For the third consecutive year, the Mets have had some rotten injury luck. Coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, will they be able to battle through these issues again?
One of the goals for the Mets heading into the 2017 season was to accomplish something franchise has never done – making it to the postseason for a third consecutive season. Heading into the year, confidence levels were high.
The rotation was deep, the lineup was strong, and this is a team that has been through the rigors of a long and challenging season before. Plus, there was just no way they could sustain as many injuries as they did a season ago, right?
Just about a month and a half into the 2017 season, the Mets’ roster has been completely decimated by injuries. All-Star closer Jeurys Familia was diagnosed with a blood clot in his shoulder yesterday, so it’s possible he will be out for a while.
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Those three are likely the three most important players on the roster, but the list does not end there. The team was lauded for its starting pitching depth all offseason, but injuries to Steven Matz and Seth Lugo right out of the gate, combined with Syndergaard, means that Tommy Milone is in the rotation before Memorial Day (Sidenote: tip of the cap to Milone for a strong team debut against the Giants on Wednesday).
The lineup has been crushed by the injury bug as well. In addition to Cespedes, Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda are both currently on the disabled list, and Asdrubal Cabrera‘s balky legs and injured thumb limiting him at the moment.
Captain David Wright, dealing with spinal stenosis and rehabbing from a herniated disc, is on the 60-day DL with no signs pointing to his return. Duda is expected back tonight, but there is no doubt the lineup has been destroyed by injuries.
Combine these injuries with the drama surrounding Noah Syndergaard‘s MRI that wasn’t, and Matt Harvey‘s suspension and subsequent tales of his Cinco de Mayo, and you’ve got yourself one brutal start to 2017.
In fact, the New York Post on Friday did a great job asking the questions all fans have been wondering recently.
However, with all these recent strange injuries and all this drama, the Mets have recently managed to play…well.
They have won four straight series, and six of their last nine games – which is nice. Wednesday’s soul-crushing defeat not withstanding, things between the lines have been on the upswing the past few weeks. They’ve climbed back within a game of .500 and now sit just five and a half games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
The Mets have managed to put together a solid streak despite all these injuries and problems off the field, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given recent history.
Part of the team’s charm during their run to the pennant in 2015 was their ability to bounce back from all their problems. From an anemic offense, to Wilmer Flores crying on the field, to Matt Harvey‘s innings limit – that team was able to keep it together on the field and capture the NL East title on their way to a World Series appearance.
A year ago, the team faced similar problems, at least on the injury front. David Wright was done for the year before June, Travis d’Arnaud missed a large chunk of time, and Steven Matz, Matt Harvey, and Jacob deGrom were all on the shelf by season’s end. Once again, they somehow found themselves in the playoffs – although the run was abruptly ended by Madison Bumgarner and Conor Gillaspie.
So, for the third straight season, the Mets have their fair share of problems. And once again, it will be up to manager Terry Collins to keep his clubhouse together and see if they can keep up the solid play on the field. Collins is infuriating at times, but it’s difficult to question his ability to keep a team battling with their backs against the wall.
2017 has not been kind to the Mets thus far, but there is still a lot of baseball to be played and they’ve pushed themselves back into the fringes of contention with a mostly depleted roster.
In baseball, you play with the hand you’re dealt, and the Mets must continue to do that.
If they can continue to somehow play well through this unfortunate flurry of injuries, it may be their greatest accomplishment yet.