There’s never a good time to be injured, but for the Mets to have three players go down the same day, now is as good a time as any for them to go day-by-day with Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes. With the rosters to be expanded Sept. 1, the Mets have three days for manager Terry Collins to juggle his lineup without having to utilize the disabled list.
Walker (back) and Cespedes (right quad) woke up sore and did not start Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the Phillies, while Cabrera (left knee) was hurt in a first-inning collision. Each player missed time earlier this season with a similar injury.
Were they rushed back too soon? That’s a possibility, but all have played well – actually they are the Mets’ three hottest hitters – since coming back, so that might be an oversimplification.
“This is something I’ve dealt with before,” Walker said of his back. “Sometimes it takes a couple of days; sometimes it takes a little longer. This one is taking a longer.”
If a player goes on the disabled list now, he still has to sit the full 15 days. That’s part of the Mets’ reasoning for starting Steven Matz Thursday, Sept. 1, rather than the day before.
The temptation Collins must resist is thinking they all must play in the upcoming series against the Marlins, especially with the Mets forced to having pitching unknowns Rafael Montero (Monday), Seth Lugo (Tuesday) and a pitcher to be determined (perhaps Sean Gilmartin, who is currently on the 25-man roster) going Wednesday. The Mets could also move up Bartolo Colon and pitch him on short rest.
These injuries coupled with the lack of production from the offense, was today’s primary storyline. The others were sticking with starter Robert Gsellman too long and the wild card race.
PUSH ENVELOPE WITH STARTER: The Mets couldn’t have asked for more from Gsellman than they got for six innings in his first career start, which was one run.
Except they did and ran him out for the seventh. The Phillies’ first three hitters singled, and Collins went to Hansel Robles, who has been dreadful for the past month. By the time Collins replaced Robles, three runs were in and the opportunity for the Mets to sweep was gone.
With every game vital for the Mets, they would be better off using Robles in mop-up situations because it is clear he’s not getting the job done in his present role. In 13 innings this month he has given up 14 runs (all earned) on 15 hits and ten walks for a 0-1 record with a 9.69 ERA. Dreadful is as good a word as any.
The slide can be pinpointed to Aug. 3 when the Yankees’ Mark Teixeira forced Robles’ meltdown by mocking him while on second base. That night Robles gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
THE RACE: The Mets caught a break with St. Louis and the Marlins losing, but Pittsburgh won in Milwaukee.
The Mets trail Miami by one game with the Marlins in Monday to start a four-game series. We’ve heard this before, but this is a very important series.