The New York Mets survived the first half of the 2021 season without some of their top hitters, relying on stellar pitching to lead the way. But just as some important bats are returning to the lineup, New York is dealing with a rash of injuries that could derail its pitching staff.
The latest scare came on Tuesday night when starting pitcher Marcus Stroman left the game against the Atlanta Braves in the second inning with soreness in his left hip.
Stroman MRI clean; Lucchesi opts for Tommy John surgery
Stroman threw just 18 pitches before exiting. He tossed three pitches to Austin Riley in the bottom of the second before leaving the game.
“On one of the pitches, he landed and he felt that he hyperextended it a little bit,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said after the game. “He wanted to stay but I think it was wise to come out, just be cautious.”
The Mets received good news on Wednesday. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted that Stroman’s MRI came back clean, meaning the pitcher shouldn’t miss any time. That’s a relief, as Stroman has put up a 6-5 record and a 2.32 ERA over 85.1 innings, making him perhaps the most reliable starter for the Mets this season.
Marcus Stroman hip MRI is clean. Huge relief for Mets!
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) June 23, 2021
But several other New York pitchers are headed to the injured list. Joey Lucchesi suffered a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery. He will miss the remainder of 2021, and at least a large portion of the 2022 season as well. The left-handed starter is just 1-4 with a 4.46 ERA on the season, but had thrown to a 1.19 ERA in his last five starts, providing more stability to the Mets rotation.
Two relievers went down as well. Jeurys Familia moved to the IL due to a right hip impingement on Monday after struggling through his three most recent outings. Robert Gsellman also went on the IL on Monday and will shut down for six weeks with a torn lat. Gsellman has filled the long relief and spot start role for the Mets this season.
“It’s always unfortunate when you lose two important guys from your bullpen,” Rojas told reporters. “In different roles, they’ve been crucial for us. It’s a tough day losing those two guys.”
Injury-plagued Mets lead NL East
The injuries could derail a solid start to the season for the Mets. New York stands at 37-31, four games ahead of the Braves, Nationals, and Phillies in the NL East standings. The Mets remain a -330 favorite to win the division this year.
While the injury news may sound bad for New York, there have been some positive signs as well. Cy Young Award favorite Jacob deGrom threw five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit on Monday to pick up his seventh win of the year. deGrom had left his last two starts early with various minor ailments.
Michael Conforto, after a brief delay, is on his way back to active duty tonight:https://t.co/wQTVacyvDz
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 23, 2021
Meanwhile, the Mets lineup is beginning to resemble the group the team envisioned before the season began. Jeff McNeil returned from a strained hamstring on Monday, and outfielder Michael Conforto will join the team Wednesday after his own hamstring issue. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo also expects to return to the majors before the end of June.