PHOENIX - In little more than two weeks, the Mets have sent two outfielders to the disabled list. Their closer has already visited the operating table and their most productive player will be gone for at least the remainder of the month.
And even after dismantling the Diamondbacks, 9-0, Tuesday night, the Mets faced new injury concerns with two of their starting pitchers, Jenrry Mejia and Bartolo Colon.
Nevertheless, the Mets have pressed on, reaching the .500 mark for the first time this season. It may seem like a modest distinction. But it comes after the Mets (7-7) began the season with a humiliating three-game sweep at the hands of the Nationals.
Now, after torching the free-falling Diamondbacks (4-13), the Mets officially have climbed out of the hole they dug for themselves to start the year.
For a second straight night, the Mets punished the worst pitching staff in baseball, rocking the Diamondbacks for nine runs and 12 hits. Most of that damage came in the fourth inning, when the Mets sent 11 batters to the plate and pelted Bronson Arroyo for six runs.
"Certainly, we got some good balls to hit," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis put on a show, going 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBIs in his first game since he was summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas for the injured Juan Lagares.
Of course, a day in the Mets' world wouldn’t be complete without some injury concerns.
After the game, general manager Sandy Alderson confirmed that Colon has been dealing with a back problem. But Alderson said he expects Colon to make his next scheduled start on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Mejia may be forced to deal with a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
Mejia (2-0) allowed two hits in five scoreless innings. He began his outing with three perfect innings before walking Gerardo Parra to begin the fourth. But in the fifth, Collins said the blister affected Mejia’s performance, prompting him to pull the righthander.
"He's got one hell of a blister," Collins said. "Tore it up completely."
Collins acknowledged he's concerned about Mejia making his next start, though the pitcher downplayed the issue.
"I want to throw the innings and my arm is good so I want to keep going," said Mejia, who has dealt with the blister since his start last week in Atlanta.
The blister was just the latest nagging injury to afflict Mejia. In spring training, a bunion on his right foot made it difficult for him to move. Later, he took a comebacker off his right forearm.
"You feel bad for him but it seems like it's something," Collins said. "I feel terrible for the poor guy because he's certainly shown everybody every time he's ever been out there where he's healthy that he's got the stuff to be a winner at this level."
But for now, the Mets have pushed through despite a banged-up roster. They’ve dealt with the losses of outfielder Chris Young to a quad injury and closer Bobby Parnell to elbow surgery. Though Young is expected back Friday, Parnell is out for the season.
On Tuesday night, even with Curtis Granderson out of the lineup nursing contusions in his knee, forearm and rib cage, the Mets punished the Diamondbacks. In the first two games of the series, the Mets have totaled 16 runs.
After ranking near the bottom of the National League in nearly every major offensive category, the Mets offense has come to life since arriving in the desert. Eric Young Jr. finished with three hits and Daniel Murphy and David Wright collected two hits apiece.
The Mets already have clinched a winning record on their nine-game, three-city road trip. But with a victory in Wednesday’s series finale, they could wrap up the grueling swing with a 6-3 mark.
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