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It was bad in 2009, but this season's barrage of injuries is so much worse. The Mets have a talented team, capable of getting to the World Series. Yet, every time we look up, another player is being held out of the lineup or pulled from a game. It's a daily occurrence...
For instance, Terry Collins admitted Sunday that he enters every day having no idea who is available and who isn't, especially when it comes to Asdrubal Cabrera, Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes did not play Sunday because of his quad, again. Walker missed the game because of his back, again. And, while Cabrera was able to start, he left in the first inning with another knee injury.
"It took a little air out of the balloon in that first inning," Collins said Sunday of Cabrera's injury.
I felt it. I'm sure you did too. And, I'm sure it's the same feeling the players have, which is that every time it looks like the Mets might get a stretch of games together, all healthy, they don't. It comes to a screeching halt. They entered Sunday winning six of their previous seven games, while making up ground in the Wild Card race. Then, bam, not so fast...
In the case of losing David Wright, Matt Harvey and Lucas Duda for the season, the Mets were able to adjust and commit to a solution. They may not have been the best solutions, such as Logan Verrett and James Loney replacing Harvey and Duda, but they were changes that Collins and his players could commit to.
However, with Cabrera, Walker and Cespedes, all of whom are vitally important to the success of the lineup, Collins has no idea what each day will bring.
"There's no telling how it comes and goes," Walker said of his back. "Sometimes it takes a couple of days, sometimes it takes a week to 10 days."
Well, which is it? Can he play? If not, who plays instead? If the can, is he 100 percent? If he isn't, should he play? If he does and gets hurt again, who replaces him and what does it do to the bench? The same pre-game dialogue likely occurs around Cabrera and Cespedes, and probably with Jose Reyes and Travis d'Arnaud, as well.
Basically, this group's status is always up in the air. It's totally inconsistent, which is exactly how I'd describe their results this season. Mets win a game, feel good, someone gets hurt. They lose a game, feel worse. Guy comes back healthy, they win a game, win again, they're feeling good, here comes a winning streak... nope... someone else gets hurt. Then another guy gets hurt. They lose again, lose more. Win. Win. Guy comes back, win, pitcher gets hurt. Another pitcher gets hurt. Another batter leaves the game early. Lose. Win. Lose again... and round and round it goes.
April was the only time this season when the Mets had the bulk of their rotation and lineup healthy, and playing and pitching together. It's also when they went 15-7, which is almost certainly not a coincidence. Since then, it's been an avalanche of random tweaks, strains, injuries and injections, resulting in a 51-57 record since May 1.
Basically, this season has felt like the baseball version of the Money Pit. The minute the Mets fix one problem, another pops up. Nevertheless, amazingly, they're still just 2.5 games back of the second NL Wild Card.
"It's been an interesting year and frustrating at times," Walker said Sunday. "Guys come in here and you see who's good to go and who's not. The way I see it, we won two of three here, won two of three in St. Louis, and got a good opportunity with Miami coming in here to do some damage. Hopefully it all goes well with everyone who's banged up and we can throw a good lineup out there."
The Mets host the Marlins for four games starting tonight at Citi Field. Miami is one game ahead of them in the standings and 1.5 back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card.