Panic City is in full effect. Not only did the Mets drop their sixth game in a row against the lowly Atlanta Braves, but the status of their two biggest star remains in question.
Dealing with leg issues all season, Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday’s game with what looked like a severe hamstring injury. If hearing those words wasn’t bad enough, then the fact that Cespedes had to be helped off the field should make you cringe. There is no timetable for his return, but an extended absence can only spell more trouble for an offense that is already struggling to score runs.
To make matters worse, Noah Syndergaard had to be scratched from his start yesterday with what is being called “biceps discomfort.” Any time a starting pitcher on the Mets is scratched with an arm injury, my heart stops. Why? Because of the prevailing threat of Tommy John surgery which could take the ace off the grid for the next two years. BP Mets’ own Jarrett Seidler gives me cause for concern.
UCL problems often first manifest as soreness in the biceps which is why he’s heading for an elbow MRI even though we are calling it biceps
— Jarrett Seidler (@jaseidler) April 27, 2017
So not only did the Amazins slip into last place yesterday, but after you put aside Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce, there is no healthy player on the roster with a batting average north of .250. Well, at least Jose Reyes hit a home run on Thursday. Bring on the Nationals.
WHEN AND WHERE
Game 1: Friday @ 7:10 p.m. (TV: SNY; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 2: Saturday @ 1:05 p.m. (TV: WPIX; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
Game 3: Sunday @ 1:05 p.m. (TV: WPIX; RADIO: 710 WOR, ESPN Deportes)
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-1, 2.55 ERA, 1.87 DRA, .233 TAv, 0.9 WARP) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (3-1, 1.95 ERA, 1.07 DRA, .194 TAv, 1.3 WARP)
deGrom’s last start, which coincidentally also came against the Nationals, was out of character for him. Despite 10 strikeouts, deGrom walked six, allowing three runs. With Syndergaard ailing, deGrom becomes the new de facto ace for this ball club and they’ll need his best effort to contend with the Nats. Scherzer picked up exactly where he left off from his Cy Young season in 2016. The ace of the Nationals posted a season-high eight innings against the Mets this past Sunday, while striking out nine and walking just one.
Saturday: RHP Zack Wheeler (1-2, 5.40 ERA, 5.09 DRA, .246 TAv, 0.0 WARP) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 2.89 ERA, 1.89 DRA, .212 TAv, 1.1 WARP)
Wheeler has struggled in his return from Tommy John surgery (although considering everything, it’s still rather remarkable), but his last outing proved to be the most efficient. Generally inefficient with his pitch count, Wheeler was able to go seven innings against Washington in his last start, but needs to continue to improve if the Mets have any shot of breaking out of this slump. After welcoming a baby girl with his wife Rachel, Strasburg will return from the paternity list to face the Mets. He is looking to extend his streak of four straight quality starts to begin the season.
Sunday: To Be Announced vs. RHP Joe Ross (1-0, 6.17 ERA, 4.39 DRA, .277 TAv, 0.1 WARP)
After being scratched from his Thursday start against the Braves due to biceps discomfort, Syndergaard hopes to return to the mound on Sunday. Ross struggled in his second start of 2017, giving up five runs on seven hits and two walks in 4.2 innings against the Rockies. He’ll hope to post an effort similar to his first start of the season where he tossed seven innings and only allowed three runs to the Braves.
Nationals SS Trea Turner (.467 AVG, 5 doubles, 13 RBIs; 14-for-30 over his last seven games, hit for the cycle against Colorado this past Wednesday)
Mets RHP Hansel Robles (8 scoreless innings over last six relief outings, including 9 strikeouts)
Nationals OF Bryce Harper (.458 AVG, .484 OBP TAv, .900 SLG, 2 home runs over his last seven games)
Mets OF Curtis Granderson (.158 AVG, .200 OBP, 2 RBI, 2 XBH over his last seven games)
Mets RHP Matt Harvey (0-1, 7.15 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 3 HRs, 7 BBs over his last 11.1 innings)
Nationals RHP Blake Treinen (16.88 ERA, 7 Hits, 5 Earned Runs, .467 BAA in his last 2.2 innings, also demoted from closer to middle reliever)
WHEN WE LAST MET
The Nationals swept the Mets at Citi Field including a 6-3 defeat on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.
BUMPS AND BRUISES
Nationals: Koda Glover was placed on the 10-day DL with a left hip impingement and has no timetable to return yet. Stephen Drew and Sammy Solis are also on the 10-day DL with Drew having no timetable to return from a right hamstring strain and Solis expected back from left elbow inflammation this weekend.
Mets: Cespedes left Thursday’s game with what appeared to be a significant left hamstring injury and is expected to have an MRI by the end of this week. Syndergaard is day-to-day with biceps discomfort after being scratched from his April 27 start. The team hopes he’ll return to the mound Sunday. Lucas Duda was placed on the 10-day DL due to a hyperextended left elbow on April 21, retroactive to April 20. Wilmer Flores expects to return in early May after suffering a knee infection. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, who remain on the 10-day DL are expected to throw bullpen sessions this weekend. Brandon Nimmo began a rehab assignment in Single-A on April 26.
“It’s still April, I understand that, but, we can no longer sit back and say, ‘It’s ugly weather, we’ve got some guys hurt.’ No one cares. [The Braves] don’t care, the Nationals don’t care, [fans and media] don’t care. The only thing that matters are the guys in [the clubhouse], because that’s the product. They’ve got to care. They’ve got to come out, play with some energy and get this going and I truly believe they can do it.” -Terry Collins on the team’s recent struggles and the two game sweep by Atlanta
“I felt like I could go out there and compete, but right now it’s just a precautionary thing we’re dealing with. It’s a little thing right now, but we definitely don’t want it to turn into a big thing.” – Noah Syndergaard on being scratched from Thursday’s start with bicep discomfort
“It’s easy to sit back today because he pulled a muscle and say, ‘Hey, look, he wasn’t ready to play,’ It just happens. … We gave him five days off, we had warm weathers, all the conditions necessary, but the guy pulled a hamstring. You can write that we should have put him on the disabled list, but we didn’t.” – Terry Collins on Yoenis Cespedes getting injured against the Braves
Photo credit: Ron Chenoy – USA Today Sports