I am compelled to write today not because my favorite team just got waxed by their biggest division rival, the hated Washington Nationals 23-5. No, that’s not a typo. Not because Anthony Rendon went 6-6 with 3 homers and 10 r.b.i., setting Nats’ franchise records. Also not a typo. It’s because, for the umpteenth time during his time as manager of the New York Mets, Terry Collins and his coaching staff have seemingly mishandled yet another player’s injury.
Ace starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard had to leave the game Sunday after 1.1 innings with what they hoped and prayed was a lat strain under his valuable right arm. An MRI done on Monday determined he has a partial tear of his right lat muscle instead. He’s going to be gone for an extended period of time after a stint on the disabled list.
I’m livid because, besides Mets’ management’s ineptitude, Syndergaard, in his infinite wisdom, turned down an MRI earlier in the week after experiencing biceps and shoulder stiffness. After treating the discomfort with anti-inflammatory medication, he claimed the “hiccup” was behind him, and declared himself ready for his next start, which was Sunday.
He then proceeded to overthrow in the first inning, reaching 100 m.p.h. on the radar gun as if to prove something to some invisible, macho baseball spirit guide. Before the end of the second, he was walking off the mound with head trainer Ray Ramirez (we’ll get to him later) and the pitiful, overworked Mets bullpen was brought in to make the Nationals’ day historic.
It boggles my mind why this had to occur in the first place. Granted, Syndergaard has every right to turn down an MRI, for better or for worst. Unfortunately the latter has come to fruition. But Terry Collins could have held him out a little longer just as a precaution, in my opinion. I don’t care whether the mighty Thor would’ve been upset or not. Apparently he doesn’t know his body as well as he thinks he does. And the Amazins will pay dearly for that miscalculation.
This isn’t an anomaly. Before being placed on the disabled list, Yoenis Cespedes limped away from batting practice recently, seemingly reaggravating a hamstring injury. Without blinking, Terry Collins placed him in the starting lineup the next game. Cespedes proceeded to come up lame after legging out a double. Fortunately an ultrasound found the injury to only be a strain and Cespedes isn’t expected to miss an extended period of time. Why he was in the game in the first place is anybody’s guess.
Though I can bring up many more instances, I want to get to my point. It has been obvious to me for some time now that this manager is not the one to take this team to the next level. He just doesn’t seem to have the ability to tell the difference between whether a player is nicked up or has a potentially devastating injury. It’s happened with Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Lucas Duda, among others, as well. All have spent extended periods of time on the disabled list in the past two seasons. I don’t like to say it, but the man has got to go.
The next person in my cross hairs is the Mets’ head trainer. Ray Ramirez has been at the position since 2004 and has been witness to a myriad of crippling injuries to this pitching staff during his tenure. Besides Harvey, Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo, Jacob deGrom and now Syndergaard, this predicament goes back to John Maine, Johan Santana, and the now-legendary J.J. Putz. Why he still has his job is a mystery to me.
Last, but not least, is Mets’ pitching coach Dan Warthen. He’s been there since 2008. A former left-handed pitcher with the Expos, Phillies, and Astros, you would think he’d have a better grasp of his pitchers’ physical limitations. According to reports, Warthen and his staff observed Syndergaard’s bullpen session on Friday and declared him ready to go for Sunday’s start. How many more starters have to go down before they attribute it to incompetence as opposed to circumstance?
Noah Syndergaard will now join Steven Matz on the disabled list and the Mets are currently in last place in the NL East, with the arrow firmly trending downward. It’s still early, but early gets late really early at the rate they’re going. And the Nationals won’t wait for them to get their act together.