Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz


Keidel: Mets Keep Finding Creative Ways To Wound Their Stars

Syndergaard, Matz Both Suffer Finger Injuries

Jason Keidel
May 30, 2018 - 2:55 pm

When it comes to the Mets, the metaphors are endless. 

Steven Matz was staked to a 4-0 lead Tuesday night against the Atlanta Braves. Then he injured his middle finger, something the Mets have flexed at their fans for 30 years. They lost the game, of course, and are looking up enviously at the Baby Braves while they sit in fourth place in the NL East, five game out of the lead. 

This is on the heels of a more important injury, also to a pitcher, and also to a finger. Noah Syndergaard was just placed on the 10-day DL for a dinged digit, though the club says they don't expect Thor to miss more than one start. Sure, it's not as ominous as the torn lat that sidelined Syndergaard for the bulk of the 2017 season. But with the Mets, it's just a conveyer belt of bad news, forever pinched between their historical pillars of injury and ineptitude. 

As WFAN's Boomer Esiason asserted Wednesday morning, the Mets have over $86 million of salary out of service, the most in Major League Baseball. It raises the unanswerable question, "Are the Mets bad because they're unlucky or unlucky because they're bad?" How can one baseball club suffer such an avalanche of mangled limbs and ligaments every year?

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Whether it's Generation K or the laughable litany of issues with Jose Reyes or Matt Harvey's Tommy John and thoracic outlet syndrome, the Mets seem to have lapped the MLB field when it comes to creative ways of wounding their stars. 

Remember David Wright? How about their beloved captain? We've forgotten one of the most memorable players in team history. Wright has been felled by so many physical woes he's literally vanished from our consciousness, with spinal stenosis being the most persistent of his myriad issues. 

Yet this injury to Syndergaard is like a dart tossed into the Mets fan's soul. The Mets have just toyed with their fan base, like a voodoo doll, jamming pins through your ribs and spreading curses like butter across the five boroughs. 

Shame on us for reading anything into their scalding 12-2 start. Since dashing out to 10 games over .500, the Mets (26-26) have gone 14-24 since, entrenched in the absolute mark of mediocrity. Just a few years ago, the Mets were in the World Series, three blown saves from winning the whole thing, three blown games in which they had a lead in the eighth inning. Harvey led the charge with his gutty shutout through eight innings of Game 5, just three outs from Big Apple immortality. 

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The Mets had a laughable surplus of starting pitching and needed shades just to peek into their blinding future.  

Now look at them. Harvey is a punchline and punching bag, booted to Cincinnati. Zack Wheeler hasn't pitched near his potential. Matz, who hurt his finger not by throwing a wayward pitch but by swinging a bat, can't ever seem to get it together for long stretches. The Mets have gone from six possible aces to two. And only Jacob deGrom seems to be largely impervious to the stream of problems that plague the Mets, and even he did a stint on the DL earlier this month. 

But there's something about Syndegaard, from his size to his hair to his affable social media mien, that represents the hope and the anguish that envelops the Mets in some form every season. Only the Mets can lose someone of Thor's comic-book contours to a bum finger, then lose another pitcher to a bum finger later that same day. The world west of the Hudson probably thinks New Yorkers are bathing in baseball supremacy. They forget that there are two teams in our beloved town, and only the Yankees soar above these picayune problems. 

The Mets are a different story. If you don't believe it, just watch Jason Vargas on Wednesday night. 

Follow Jason on Twitter at @JasonKeidel