Posted on June 8, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
A dark cloud continues to follow the New York Mets. While nursing a six-game losing streak heading into Friday’s Subway Series opener against the Yankees, the Mets received a double-dose of bad news on the injury front. First, closer Jeurys Familia was placed on the 10-day DL because of shoulder soreness. On top of that, the team announced that Noah Syndergaard would not start Sunday as expected, extending his stay on the DL.
Familia experienced soreness in his shoulder during his last outing on Wednesday. An MRI revealed no structural damage. However, the Mets are taking the cautious route and placing him on the DL. The Mets hope he will be quick to return but have no firm timeline on how long he’ll be out.
“The symptoms are what we’re treating right now,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Friday. “I think we’re optimistic. Obviously, with any DL stint, you can’t put a timeframe on anything, because you know how those go.”
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Familia has saved 14 games and pitched a 2.48 ERA this season. Losing him for any period of time is a significant blow to a bullpen that is already toward the bottom of the National League in ERA. It appears the Mets will use a closer-by-committee setup until Familia is ready to return.
“With Familia out, I still feel like we have some good options that we can go to,” says Callaway. “We’ll have to see what the inning dictates at that point.”
Meanwhile, a setback for Syndergaard could be equally detrimental to the Mets. The team had already announced he would be activated Sunday to start the series finale against the Yankees. But now those plans have changed.
Syndergaard has been on the DL for nearly two weeks after straining a ligament in his index finger. He threw a simulated game earlier this week in anticipation of starting Sunday. However, he has since experienced “swelling” and “discomfort” in that finger, forcing the Mets to pull the plug on him starting Sunday night. Seth Lugo will start in his place
“It’s something we knew that could happen,” said Callaway. “We would love for him to pitch on Sunday. That’s not the case, so Seth Lugo’s going to step up and do a good job for us in his stead.”
In 11 starts this season, Syndergaard is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA. He hasn’t quite dominated the way he did in 2016, but he remains a key part of New York’s rotation. Syndergaard is expected to throw another bullpen session next week and could return to the rotation after that. However, any start he misses hurts the struggling Mets.
Lugo, of course, is a capable starter. He tossed four shutout innings against the Cubs while making a start in Syndergaard’s place last week. But he’s also been an invaluable part of the Mets bullpen this season. With Familia on the DL and Lugo in the starting rotation, New York’s bullpen is dangerously thin.
At this point, one has to think the Mets are near their breaking point. They have fallen five games under .500 and have three quality teams ahead of them in the NL East. If they can’t get things turned around quickly, they may be doomed to a second straight losing season. Once again, injuries are playing a key role in the team’s downfall.
“Injuries are injuries,” mused Callaway. “No matter how many you have, you have to have guys that step up and get the job done. It can’t be an excuse. You don’t want to write the season off because you’re having injuries. We still have Major League players out there who can go out and get the job done.”