ATLANTA — It’s been only two days in Atlanta, and the Mets have been beaten once and rained on repeatedly. They spent some 16 hours at the ballpark, and sent a reliever and an infielder to the disabled list, and that was just on Monday.
During a postgame interview in the early hours of Tuesday, Luis Guillorme almost got run over by one of the little carts that patrol the field here.
And somehow, it still managed to get worse.
The Mets announced Tuesday that Noah Syndergaard was being put on the 10-day disabled list with a strained ligament in his right index finger. Hours later, Steven Matz walked off the mound with discomfort in his left middle finger; X-rays were negative but an MRI is scheduled for Wednesday. Matz said that he hurt himself swinging in the top of the fourth, when the bat flew out of his hand, pushing his middle finger all the way back. Matz doubled shortly after, but the pain soon set in.
“I didn’t feel anything at first,” he said. “It started to throb a little bit out there [on second base]. Then I started to throw a couple pitches and felt it . . . I’m concerned that it hurt and it took me out of the game.”
Matz, up until then, had been brilliant, allowing no runs, one hit and two walks, with two strikeouts in his three innings.
He left to begin the fourth, replaced by Paul Sewald. Mickey Callaway said that the Mets will have to make roster moves soon to shore up their taxed pitching staff; assistant general manager John Ricco, who was on hand in Atlanta, declined to comment.
The move to place Syndergaard on the DL is retroactive to May 26, and Callaway said they expect he’ll be able to throw a bullpen session as early as this weekend. Syndergaard was sore after his last start against Milwaukee on May 25, but it became more noticeable after he threw his side Monday, Callaway said. He also had some bruising on his wrist.
Syndergaard, who traveled to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Tuesday for an MRI, will be outfitted with a splint, and the Mets hope he’ll miss only the one start, which had been scheduled for Wednesday. Jason Vargas will pitch in his place, and Seth Lugo will escape the bullpen to make his first start of the season Thursday, Callaway said.
“He really noticed it on his bullpen day,” Callaway said. “We were like, ‘Hey, we need to get this checked out.’ ”
Syndergaard missed the bulk of last season with a torn lat muscle that sidelined him from the end of April to Sept. 23, and is now the 11th player the Mets currently have on the DL. AJ Ramos and Wilmer Flores preceded him Monday.
In 11 starts, he’s 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 64 2⁄3 innings; he has, however, seen some blips of inconsistency, particularly with his slider, though Callaway said that was unrelated to the injury, which “just popped up.”
Meanwhile, his injury spells a prime opportunity for Lugo, who — despite a blown save in Game 1 of the doubleheader Monday — has been the Mets’ most consistent reliever. The righty, who came up as a starter and was integral to the Mets’ wild-card berth in 2015, has a 2.48 ERA, and has held left-handed batters to 5-for-51 (.098, second-best in the majors).
Lugo expects to stick to around 50 or 60 pitches Thursday, and will take with him everything he’s learned from his bullpen success.
“I’m really excited, especially after that tough loss [Monday],” he said, adding that he plans to air it out Thursday. “That’s something that’s been working for me this year and I’m going to stick with it. I just want to make my best pitches.”
Feasibly, this could be the beginning of a more permanent move, particularly now with all the uncertainty surrounding Matz, and Vargas’ struggles.
“Yeah, I think [rotation spots] always have to be earned,” Callaway said. “I think the guys know where they’re at right now and know they have to go out there and perform.”
The Mets have 11 players on the disabled list:
Noah Syndergaard Strained ligament, right index finger
Wilmer Flores Lower back soreness
AJ Ramos Right shoulder strain
Juan Lagares Left toe surgery
Yoenis CespedesStrained right hip
Todd FrazierStrained left hamstring
Travis d’Arnaud Torn UCL, right elbow
Anthony Swarzak Strained left oblique
Rafael MonteroRight elbow surgery
David Wright Shoulder and lower back issues
T.J. Rivera Recovery from right elbow surgery