Opposite dugout: Injuries, trades have left Mets a hollow shell

mets-logo-sidebar.jpgManager: Terry Collins (7th year)

Record: 55-71

Last 10 games: 2-8

Who to watch: OF Yoenis Céspedes (.292, 42 RBIs), 3B Wilmer Flores (42 RBIs), SS Asdrúbel Cabrera (35 RBIs, 20 doubles), OF Brandon Nimmo (.264), RHP Jacob deGrom (3.49 ERA), RHP AJ Ramos (23 saves)

Season series vs. Nationals: 3-9

Pitching probables:

Aug. 25: RHP A.J. Cole vs. RHP Jacob deGrom, 7:05 p.m., MASN2
Aug. 26: LHP Gio Gonzalez vs. RHP Robert Gsellman, 4:05 p.m., MASN2
Aug. 27 (Game 1): RHP Tanner Roark vs. LHP Tommy Milone, 1:35 p.m., MASN2
Aug. 27 (Game 2): TBA vs. TBA, 8:08 p.m., ESPN

Inside the Mets:

It's seems safe to say the Mets are basically done for 2017. Injuries have utterly destroyed their starting staff. Veteran shortstop José Reyes landed on the disabled list last week with an oblique strain, and yesterday center fielder Michael Conforto (.279/.384/.555, 27 homers, 68 RBIs) collapsed at the plate with a dislocated shoulder after a swing and miss, and has also gone onto the DL. The Mets have swapped their RBI and home run leader, Jay Bruce, to the Indians for a pitching prospect. Slugging first baseman Lucas Duda spent the better part of a month on the disabled list and then went to the Rays in exchange for another minor league pitcher. Veterans Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker have been dealt for players to be named. The Mets have a proven closer, but not the one they started the season with, Addison Reed. The team hasn't sniffed .500 since May, and perhaps worst of all, the Yankees swept them in last week's four-game home-and-home series. There is no joy in Queens.

Left fielder Yoenis Céspedes (.292/.350/.540, 17 homers) accounts for much of what's left of the Mets offense. He's spent most of this season batting in the familiar neighborhood of .280, and actually hits right-handed pitching better than he does lefties. Céspedes has gone 11-for-18 (.611) over his last six games. He went deep in yesterday's loss to the Diamondbacks, but his home run total is down this year, not surprising since the hitters who might have protected him are long gone and the injuries he's endured. With Conforto out of action, 24-year-old Brandon Nimmo (.264/.391/.340) will have to pick up the slack in the outfield. He's performed well enough, but with just 34 game appearances under his belt, this series against the division leaders will provide Nimmo a formidable test. Third baseman Wilmer Flores (.268/.307/.471) is hanging with Céspedes in the RBI department. Veteran and one-time National Asdrùbel Cabrera (.253/.325/.381) has seen his production fall off in his second season with the Mets.

With Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Seth Lugo and now Steven Matz all doing time on the disabled list, and with Robert Gsellman and Rafael Montero suffering inflated ERAs, Jacob deGrom (13-7, 3.49 ERA) had been the one remaining bright spot in the Mets' shredded starting rotation until recently. But deGrom, who takes the mound in tonight's series opener, has lost four of his last five starts. On Sunday against the visiting Marlins, he struck out eight through 6 1/3 innings, but surrendered five runs on 10 hits, including the obligatory Giancarlo Stanton homer. The Mets have lost the past five games Gsellman (5-5, 5.65 ERA) has started, though he took the loss in just two of them. Gsellman, who starts Saturday, also suffered a blown save during a brief bullpen stint in mid-May. The good news is that he has been able to bring his ERA down by half a run so far in August, but even so, opposing hitters are still batting a cumulative .290. The Mets snagged lefty Tommy Milone (1-3, 8.12 ERA), who starts Game 1 of Sunday's day-night doubleheader, in May after the Brewers designated him for assignment. Two weeks after the Mets acquired him, Milone was on the disabled list with a sprained knee. The team finally activated him last Saturday. In a start against the Diamondbacks three days later, Milone gave up five earned runs and two homers before Terry Collins yanked him.with two gone in the fifth inning. As of this morning, the Mets have still not named a starter for Sunday's nightcap.

Just in time for this series, the Mets will have Jeurys Familia (1-1, 3.86 ERA) and his upper-90s sinker and four-seamer back from an arterial clot in his throwing shoulder, which has had him on the disabled list since May. Collins will likely ease Familia back into closing, however. In the meantime, expect AJ Ramos (2-4, 3.70 ERA) to work the ninth when the game is tight. The Marlins sent Ramos to the Mets in exchange for two prospects in late July. The Mets, in turn, sent Reed to the Red Sox for three minor-leaguers. In nine appearances for the Mets, Ramos has given up four runs on just five hits.and converted all three save opportunities.

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