  This may be one of the reasons why the Mets are prioritizing adding pieces to the bullpen over adding another starting pitcher at the trade deadline.

Editor’s Note: this was first published on metsmerizedonline.com 

Jeurys Familia Is the Best Closer in the Game

On Opening Day 2015, Jenrry Mejia was unavailable due to an elbow injury.  As a result, Terry Collins turned to Buddy Carlyle to close out the Mets 3-1 victory.  Between Mejia’s elbow injury and his successive steroid suspensions, the Mets would need to turn to Jeurys Familia to become their closer.  Familia wouldn’t get a chance to earn a save for about another week.  In that April 12, 2015 game, Familia recorded two outs to earn his first save of the season.  It would set him on a path where he has become the best closer in the game.

Since 2015, Familia has pitched 118.1 innings in 117 appearances.  In those appearances, he has a 2.13 ERA, 1.073 WHIP, 183 ERA+, and 72 saves.   His 72 saves are second only to Mark Melancon in that time frame.  However, unlike Melancon, Familia is more than a three out closer.  Familia leads all closers in appearances, innings pitched, and multiple inning saves. Familia has done whatever his team has asked of him to help his team win.  These are all part of what makes Familia a great closer.  However, what is often overlooked is his durability.  It’s his durability that truly makes him great.

We recently saw how important durability is with Wade Davis.  Davis was as dominant a closer as there was in baseball.  Mets fans need not look any further than the World Series for evidence of that.  In the same time frame that Familia has been the Mets closer, Davis has had a 1.02 ERA and a 421 ERA+.  That ERA+ is more than double that of Mariano Rivera‘s career mark of 205, which also happens to be the best in major league history.  By any measure, Davis could be anointed the best closer in the game.  However, he’s not in the conversation right now as he’s currently on the disabled list with a right forearm strain.  As Mets fans have seen with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, a forearm strain in your pitching arm can be an ominous sign.

As we see all the time in sports, one the most important abilities a player must have is availability.  Familia has been available more than any other closer in the game, and he has pitched just as well if not better than all of them.  This year he was finally recognized as such when he was named to his first All Star team.  Given his durability and his ability to close out games, it will be the first of many.

Potential Matt Harvey Replacements

The news that Matt Harvey may miss a significant amount of time due to the possibility that he may have thoracic outlet syndrom is devastating to not only Harvey himself, but also to the Mets rotation.  While Harvey was struggling all year with a 4.86 ERA, he is also a pitcher who can rise up in big games.  We have seen it time and time again with him whether it was him almost pitching a perfect game against the White Sox, being named the starter for the 2013 All Star Game, or his Game 5 of the World Series performance.  He was an important part of the Mets, and if he has an extended absence, he is going to leave behind some pretty big shoes to fill.

As of right now, the Mets have not announced who will take Harvey’s spot in the rotation for Harvey’s next scheduled start.  Fortunately, the Mets organization is fairly deep in major league capable starting pitching talent.  Here is a list of the potential candidates:

Logan Verrett

Last year when the Mets were trying to manage Harvey’s innings, it was Verrett who temporarily took his place in the rotation.  In Verrett’s four spot starts last year, he was a very respectable 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA.  This included a brilliant performance Verrett had in Colorado limiting the Rockies to four hits and one earned run in eight innings.  Unfortunately, Verrett has not had the same success as a spot starter this year.  In his five spot starts, he is 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA.  Part of those struggles may be attributed to the fact that Verrett has not been fully stretched out like he was when he took the ball for the Mets last year.  Accordingly, if Verrett was stretched out and able to pitch every fifth day, it would be reasonable to assume he could pitch as well as he did as a spot  starter last year – perhaps even better.

Sean Gilmartin

Verrett was picked over Gilmartin for the last spot in the Opening Day bullpen, and as a result, the Mets sent down Gilmartin to be a member of their AAA starting rotation.  Last year, we saw that Gilmartin knows how to get major league hitters out.  In 50 appearances, he was 3-2 with a 2.67 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, a 2.75 FIP, and a 143 ERA+.  When he made multiple inning relief appearances last year, he was 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.  The only caution with Gilmartin is he has not been as successful this year as he was last year.  In his 13 AAA starts, he is 9-3 with a 4.72 ERA and a 1.336 WHIP.  In his five major league relief appearances, Gilmartin has a 7.00 ERA and a 1.556 WHIP.  However, it should be noted Gilmartin’s struggles started when he was being jerked back and forth between Las Vegas and the Mets, between relieving and starting.  Before his first call-up, Gilmartin was 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA in the very hitter friendly Pacific Coast League.  Overall, Gilmartin has shown he can get major league hitters out and pitch well as a starter.

Seth Lugo

When Harvey was put on the disabled list, the Mets called-up Lugo who dazzled in his two inning relief appearance.  In that outing, Lugo used all five out his pitches to get a potent Cubs lineup out.  He featured a 94 MPH fastball and a wicked curveball.  He curveball was working so well he was able to get Anthony Rizzo to swing at a pitch that moved so much it would hit him on his back foot.  He certainly has the tools to be an effective starter even if he hasn’t had the results in AAA this year.  Given his repetoire and the ability to work with pitching coach Dan Warthen, the Mets just might have a pitcher who could blossom on the major league level similar to how Jacob deGrom did when he was called-up to the Mets in 2014.

Gabriel Ynoa

If the Mets are going to turn to their prospects for a solution, Ynoa deserves some consideration as well.  By any measure, the 23 year old Ynoa has been the Las Vegas 51s’ best starting pitcher.  In a hitter friendly league, the Pacific Coast League All Star is 9-3 with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.353 WHIP in 17 starts.  The only questions with Ynoa is if the Mets believe he is ready to make the leap to the majors and whether his ability to enduce groundballs is a good fit for a Mets infield whose players have limited range.

Rafael Montero

If the Mets are inclined to take a risk with a Lugo or a Ynoa, they may be inclined to give Montero one last shot.  However, as we have seen with Montero, it gets harder and harder to justify giving him another opportunity.  When he was with the Mets this past year, he had an 11.57 ERA and a 2.571 WHIP in his two appearances thereby more than justifying Terry Collins‘ almost outright refusal to put him into a game.  Down in AAA, Montero is 4-6 with a 7.88 ERA and a 1.888 WHIP in 16 starts.  This isn’t the same guy the Mets once thought had a bright future.  Keep in mind, the Mets thought he had a future as far back as last year when he made the Opening Day roster as a member of the bullpen.  Maybe just maybe giving this guy one last shot could wake him up, and it could bring out the best in him.  It’s possible working closely with Dan Warthen may allow him to fulfill the promise he had when the Mets valued him as a prospect.

Overall, the Mets have many directions they could go.  Each of the aforementioned starters could step-up and hold the fort until either Matt Harvey or Zack Wheeler is able to return from the disabled list to help lead the Mets back to the World Series.  Ultimately, this is going to be an opportunity for one or more of these pitchers.  It’s up to them to step up and stake a claim to a spot in the rotation.  It’s up to them to make it hard for the Mets to remove them from the rotation much like deGrom did in 2014 when he won the Rookie of the Year Award.  If one of these pitchers has a run like that, it would give the Mets six or seven terrific starters.  That would be an amazing problem to have.

Editor’s Note: this was also published on metsmerizedonline.com

 

Bone Spurs Is the New Tommy John

Going into the season, the major concern was Tommy John.  There was the fear that Noah Syndergaard would need Tommy John surgery due to his velocity and work load.  There was concern over whether Zack Wheeler would be able to successfully return from Tommy John surgery.  There was less of a concern about whether Josh Edgin could as well.  There were concerns over how Matt Harvey would handle his second year post Tommy John surgery.  All of that concern was misplaced.

As it turns out, everyone should have been concerned over bone spurs even if Syndergaard won’t admit he has one.Both Syndergaard and Steven Matz have gone from All Star Cy Young caliber seasons to everyone wondering if they need surgery, if their seasons are over.  We don’t know when the problems began, but we do know that something is affecting them now.

Starting with Matz, who has admitted an elbow problem, there has been a precipitous drop off in his pitching.  In a nine start stretch, Matz was 7-1 with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.007 WHIP while averaging roughly 6.2 innings per start.  He was limiting batters to a .222/.266/.282 batting line.  At that point, Matz was the favorite for the Rookie of the Year award.  He was putting up All Star caliber numbers.  His last three starts present a much different pitcher.

In Matz’s last three starts, he is 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA and a 1.470 WHIP while only averaging roughly 5.1 innings per start.  Batters are teeing off on him to the tune of a .324/.338/.529 batting line.  What is really troubling in each of these starts is that Matz falls apart in the fifth inning.  In each of the aforementioned three starts, he has no allowed one run through the first four innings of a game.  The worst of it was when the woeful Braves offense chased Matz from the game after allowing six runs in two-thirds of an inning.  Now, he’s missing today’s start, and the Mets are debating whether or not he needs surgery.

Syndergaard is a more interesting case as he’s denying the bone spurs rumors, but again like Matz something is wrong.  As the season began, all we could talk about what Syndergaard’s new 95 MPH slider, and his emergence as the ace of the Mets pitching staff.  Up until his last two starts, Syndergaard was 7-2 with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.965 WHIP.  He was averaging roughly 6.2 innings per start.  He stymied batters limiting them to a .223/.252/.312 batting line.  If Clayton Kershaw were not alive, we would have been talking not just about the Cy Young award but also the possibility that Syndergaard is the best pitcher in baseball.

In Syndergaard’s last two starts we saw something uncharacteristic from him.  He struggled.  While his pitching line from his June 22nd start against Kansas City didn’t raise any red flags his pitching did.  Syndergaard didn’t seem to have the pinpoint command he has had all year, and on a couple of occassions, he crossed up his catcher Rene Rivera.  At the time, it was seen as a blip on the radar, but after last night’s start and the reports from yesterday, there is a real reason for concern.

The Nationals, who are no offensive powerhouse themselves, took Syndergaard to the woodshed.  Syndergaard only lasted three innings allowing five earned runs.  To put it in perspective, Syndergaard only allowed five earned runs in all of April.  He had a season high three walks.  Runners were stealing bases left and right off of him and Travis d’Arnaud.  Now Ron Darling did point out that he didn’t seem in sync with Travis d’Arnaud, but was that really the problem?  This is the second straight start Syndergaard has had trouble locating pitches.  There are a numbers of explanations why that could be the case, but after the reports of his having a bone spur in his elbow, the bone spur seems to be the most likely reason for Syndergaard’s recent struggles.

Overall, Matz and Syndergaard might be fine and be able to finish out the year.  Right now, that proposition is a little hard to believe seeing them struggle recently and hearing news about bone spurs in their elbows.  If Syndergaard and Matz are unable to pitch effectively through these bone spurs, the Mets are going to be in trouble.  If that is the case, it will be bone spurs, not Tommy John, that will damage the Mets chances of going back to the World Series.

Mets Fans Can Still Dream

It seemed like disaster struck for the Mets. Both Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes were forced to leave Wednesday’s game due to injuries. For Cespedes, it was his left wrist. For Syndergaard, it was the dreaded elbow complaints. Speaking of elbow complaints, it appeared that Zack Wheeler had a Jeremy Hefner-like setback during his Tommy John rehab. 

It was seriousness enough that the Mets weren’t screwing around this time. They immediately sent Cespedes and Syndergaard to see Dr. Altchek.   

 
While these two Mets were getting themselves examined for potential season-ending injuries, Mets fans were left to drive themselves crazy. I spent most of the time trying to talk myself into Sean Gilmartin or Rafael Montero as a viable fifth starter.  I looked to see how Brandon Nimmo‘s numbers would translate to the majors. I thought about moves like signing Yusileski Gourriel
I kept reminding myself that Steven Matz was 7-3. I harkened back to last year when there was a big three of Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, and Jacob deGrom. We haven’t seen the best of Harvey or deGrom yet, and Matz had shown the ability to potentially replicate what Syndergaard last year. I kept telling myself the Mets were going to be fine. All they have to do is make the playoffs with that pitching staff and bullpen. It was possible. 

Fortunately, Syndergaard put our minds at ease:

Happy elbows for me and mini Thor

A photo posted by Noah Syndergaard (@nsyndergaard) on

After that tidbit of good news, we learned neither he nor Cespedes are headed to the DL. Furthermore, tests revealed Wheeler has no structural damages. 

We don’t know when Cespedes can return to the lineup, nor do we know if Syndergaard will make his next start. However, we do know they will play again in the near future. We also learned there is still hope for Wheeler returning to the Mets to pitch this year. It’s a huge relief. 

Now, instead of staying up all night trying to dream up scenarios where the Mets can compete without their best hitter or pitcher, I can put my head down and go to sleep in peace. I imagine that I’ll dream of the Mets winning the World Series behind Cespedes, Syndergaard, and maybe even Wheeler. 

The Mets Shortstops Came Up Big

When the lineup was announced, the main reaction everyone had was “HOW CAN YOU START MATT REYNOLDS IN LEFTFIELD!”  Matt Reynolds never played in the outfield in his professional career, and the Mets were sitting Michael Conforto against Danny Duffy, the pitcher off whom he hit a home run against in the World Series.  In the bottom of the sixth, Reynolds made Terry Collins look like a genius with his first career home run:

  
His homerun broke the 3-3 tie, and it put Noah Syndergaard in position for a win after what was an uneven outing.

The Mets other three runs were courtesy of the Mets other shortstop, Asdrubal Cabrera, who actually played shortstop today.  In the fourth, he scored off a James Loney two out RBI single with a nifty slide:

 
In the top of the fifth that 1-0 lead would quickly evaporte when Syndergaard allowed Chelsor Cuthbert to hit a solo home run.  The Royals continued the rally, and they would eventually went ahead 2-1 on a Whit Merrifield RBI single scoring Jarrod Dyson.  This meant Cabrera would have to go back to work by hitting a go-ahead two run home run (scoring Curtis Granderson).

Syndergaard had a rough sixth inning.  He got Rene Rivera crossed-up not once but twice.  One of them went for a wild pitch moving Salvador Perez to third.  He would score on a Paulo Orlando RBI single tying the game at three.  The Mets would go ahead for good on the aforementioned Reynolds’ home run.

In the eighth, Cabrera would leave his impression on the game AGAIN with a great stab and behind the back throw to get the force out at second. 

  
It would help Addison Reed pitch a scoreless eighth. Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless ninth to preserve the 4-3 win. With that save, Familia is now tied with Armando Benitez for most consecutive saves to start a season (24). 

After the stretch the Mets went through, including getting swept by the dreadful Braves, you would feel terrific after sweeping a two game set against the team that beat you in the World Series.  However, there remains some trepidation as Yoenis Cespedes had to leave the game with an apparent wrist injury after his walk in the fifth.  He was replaced by Alejandro De Aza, who may be set to get more playing time in center if Cespedes needs to miss any period of time.  Given the way De Aza has played this year, it is an not all too enticing proposition. 

With that said, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy this win while waiting with baited breath for the Cespedes news. By the way, we still don’t know about Zack Wheeler and his elbow. Good times. 

Game Notes: Jerry Blevins continues to put up zeroes: