We all know the New York Mets wouldn’t be in full regular season mode unless they experienced their customary amount of injuries to their starting players like they do every regular season. Aside from missing closer Seth Lugo, newly acquired starter Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard to start the season, everyone else seemed pretty fresh and healthy through the first month of 2021.
The last three weeks have been a different story however. Infield defensive specialist Luis Guillorme was put on the IL with a strained oblique in the beginning of May and he was followed by finger and hand injuries to starters Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis just a day later. None have yet returned to the starting line up since their IL stints.
To make matters worse, this past week saw two of the team’s most effective starters in ace Jacob deGrom and effective newcomer Taijuan Walker also taken out of the rotation due to tightness on the sides of their bodies.
Well what about Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto? You guessed it. Both players were just put on the injured list with hamstring problems.
Needless to say, it’s definitely not been a good month for the team’s strength and conditioning coaches as they will have their work cut out for them going forward.
Yet despite the multitude of set backs and injuries facing this Mets team, they continue to win baseball games and sit atop the national league east division as of my writing of this article in late May.
The Mets’ bench players have stepped up big time in the month of May and have kept the team competitive despite the enormous amount of injuries the team has endured.
How are they doing it you ask?
Well the majority of the credit has to go to their bench players playing above their expectations right now. Sandy Alderson and owner Steve Cohen did a solid job this offseason replenishing the depth on this team by bringing in free agent veterans like Jose Peraza, Jonathan Villar and gold glove candidate outfielder Kevin Pillar. All three players have been instrumental in providing big offense hits as well as making sparkling defensive plays in the field to allow the Mets to put together a string of seven wins a row last week.
Back up catcher Tomas Nido has also done a solid job behind the plate defensively while filling in for starting catcher James McCann. Offensively, Nido has been batting .350 in the month of May and has been able to pick up the slack offensively for the struggling free agent signing in James McCann.
As a team, the Mets are 11-5 so far in the month of May because of their unsung heroes’ contributions off the pine. It is refreshing to see the back up players on this team embracing their roles as the second unit. After all, it’s not easy for players to sit long periods of time and then all of a sudden get ready to come in and play play effectively when limited opportunity strikes.
But so far, with the myriad of injuries the Mets have endured this season, role players have been allowed to start 6 to 7 or more straight games and obtain that experience necessary to build up their confidence and keep loose should they be needed later on in the regular season. They seem to have established a new “mob”-like mentality as they go out and execute their back up roles with pride.
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Putting team first is definitely a healthy and refreshing mind set to have, especially if a team is expected to have deep play off aspirations. The Met’s bench players look like they are all in this concept and will certainly be a force to be reckoned with throughout this 2021 season.