Meet this year’s New York Mets, same as last year’s New York Mets. Pitching injuries were nearly the club’s downfall in 2016, and now the injury gods have back to finish the job.
Mets pitcher Steven Matz is the latest victim of the club’s seemingly contagious arm injuries. On Monday, the team announced Matz will undergo surgery in his left elbow.
Here’s Mets announcement on Steven Matz’s imminent surgery … pic.twitter.com/PDQmfaPvUC
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinMedia) August 22, 2017
With Matz down, the team’s rotation has once again been decimated by injuries. Noah Syndergaard was the first to go down, suffering a lat injury in May. He was joined by Matt Harvey in June, Zack Wheeler in July and both Matz and Seth Lugo in August.
That leaves Jacob deGrom and Robert Gsellman as the only two pitchers to remain in the rotation since the start of the year.
It echoes last season, when virtually all of those players hit the disabled list with arm issues. Harvey had shoulder surgery, Matz had a shoulder injury, Wheeler couldn’t return from Tommy John surgery and deGrom had a nerve issue in his arm that required surgery.
Matz’s injury is similar to what deGrom experienced last year. The Mets shut deGrom down last September, and initially gave him a three-month recovery period. He was able to return in time for spring training and pitched in the team’s second game in 2017.
The Mets have not given a timeline for Matz yet, but he could be back by opening day in 2018 if the injury mirrors what deGrom experienced.
A report from Newsday’s Marc Carig said Matz has been dealing with the issue all season.
Sources: Steven Matz has pitched through pain all season. Been diagnosed with similar nerve issue as deGrom last year. May need surgery.
— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 21, 2017
It has showed. Matz has a 6.08 ERA over 66 2/3 innings in 2017. His strikeout rate has dropped considerably, while his walk rate and home run rate have increased.
While the Mets still managed to make it to the postseason in 2016, that won’t be the case in 2017. Injuries – not just to the pitching staff – have impacted the club all year. At just 54-68, the Mets are 12 games out of a wild card spot in the National League.
Injuries have been a major issue for the Mets for a few years now. It’s not only that guys have been hurt, but it’s also that the team’s training staff has consistently misdiagnosed problems or anticipated faster recoveries.
Changes may have to be made, but even that may not completely fix the issues going forward. Injuries happen, particularly to pitchers.
The Mets’ success is predicated on having all their youngsters together in the rotation and dominating like they did in 2015. After two frustrating years, it’s unclear whether they’ll ever be able to recapture that magic again.
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