The New York Mets stumbled into the All-Star break with a 39-47 record, sitting 12 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East, and will have quite the mountain to climb if they hope to get back in the playoff race.
“Pretty much the record speaks for itself,” manager Terry Collins said after Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. “We are not happy with where we are, so we have got to use this time to reassess what we have to do in the second half.”
Both pitchers plan to begin throwing in the next couple of weeks, according to Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen. Syndergaard landed on the disabled list in late April, while Harvey went on the DL in mid-June. Harvey notably underwent season-ending surgery last year for thoracic outlet syndrome. Warthen divulged that the surgery left the muscle in Harvey’s right shoulder “totally atrophied.”
“We’ve been building that back up the whole time,” Warthen said of Harvey’s shoulder rehab. Scott Boras, Harvey’s agent, echoed Warthen’s sentiments. He said there is “certainly a prospect” of Harvey returning within the next couple of weeks.
No matter when these pitchers return, the Mets need to show signs of life in the second half. The team has been plagued by ill-timed injuries, questionable managerial decisions and simple bad luck. Offensive production was not so much an issue as was the team’s defensive inconsistency. They’ve scored more than 400 runs before the All-Star break for the first time since 2008, but surrendered 455 runs, third-most in franchise history.
Jay Bruce and Michael Conforto have been the only reliable offensive contributors for the Mets through the season’s first half. Yoenis Cespedes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jose Reyes, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson have struggled so far this season. Cespedes is batting .133 in his past 11 games, with zero extra-base hits.
Despite the laundry list of injuries, both Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins have indicated the team’s intention to continue competing for a playoff spot. It is reportedly the only thing keeping Amed Rosario from making his MLB debut. The Mets’ top prospect said he was “100 percent ready” for a Mets call-up, but management remains hesitant.
“We want to make sure when Rosario, or any of our top prospects come up, we don’t want them to go back,” Alderson said back in June.
If the Mets truly fall out of contention by next month, then Alderson might change his tune. He has already hinted at the team’s intent to listen to trade offers for their contract-year players. If Alderson makes that move, he is essentially waving the white flag on the season. In that case, why not see what Rosario is capable of?
In the meantime, the Mets will have to regroup before Friday’s game against the Colorado Rockies. Jacob deGrom will take the mound hoping to right a ship veering increasingly off-course. Perhaps Collins put it best:
“We’ve got to get some energy back,” he stated. “We’re not playing with much energy right now and I am hoping the rest will help us out.”
Jesse Andreozzi is a staff writer for Outside Pitch Sports Network covering the New York Mets. Follow him on Twitter @Jesse_Andreozzi