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Apr 19

Mets Win Eighth Straight, Lose Two Anyway

Ouch.

Losing Jerry Blevins and Travis d’Arnaud for any real length of time is obviously going to impact the Mets. Blevins, fracturing his left forearm on a Dee Gordon liner in the seventh, had been perfect as a situation lefty (five innings pitched, including Sunday, without allowing a hit or a walk while striking out four) was the one near certainty manager Terry Collins had in the bullpen to handle lefties. Prior to getting hurt, inherited runners on first and third with nobody out and promptly retired Ichiro Suzuki and Gordon. The break is unfortunate, and it leaves the team with Sean Gilmartin (yikes!) and Alex Torres to handle the tough left-handed hitters in the days ahead (the Braves with Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis come to Citi Field on Tuesday and then over the weekend the Mets visit the Yankees with Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Brett Gardner).

The loss of Blevins is difficult enough, but losing d’Arnaud will be worse. For a team already starved of power (the Mets entered Sunday tied for ninth in the NL with nine team home runs, ninth in slugging at .368, and 10th in ISO at .118), d’Arnaud’s threat of a homerun (he has two on the season) and by virtue of possessing a solid bat (you know, maple, ba-da-bum) made the 2-3-4 part of the lineup somewhat challenging. With David Wright still out with a hamstring injury, the Mets are quickly losing viable bats. After his 2-for-3 on the afternoon, d’Arnaud was hitting .317/.356/.537 with the two homeruns and 10 RBI. Just as importantly, he was playing well behind the plate, throwing out three of four would be base stealers.

Both Blevins and d’Arnaud were placed on the 15-day disabled list, and the Mets will fill their respective roster spots with young catching prospect Kevin Plawecki and RHP Hansel Robles, as per Just Mets.

The Mets did finish the game. They even won it, though it didn’t feel like it by the time Jeurys Familia earned his sixth save by inducing a Giancarlo Stanton groundout to third. From a game that was 7-1 in the fourth, the Mets nearly coughed up a sizable lead (again coming close, similar to Saturday) yet held on.

Matt Harvey (3-0) had an uneven start. Coming to the ballpark “extremely sick,” according to Collins, with possibly a case of strep throat, Harvey pitched well through six as he struck out seven while allowing five hits without a walk. Things would have been fine if they ended there. However, Harvey went out for the seventh and things sort of fell apart. Three straight hits chased Harvey, and then after Jerry Blevins worked so hard to earn two outs he fractured his forearm, an Alex Torres wild pitch plated Jacob Realmuto to make the game 7-4 and officially finish Harvey’s day. Harvey’s location was off early in the game, missing up and over the heart of the plate, and he’d allowed a hit to the opposing starting pitcher Tom Koehler with two strikes no less, but Harvey still threw 95-97 mph and had his slider and changeup working well enough to quiet the Marlins’ bats. Should he have gone out for the seventh? Harvey had only thrown 76 pitches through six.

Maybe there’s a case to be made for Harvey’s day being over. He was sick. He’s returning from some injury or other, and the Mets are surely monitoring his workload this year. The Mets insist they won’t skip any Harvey starts this year, but with an eye on the postseason, especially after a strong start in April, they’ll certainly want to keep a long view of things. Still. The Marlins were sending their 6-7-8 hitters up in the seventh, and every Harvey start is a celebration.

Let the Batman have one more go.

Well, that seventh inning was ugly all the way around. Harvey was hit around, as were Blevins and d’Arnaud. It’s not the sort of thing that derails a season, but let’s hope Anthony Recker—who looks like a bodybuilder out there and like he should mash 30 homeruns without the slightest hint of breaking a sweat—provides a little pop. He’s a career .196/.270/.357 hitter with 14 homers lifetime in 426 at-bats. So, yeah, odds are he won’t. Maybe Plawecki will see some time and fill the void. Seeing as he’ll be making his Major League debut, let’s not count on too much from the 24-year old.

The good news is the Mets are 10-3, have won eight in a row for the first time since 2010, and have started 7-0 at home for the first time in franchise history. The 10-3 start matches their best start in team history. These are great things. Keeping the team winning while also nursing everyone healthy might be a greater trick, though.

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