Posted on June 22, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Another one bites the dust for the New York Mets. The team’s season-long struggle with injuries continues. This time it’s starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. The club announced Wednesday that Wheeler has been placed on the 10-day DL with biceps tendinitis. The move comes two days after Wheeler allowed seven runs in two innings against the Dodgers. It also comes just one day after the club stated that Wheeler was physically fine.
Injuries are nothing new to Wheeler. He missed the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons following Tommy John surgery. The Mets expected him to return from the surgery last summer, but a series of setbacks prevented him from making his return until this year. The Mets have not announced a timetable for his return from the biceps issue.
Until recently, Wheeler had actually been New York’s most consistent starter this year. Following a June 7 start against the Rangers in which he allowed one run over seven innings, Wheeler’s ERA was 3.45. But in his two starts since, he’s allowed 15 runs in 3.2 innings, causing his ERA to jump to 5.29. In a way, perhaps it’s reassuring to know that Wheeler may not have been completely healthy for his last two starts? If he were being hampered by a biceps issue, it could explain such poor performances.
Of course, why the Mets insisted that Wheeler was healthy one day before putting him on the DL is another issue. After Monday’s disastrous outing, Wheeler said he was “fine physically.” Mets manager Terry Collins echoed that sentiment on Tuesday, only to see the club put him on the DL Wednesday.
Wheeler joins Mets starters Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey, as well as close Jeurys Familia, on the DL. Syndergaard remains sidelined with a torn lat that will likely keep him out until at least August. Harvey went on the DL last week with a shoulder injury. Familia had surgery to treat a blood clot last month and the team is unsure if he’ll return this season.
Before Harvey and Wheeler went to the DL, the Mets were using a 6-man starting rotation. Tyler Pill was called up to start Wednesday in place of Harvey. But even if Pill remains in the rotation, the Mets are back down to five starters. That includes Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, who both made their season debut earlier this month following extended stints on the DL.
Before the season, the Mets had what many would have considered the deepest and most talented rotation in baseball. However, New York’s rotation has the second-worst ERA in the National League. The Mets are also struggling to keep five pitchers in the rotation.
Amidst all the injuries (five players added to the DL in the last 10 days), a harsh reality is setting in for the Mets. They are falling further out of contention for a playoff spot. They are also running out of time to get things turned around. The Mets made an incredible comeback the last six weeks of the 2016 season to claim a wild card spot. But as the injuries continue to pile up, the odds are increasingly stacked against them making a similar playoff push in 2017.