The Mets said Jacob deGrom’s hyperextended right elbow wouldn’t require a trip to the disabled list until they said Sunday morning that now it did, forcing him to miss Monday’s scheduled start in Cincinnati.
Then we were told that Yoenis Cespedes had to be replaced in the second inning because of right hip tightness, only to have the leftfielder explain afterward that the problem was his right quadriceps muscle — a past area of concern.
By the time the Mets lost again to the Rockies, 3-2, to go 0-for-Citi on this six-game homestand, we weren’t sure what to believe anymore.
Did that 11-1 start actually happen? And if so, how? Because the current Mets appear to be the polar opposite of that once-inspired group, and no one can put their finger on exactly why.
We’re presuming that the Mets are still a decent baseball team despite their ominous slide back toward .500 (17-15) after Sunday’s loss, their 14th in 20 games. And next up is P.J. Conlon, fresh from Triple-A Las Vegas, to make his major-league debut in place of deGrom against the Reds inside their riverside bandbox.
“We’ve just got to keep moving forward,” Todd Frazier said. “Keep on pounding.”
The recent signs, however, are troubling. To see Noah Syndergaard struggle the way he did Sunday, totaling nearly as many walks (four) as strikeouts (five) while infrequently getting fastballs by the Rockies, wasn’t the reality we’ve grown accustomed to viewing.
He made it through six innings and allowed only two runs, so it goes in the books as his fifth quality start of the season. But this wasn’t Thor-quality stuff.
After the Mets took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the Syndergaard we know would have pulverized the Rockies into a fine powder. Instead, he teed up a long homer to Ian Desmond and later forced in the tying run with a bases-loaded walk to Gerardo Parra — on four pitches. Never before had he done that in 23 previous at-bats with the bases full.
“I’m not really sure what was going on there,” he said. “I was trying to throw a strike.”
That sounds a tad alarming, but it fits in perfectly with the Mets’ recent state of mind. They’re trying to do a lot of things, but those things aren’t getting done.
Before the game, the always-chill Mickey Callaway assured us that it is most important to trust the process, especially when the season goes south, as it is at the moment.
If Callaway was burning up inside because of all this losing, he didn’t let any of that emotion leak out. His Mets were outscored 34-11 during the 0-6 homestand, with deGrom and Cespedes leaving games with injuries. Some would boil over from that frustration. Not the cool Callaway.
“We need to obviously score more runs,” he said.
He’s not wrong. But where is this bounty of offense coming from? Cespedes has a history of quad/hamstring issues that have derailed past seasons, so Sunday’s flare-up is worrisome. Callaway didn’t provide any details — no surprise there with the Mets’ tighter medical protocols — but Cespedes revealed that the quadriceps began bothering him Saturday night and got worse Sunday after he went first-to-third in the first inning.
When asked about playing Monday in Cincy, Cespedes signed off with an “I don’t know, maybe.” With the next six games in homer-happy ballparks, it would be nice to have a fully functioning Cespedes in the No. 2 spot. Aside from Asdrubal Cabrera, no one else is contributing on a regular basis.
Michael Conforto seems lost. In the midst of his two-day mental health break, he pinch hit in the seventh and whiffed on four pitches. With the tying run on second and two outs in the ninth, Callaway was stuck with Tomas Nido to pinch hit. He went down looking, symbolic of the Mets’ recent effort.
“By no means are we pressing the panic button,” Syndergaard said. “There’s a lot of baseball left to play.”
Might be a good idea for the Mets to start playing it again.