Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Opening night of the 2018 Subway Series began in Metsian fashion, with injury announcements regarding two key pitchers -- Noah Syndergaard and Jeurys Familia.
By the middle of the evening, the plague had spread to the other team, when Masahiro Tanaka left after five innings with soreness in two hamstrings. Yes, you read that correctly. The hamstrings in both legs.
Before the night was over, the Yankees' trainer would visit Aroldis Chapman, and Jacob deGrom would have his heart broken yet again. It was not a good night to be a pitcher in New York.
DeGrom's loss was the only problem that didn't carry long-term implications. In the eighth inning, he saw a sublime performance spoiled by one hanging changeup, which Brett Gardner knocked over the right field wall for a two-run homer.
Still, the Yanks marvelled at his skill.
"He can touch triple digits and put it where he wants," said Giancarlo Stanton.
"He's a got a really, really good fastball that plays even better (than his velocity)," said Gardner.
DeGrom is an intense ace, and will continue to be exactly that. If he continues to pitch this well, he'll collect wins soon - even with a staggering lack of run support.
The injuries are much more concerning to both teams. Starting pitching depth is the Yankees' one weakness, and now they might well lose Tanaka, who hurt himself running the bases. With a tight race in the A.L. East, every week and every win matters, and the Yankees were already thin.
"I could see it go either way," Aaron Boone said, when asked if Tanaka would make his next start. "Maybe you dodge a bullet [but] we could wake up tomorrow and it could be worse."
Tanaka said he was still tight after the game. He was as unsure as Boone about missing a start.
"I can't really say yet," he said, through an interpreter.
Chapman, meanwhile, has been dealing with quad and knee tendinitis for three weeks. He said he could pitch through it, but was limping around the clubhouse postgame with his left leg heavily wrapped.
As for the Mets problems, Syndergaard's setback came as a bit of a surprise. On Wednesday, Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland were hopeful that Syndergaard would be able to throw a bullpen session on Friday, and start against the Yankees on Sunday night. But his lingering finger issue will deprive New York of a Syndergaard/Luis Severino matchup, and leave the Mets hoping that he comes through a bullpen session OK early next week. If that goes well, perhaps he will rejoin the rotation next weekend.
The initial optimism on Syndergaard serves as a cautionary tale on the same note regarding Familia. The team said that he first complained of the issue after his most recent appearance, and that his absence will be short-term.
Maybe it will be that simple - and maybe it won't.