For those that just want this insipid Mets season to be over, the Cardinals’ historic run has knocked them out of the wild card race.
St. Louis won its 13th consecutive game on Friday afternoon against the Cubs, pulling ahead with a five-game advantage over the Phillies for the final wild card spot. The Mets’ uninterrupted free fall has them 10.5 games behind the Cardinals with only 10 games left to play, leading to their official elimination from wild card contention.
The Amazin’s only remaining path to the playoffs is through the NL East, and that, too, is a fast-fading fantasy.
The Mets (73-79) entered their series opener in Milwaukee 7.5 games behind the Braves. The Mets can be eliminated from the playoffs entirely on Friday if all four of these results take place: they lose to the Brewers, the Braves win both games of a doubleheader against the Padres, and the Phillies beat the Pirates.
“If you don’t make the playoffs, it’s tough,” manager Luis Rojas said Friday before first pitch at the Brewers’ park. “Knowing that we spent the majority of the season in first place, knowing that our chances were really, really high for a long period of time during the season, it’s tough. Just not getting a winning outcome is tough.
“You go through the day-to-day stuff, like we do here, the game of the day and nothing more. It’s tough for you to expect to win. That was our approach, that was our mindset the whole time. And you get to that point, and you don’t get it, it’s just tough.”
The Mets are 25-39 since the All-Star break after a 90-day first place run beginning in May.
NOAH’S FINAL REHAB START?
Noah Syndergaard will make another rehab start for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday. He threw one scoreless inning in his return to the mound on Wednesday for Syracuse. The Mets have not yet decided whether Saturday will be his final appearance in the minors before bringing him up to the active roster.
Syndergaard intends to make at least one outing for the Mets before the season ends on Oct. 3. The team believes it is important to see him in major-league action after his 18-month hiatus due to Tommy John surgery in March 2020. Syndergaard has eliminated the curveball from his arsenal to avoid any pain.
If he does pitch for the Mets, and all signs are trending that way, he will likely appear from the bullpen. Syndergaard will become a free agent this offseason.
JAKE STILL PROGRESSING
Jacob deGrom (right elbow strain) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Friday and “felt good,” Rojas said. The Mets are keeping the details of deGrom’s progression close to the vest. Rojas said he is unsure whether their ace will pitch for them this year. DeGrom has not started a game since July 7.
The Mets skipper made it pretty clear that if deGrom decides he wants to pitch, then he’ll pitch.
“He talks about wanting to pitch all the time,” Rojas said. “At this point, the reason why he’s progressing is because we want him to go out there and pitch – so he can show that he’s healthy, he’s OK and everything’s good.”
Next, deGrom will face batters, though Rojas said they do not yet have a target date for that step.
“That’s getting him closer to throwing a game if we choose to go that route, or if he chooses to go that route,” Rojas said. “Let’s see where we are. But the conversation after [Friday’s bullpen] I think is probably going to dictate a lot.”
The 33-year-old pitcher experienced five right arm/back related injuries this season and has been out for the entirety of the second half. He recorded a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts and 92 innings before going on the injured list after the All-Star break.
DeGrom at this point would not return to the mound to help the Mets in a pennant race, but for a better idea of where his elbow and health stand in game conditions before the four-month offseason layoff.