Jake is back!

Plus: We go deep on this Mets' injury lunacy

Good Morning,

The Mets dropped another close one last night, and — as is their daily custom — incurred more bad health news: Temporary starting outfielder Johneshwy Fargas hurt himself crashing into the centerfield wall, and Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto and Carlos Carrasco will all be out for another month.

On the bright side, tonight’s starter is a 🐐  named Jacob deGrom. We’ll get you up to date on all the latest health news — and recap last night’s 3-2 loss to Colorado. But first, a brief reminder from us.


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✂️️ IN SHORT: The Mets (21-20) dropped their third straight, this time falling to a bad Colorado team, 3-2. David Peterson delivered 6 innings of 3-run ball, the bullpen kept it close, and the team got late homers from (newly minted first baseman) James McCann and Brandon Drury. But this third-string version of the Amazins fell just short, stranding the potential tying run (Patrick Mazeika) at 2nd in the 9th. [Box Score]

🔑 KEY MOMENT: Following Drury’s 9th inning homer, Mazeika singled with no outs to put the tying run on base and winning run to the plate. After Jonathan Villar struck out looking, the Mets’ two big free agent acquisitions Francisco Lindor and McCann came up with a chance for heroics. But Lindor would fly out to left — and after Mazeika took second on a wild pitch, McCann struck out to end the game.

⚾️  PLAY OF THE GAME: McCann had never played first base before in his professional career, but this current injury-ravaged version of the Mets has a “No Experience Necessary” policy. So it was a surprise, to say the least, when the catcher made this play at first, on the first ground ball he ever fielded as a professional baseball player:

3 TAKEAWAYS

PITCHING IN: David Peterson was hardly dominant, surrendering several hard-struck extra-base hits, but ultimately kept the team in the game with a “quality start.” After he left the game (6 IP, 3 ER, 2 HR), Jacob Barnes (an aspiring “multi-vitamin”) put up two scoreless innings and Yennsy Diaz (another piece from the Steven Matz trade) threw a spotless 9th.

ARE YOU KIDDING? The Mets’ health problems have taken on a new dimension, whereby their 3rd and 4th string options are now dropping, too. Attempting to make another sensational catch in centerfield, Johneshwy Fargas collided with the wall and had to leave the game. All Mets owner Steve Cohen could tweet in return was:

McCANN: It was an interesting night for recent free agent acquisition James McCann. He started at first base, despite never having played the position professionally; shocked the world with the great defensive play above; socked a home run (just his second) to bring the team within two runs; but then struck out with the tying run in scoring position and two outs in the ninth.

🧑‍🏫 SOUND SMART: While it may have seemed odd to pencil in McCann at first base, there was some logic to Luis Rojas’ decision: he likely wanted to keep Tomas Nido behind the plate, but still find a place for McCann’s bat as the latter hit .429 against lefties last year (while just .232 against righties). The move paid off, until the final strike of the game.

📈  STAT OF THE DAY: Ryan McMahon’s homer off Peterson was the first dinger the southpaw has allowed to a lefty in his 18-appearance career. It was also just the fourth such extra-base hit.

📈 ALSO: Lindor’s May has just been just as bad as his April. Literally. The shortstop was 14-for-74 (.189) in April. And currently has the exact same mark in May. (h/t: Matthew Pouliot)

NEXT UP: The Mets and Rockies go right back at it again tonight at 7:10. But the headline here is that Jacob deGrom will come off the IL and make his first start since an aborted 5 inning turn on May 9. The best pitcher on the planet will take on Kyle Freeland making his season debut, after a shoulder strain kept him sidelined all spring.

  • NUMBERS: For those who like to look at insane stats, Jake’s ERA is 0.68, his WHIP is 0.60 and his K/BB is 65/7 over 40 innings.


MORE BAD NEWS: General Manager Zack Scott provided several updates on injured Mets yesterday, and while there were a few positives, much of it was not so hot:

Starting with the bad…

  • Carlos Carrasco (sore elbow/hamstring) will be out until at least late June or early July.

  • Both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil have “significant” hamstring injuries that will keep them out until at least late June.

  • There remains no timetable on Brandon Nimmo’s (left hand) return.

And the good…

  • Seth Lugo appears on track to return when he is eligible to come off the IL at the end of the month. Pete Alonso should be back next week. J.D. Davis will play another rehab game tonight. And Luis Guillorme is close to making a rehab appearance. Noah Syndergaard will start for St. Lucie tonight and is still on target for a mid-June return.

  • Meanwhile, Scott said he is exploring both internal and external options to improve the roster: “I'm on the phone all day everyday,” the GM told reporters yesterday.

🤕 ANOTHER INJURY: As noted above, only hours after Scott provided updates on all of the team’s existing injuries, Johneshwy Fargas collided with the wall last night. It’s being called a left AC joint sprain.

👨‍🎓 PROMOTED: Top prospect Francisco Álvarez has officially been promoted to High-A Brooklyn, after slashing .417/.567/.646 in 15 games with Low-A St. Lucie.

✍️ SIGNED: The Mets have signed shortstop Orlando Calixte (who played briefly for the Giants a few years back) to a minor league contract, per Jacob Resnick.


What’s really going on with the Mets’ injuries?

🧓 by Jeffrey Bellone

When Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis were forced out of a Saturday afternoon game against the Phillies back on May 1, neither injury was considered serious.

“We're optimistic right now that both are not going to land [on the injured list],” Mets manager Luis Rojas told reporters the following day.

Twenty five days later, neither player has returned to the lineup. And while Davis is at least making progress toward a return, it’s anyone’s guess when we will see Nimmo again.

Carlos Carrasco was originally sidelined in Spring Training due to shoulder soreness. We wrote how the veteran right-hander has dealt with elbow issues in the past, and how none had kept him out of the lineup for long. And I suppose neither did his latest elbow injury, as it is technically a strained hamstring that has prevented him from throwing a pitch as a New York Met this season.

When the club transferred him to the 60-Day IL in mid May, they quickly claimed to reporters that it wasn’t a setback; it was just a procedural move to create roster space and give Carrasco more time to work back to game speed. He could return after a few added rehab starts.

“That means he’s out until August,” my dad texted me at the time.

We learned yesterday Carrasco will indeed be out until at least late June or early July. Maybe I should rely on my dad for injury updates instead of the Mets.

Of course, it’s not uncommon for teams to be coy about injuries. We tweeted last night an example of how the Dodgers updated reporters on Cody Bellinger’s potential return date. After injuring his calf on April 5th, manager Dave Roberts down-played the seriousness, and was still classifying the former MVP as “day-to-day” nearly two weeks later.

It’s May 25, and Bellinger still hasn’t returned to the Dodgers lineup.

So if you’re feeling bad as a Mets fan, look no further than to the top teams in baseball right now. No team has lost more days to the injured list than the Padres (who have the NL’s best record) or the Rays (who have the AL’s best record and have won 11 in a row).

However, when you look at the quality of players lost, only the Dodgers have more WARP (wins above replacement level) missed than the Mets. And the current injury-a-day pace will quickly catch the Amazins up to the teams who have built “days missed” leads due to early season injuries.

Most frustrating to Mets fans isn’t necessarily that the team has been unlucky with health this year, it’s that it seems to happen every year. As much as things have changed with Steve Cohen taking over as owner of the team, a lot has remained the same. A player leaves a game with an injury that seems about as serious as a hang nail, and they end up missing the next two months with a medical ailment you need to Google to realize what it even is.

The Mets have 16 players on the injured list, with two more names likely to be added today after the back-up to the back-up, Johneshwy Fargas, hurt himself last night running into the wall, and with Jordan Yamamoto (shoulder soreness) perhaps headed to the IL to make room for Jacob deGrom.

For the past several weeks, the Mets have been treading water as they wait for the cavalry to return. But with each passing day, it seems the list of injured players only grows, and there’s no way to trust the timetables being reported.

If acting GM Zack Scott is auditioning to keep his job, he’ll have no bigger challenge than somehow finding a team of real major leaguers to field. Because this club’s depth has officially been depleted. And it’s not even Memorial Day.

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⚾️ It took a quarter of the season, but the NL West is starting to shape up as expected, with the Padres and Dodgers on top. After sweeping the Giants over the weekend, the Dodgers are on a seven-game winning streak and both teams are 9-1 over their last 10.

⚾️ The Mariners got a taste of their future last night, with young outfielders Kyle Lewis and Jarred Kelenic* making spectacular catches and hitting home runs to power Seattle to a 4-2 win over the A’s. (*sorry)

⚾️ Vlad Guerrero, Jr. is having a breakout season. His two home runs last night put him at 15 for the year, tied for the MLB lead. He’s also slashing .333/.443 with a 1.104 OPS.


🔗 Treading water at a precarious time, can the Mets acquire a life raft? 7 players who could make sense, by Tim Britton, The Athletic ($): “To find help within the league right now, you need to locate not just a helpful, good player but a helpful, good player whose team is already competitively out of it a quarter of the way into the season. And you have to hope that helpful, good player isn’t so good or so important to that team that it’s OK moving him before Memorial Day. It’s not easy, and the candidates are not exactly going to change the Mets’ ceiling. However, they may save the roof from caving in right now.”

🔗 No better time for Jacob deGrom’s return to Mets, by Steve Serby, NY Post: “The seas are becoming stormy, and the Mets are in danger of being thrown overboard off Steve Cohen’s first-place boat. The GM has a phone attached to his ear every waking minute with a prospective trade partner, while the manager on Monday night asked James McCann to make his first major league start at first base in a desperate attempt to juice his Flushing Slumber Co. There is no better time than now, than Tuesday night, for Jacob deGrom to try to throw the Mets, 3-2 losers to the Rockies, a lifeline. Because it isn’t even Memorial Day, the S.O.S doesn’t mean Save Our Season. Save Our Scrubs is more like it.”

🔗 Mets can't be asked to keep fighting through injuries indefinitely, by David Lennon, Newsday: “Zack Scott wore a convincing poker face Monday afternoon as he provided some rather upsetting details regarding the Mets’ dizzying array of injured players. Instead of using this space to describe them all here, we’ll summarize it this way: Whatever you thought the initial timetables were, add another week or so. In some cases, maybe two or more.”

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