The Astros’ return to Houston was as great a spiritual lift for that Harvey-battered city as their weekend set with the hapless Mets was a spiritual drop for the Mets’ battered fans. Sweeping the Mets sure didn’t hurt the Astros, as healers and as likely postseason entrants, but some would suggest that sweeping what’s left of these Mets was doing it the cruelly easy way.
“It don’t matter if you’re ugly in this racket,” Yogi Berra once said in reply to the wisenheimers making sport of his homely phiz. “All you have to do is hit the ball, and I never saw anyone hit one with his face.” Yogi didn’t live to see this year’s Mets. Middle infielder Wilmer Flores almost did, punctuating a Met season about which “ugly” would be a compliment.
Was there any more deflating avatar of the Mets’ season shot to pieces than the sight of Flores breaking his own nose after fouling one right off his face Saturday night? The Mets say they don’t expect Flores to miss the rest of the season because of it. If they have any sense of mercy, they’ll amend that to just give him the rest of the year off, thanks for perseverance above and beyond the call of insanity.
Lost? This Mets season isn’t lost, it was kidnapped into St. Elsewhere. And the victims are going to be killed no matter how fast the ransom’s paid.
They opened the season with just about everyone short of a couple of twin brothers expecting them to be back in the postseason. The injury furies struck early and often enough and didn’t let up until the season became a blowout. Somewhere in this vast land there’s a medical school preparing to commission the 2017 Mets as object lessons.
Because it only began with Noah Syndergaard shenking a scheduled MRI, managing one way or the other to convince someone he could still pitch in discomfort, getting himself bloodied by the Nationals early and often, then going for another MRI and turning up with a torn lat muscle. Season pretty much over.
And the hits just kept on coming. Captain David Wright, already missing in action over neck and back issues that might yet have paid to his brilliant career, now has rotator cuff surgery in his immediate future, after he turned up with a barking shoulder on a minor league rehab assignment.
Bad enough the injuries have probably robbed Wright of securing a spot in the Hall of Fame, on which track he was cruising until the dings and arrows began puncturing him in earnest. It may be time to think about Wright leaving the field permanently and putting his remarkable baseball mind to work in the Mets’ front office.
Maybe he could even give the rest of the Mets’ actual or alleged brain trust a few lessons in what not to do and how not to do it when the troops on the field are wounded. I don’t think Wright would have signed off on Matt Harvey—whom the Astros murdered in his return from the DL and minor league rehab Saturday night—pitching again Wednesday on short rest.
Brilliant. Why the Mets just hang Harvey out a twelfth-story window and let him pick his landing spot? Or strap him into the electric chair and let him throw the switch himself?
Yoenis Cespedes? Gone for the season with a hamstring injury incurred 26 August. Michael Conforto? Breakout, All-Star season ruined when he swung and missed on a pitch from Arizona’s Robbie Ray two days earlier, going down like a house of cards with a dislocated shoulder, facing surgery on his anterior capsule. Wait till next year.
Steven Matz? Gone for the season after surgery to decompress and reposition his ulnar nerve. T.J. Rivera? Backup catcher, facing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. See you in 2019? Dare to dream. Josh Edgin, relief pitcher designated for assignment and outrighted to Las Vegas? Arthroscopic knee surgery looming.
Amed Rosario, the callup from Las Vegas who’s supposed to be their shortstop of the future and showed enough to secure it so far? Day-to-day with a finger contusion after coming out of Sunday’s game kicking and screaming. Zach Wheeler? Gone for the season with stress issues in his throwing arm.
Syndergaard is on a minor league rehab assignment with the Brooklyn Cyclones (A) and the rumour mill has him returning to the Mess before September is done. To do what? Help the Mess maybe win 60+ games? For all the good that’ll do?
They’d better keep a close eye on their other uber-prospect, Dominic Smith, who’s been showing he’s just liable to start delivering the goods and beyond in 2018. At the rate they’re going, Smith’s liable to come up with a missing arm or leg before the season ends.
What’s the sense of running Harvey out on short rest Wednesday? He hasn’t had enough problems this year without jeopardising himself further? Manager Terry Collins says Harvey is just itching to pitch, period. You have to love that kind of spirit. But with Harvey’s health history and nothing on the line but closing the coffin on the season, is there no one in the Mets’ brain trusts willing to drop a harness around Harvey and remind him, “Not so fast, Buster?”
Except for Jacob deGrom—who became the Mets’ ace by default this year and has managed to pitch well enough up to it despite a few hiccups you could readily attribute to un-admitted stresses in the middle of the Mets’ medical maelstrom—every member of the supposed-to-have-been vaunted Met rotation has spent more time under medical attention than on the mound.
Closer Jeurys Familia, who missed significant time under a domestic violence suspension, then returned only to land in the infirmary himself, undergoing surgery for an arterial blood clot in his pitching shoulder. He’s back and nothing close to his customary form. Miss that much time and it becomes spring training all over again.
What the hell is Familia supposed to close the rest of the way anyway, the Mets’ funeral? They have nothing left to play for this year. They might as well tell Harvey that if he thinks they’re going to send an injury prone pitcher out on short rest to try salvaging a season that was kidnapped, he’s got more rocks in his head than the manager who couldn’t resist rewarding his itch to pitch.
While they’re at it, they may as well tell the rest of their walking wounded to take the rest of the year off, rest, rehab, exercise, and regroup, and see you next spring, and send out their reserves and a few more prospects to ride it out. Get some experience under the hood. Maybe even put a few ideas into a few critical heads about reshaping the team come spring.
And, while they’re still at it, tell Syndergaard that if he’s seen anywhere near a gym containing more than a few exercise balls, and maybe one Nautilus machine, they’ll hang him from the top of the Empire State Building. By his hair.
These St. Elsewhere Mets can hope for only one thing more this season—waking up after it’s put out of its misery and discovering it was all inside Sandy Alderson’s Bellevue snow globe.