As Jeff McNeil was being carted off the field after making an unbelievable catch in the top of the first inning during the Mets 8-2 win over the Nationals, you wondered if the Met season was being carted away along with McNeil.
Jeff is such a dynamic player and a great hitter that can play multiple positions. And the Mets seemed relieved both an X-Ray and an MRI revealed no structural damage or broken bones and he is listed as day to day with a bone bruise. But I can tell you from my experience covering baseball a bone bruise is a very tricky injury and depending on its severity, the time away from the field is always hard to discern on an injury like that. The Mets are calling him day to day but I would be shocked if he is not on the sidelines for at least a week and that is in the best of scenarios.
So what do the Mets do without him in the lineup missing his All-Star bat? Well, Robinson Cano seems close to returning as we should learn more about that in Philly tomorrow but the way I see this it will likely mean more time for Dominic Smith in left field or at the DH spot. The way JD Davis is playing defensively at third you really do not want to move him around. And this could all mean more playing time for both Luis Guillorme and Andres Gimenez who have performed so well this season no matter how often they play,
When Cano returns, you might entertain the notion of him being the DH which may help him ease back into action after his stint on the injured list. And you have an infield of Alonso, Guillorme, Gimenez, and JD which would be a great defensive infield. It will also force Amed Rosario to fight for playing time which could motivate him as well. And of course, it will give Dominic Smith regular daily at-bats which he has certainly earned with his performance and his recent numbers.
This game also featured yet another sterling performance from rookie southpaw David Peterson who is now 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA and has the poise of a grizzled veteran. He has a wide assortment of pitches and is not afraid to throw his secondary stuff in any situation. In my opinion, aside from Jacob deGrom he has been the best starting pitcher on the roster this season.
And lets not forget Tomas Nido-the Mets backup catcher who at times in 2019 was an automatic out at the plate. But on this day he crushed 2 homers and drove in a career high six runs. Nido is another example on this team of a young player that worked so hard in the off-season and is beginning to see the fruits of that labor.
This 2020 season has already had more twists for the Mets than a country road but one thing is very obvious to me. Luis Rojas has a real knack of communicating with his younger players telling them to stay ready because their moment will come and they have all taken that opportunity and ran with it. It speaks very well of the rookie Met manager whom I really believe says what he means and means what he says.
And that line of communication may very well get the Mets through this time without Jeff McNeil-however long that might be.