Syndergaard, Cespedes Lost … Is Season Far Behind?

Welcome, my friends, to Panic City, where your mayor, GM Sandy Alderson and his deputy, Terry Collins, have some serious scrambling to do before they take their last place Mets into Washington for a three-game series with the Nationals.

While Alderson was in his office after today’s 7-5 loss to the Braves – the Mets’ sixth straight – weighing his limited options, Collins was delivering his annual, closed doors, “nobody is going to feel sorry for you … it’s time to grind it out, starting now,” address to his shell-shocked team, losers of ten of their last 11 games.

CESPEDES: Yes, things can get worse. (AP)

CESPEDES: Yes, things can get worse. (AP)

Collins was in a testy mood following a day when starter Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes were lost.

Syndergaard has biceps tendinitis and the Mets hope he’ll be ready for Sunday, but they are accomplished at wishful thinking. Cespedes, whom the Mets gambled was back from a tight hamstring, significantly pulled it legging out a double in the fourth inning and will be lost for an extended period.

Cespedes will get another MRI Friday and likely will be placed on the disabled list before facing Max Scherzer in Washington. There, he will join Lucas Duda, Wilmer Flores, David Wright, Steven Matz, Seth Lugo and Brandon Nimmo.

Collins, his voice getting louder with each name, ticked them off one at a time, Duda, Wright, Matt Harvey, Neil Walker, Asdrubal Cabrera, Cespedes, Matz, Jacob deGrom and Travis d’Arnaud, and said the Mets eventually pulled it together to reach the playoffs.

“I told them, ‘We can do it again, but it’s got to start now,’ ” Collins said. “OK, so the weather is gonna start changing. That can no longer be the excuse. It’s now time to go out and grind it out as we did last year.

“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. 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.”

When asked the timing for this message, Collins played the perception-reality card, Collins said he’s aware of the talk energy is down, but that’s to be expected when your team batting average is .184 and on-base percentage is .268 during this slide.

“Look, it’s just April, I get it, but it’s time,” Collins said. “We’ve got a tough road trip ahead. … We’ve got to grind it out. We can do it, but we’ve got to start now.”

Now, is best defined as Friday in Washington, where the Mets, currently 7.5 games behind the Nationals, will try to stop their free-fall. As of now, deGrom, Zack Wheeler and to-be-announced will start, but Collins can’t say whether the offense will show, especially with Cespedes out.

“We’ve got to go out there and have energy,” said third baseman Jose Reyes. “We know we are going to better than this. … We’re going to see what we’re made of. It’s only April, we have five more months. We don’t want to go too deep in the standings. We have a good ballclub and we’re going to turn it around.”

It’s going to be difficult without Cespedes and Syndergaard. Collins said losing Cespedes “is a big hole.”

Losing Cespedes could have been prevented had the Mets acted proactively, which they did not. Instead, they kept hoping he’d get better. By putting Cespedes immediately on the disabled list, he might have missed both Washington series. Instead, foolishly gambling on a player with a history of muscle pulls, they not only miss Cespedes for both Nationals series, and for possibly up to a month.

“No,” a defiant Collins said when asked if he had any regrets by not putting Cespedes on the disabled list a week ago.

“He did all the things that were required to get in the lineup,” Collins said. “It just happens. It’s easy to say you should have put him on the DL. Well, you know what? Every time you turn around for every little thing, if you keep putting guys on the DL, we can’t run anybody out there.

“The guy pulled a hamstring. He’s wound tight. I am going to go with that. Now he’s going to be out for awhile.”

In saying Cespedes is wound tight, and especially after last season, are specifically the reasons why he should have been put on the disabled list. But, Collins doesn’t make those decisions; he’s there to shield GM Sandy Alderson from the flack he deserves.

As for Syndergaard goes, the Mets can afford a few extra days in making a decision because as a pitcher he works every five days. Syndergaard was supposed to start Wednesday, but was scratched because “I wanted to,” said Collins, not because he felt something in his arm while shagging fly balls before the game.

Syndergaard said the discomfort is in his shoulder and biceps area and isn’t a reoccurrence of the bone spur that bothered him last season.

“It’s quite obvious we can’t take a chance on him,” Collins said. “He’s a big piece of the puzzle.”

Prior to the game, Syndergaard said, “it’s a little thing right now, but we definitely don’t want to become a big thing,” but after the game got testy with a team official for not preventing reporters from questioning him.

Harvey started in place of Syndergaard and was lit up by the Braves. He got a phone call early today saying he would start.

“I really physically prepared for starting today,” said Harvey, who lifted weights Wednesday. “Having those workouts that I did yesterday and the throwing that I did yesterday, I just definitely wasn’t prepared.”

That’s odd because had he paid attention Wednesday when Syndergaard’s arm was barking and he was scratched, should have realized something was going on. Of course, that wouldn’t have taken away the workout, but Harvey could have been more mentally prepared.

Should have, could have, would have can’t turn this thing around for the Mets, who are in desperate need of something to go right.

“We need to be cognizant, when things aren’t going your way, not to go through the motions,” said Jay Bruce, one of the few bright spots for the Mets. “We’re up to the challenge.”

They better be, because 21 games into a season they all believed a World Series was possible, they are looking at that opportunity slipping away.

5 thoughts on “Syndergaard, Cespedes Lost … Is Season Far Behind?

  1. Things just seem to go from bad to worse with the Mets. As much as the Metsecutives would have liked to keep Rosario and Smith in Vegas, there is an opening here to see what the two stud prospects can do. Bruce will have to line up in RF with Conforto in LF and Granderson in CF. Lagares should get plenty of time against all lefties and spelling the three lefthanded swingers at least once each week. This leaves the door open for a Dom Smith/TJ Rivera platoon at 1B. But why not put Rosario in at SS (or 3B) for a week and see what he does? Rosario is batting .400+ and leading the PCL in a few offensive categories. He also has five base swipes. Cabrera is already beat up, gamer that he is. Reyes and Walker were the only positives to come out of today’s blowup, but neither will be with the Mets in 2018.

    There is a serious story that unfolded today… Apparently, Thor has been having symptoms of bicep tendonitis for some time. The team’s coaches, trainers and front office were aware of it. So, Syndergaard is off the hook. But why in heck did Alderson & Co. send down Montero and Gilmartin? Bad enough that Terry doesn’t have a clue as to how to use his bullpen; He also knows not how to use his long men. Instead of bringing in his long men in losing or tied games in the 5th or 6th Innings, he goes to virtually every short reliever with no care of consequences to the routine of warming up and pitching 4-5 days a week. The Mets have four of the five most heavily utilized relievers in MLB in terms of appearances. Additionally, if they knew Thor had this issue and with deGrom and Harvey coming off off-season surgery, why not keep at least one long man/spot starter around. Why is Plawecki still on the roster, when all he will do is ride the pine?

    My guess is that even if Gilmartin was in the building and on the roster, Terry would have gone to Harvey anyway. Considering that he knew that Harvey was lifting yesterday, there is no excuse for putting Matt on the mound.

    Plenty of blame to go around, but it is not all on the players. Sherlock was unhinged today with sending runners home. Warthan should have known better than to have allowed the demotion of the long arms and putting Harvey on the bump one day after lifting. Alderson needs to go back to the drawing board that starts with OBP and a very balanced pitching staff. Most importantly, Collins has to go. Unfortunately, they let the best manager in their system go at the end of last season.

    • Yeah. Let’s see what those boys can do. Can’t be worse than what the big boys are doing

  2. This team is so dysfunctional where do you start? Terry is just plain shell shocked! He can’t believe this is happening again and he doesn’t have the energy to motivate this troubled lot of under achievers for another long haul. I don’t care how tightly wound Cespedes is the guy needs to play. He’s constructed like John Milner and will pull a hammy just standing in line at the bank cashing all those big checks the Mets write. So we can’t sit him thinking he’s ever going to be 100%. There is no 100%. And the highly touted best rotation is baseball is a flop. If they aren’t injured they’re making excuses for bad performances. Kershaw, Scherzer and Bumgarner all have bad games but bounce back and dominate. This rotation, except for maybe Thor, you’re typical line is 5 innings, 4k’s, 9 hits, 4 walks, 5 runs. Those aren’t dominate numbers. Those are backend rotation guy numbers! And please don’t throw deGrom numbers at me. While he can be superb for stretches his mistakes are deadly! This year he’s suffering what every one in this rotation has suffered through – no run support. As for the offense, when they go deep they celebrate like little leaguers, but when they strand runners with the bases loaded they looked perplexed as if they can’t believe the opposing pitcher would actually try and get them out. Maybe they should allow the Mets to have their own 162 day disabled list and on days some of these guys feel they can give it a go Terry can write their name the the lineup. This is just a bad rerun. I just want to see some of these guys play for more a then a few weeks. At least i got to see tom seaver pitch like hall of famer on some lousy teams. Give us something, someone to root for. Thank goodness I’m not a Jets fan – all this would be unbearable. Thanks for allowing me to vent – and it’s only April!