Mets ace Noah Syndergaard left tonight’s start due to a right hamstring strain, the team announced. The injury took place during the seventh inning, as Syndergaard came up limping after a play that saw the Cardinals’ Yairo Munoz steal second base. The right-hander was immediately removed from the game after a visit from the trainer. An IL stint seems likely, since the description of the injury as a strain (as noted by Newsday’s Tim Healey) indicates a certain amount of severity.
Syndergaard hasn’t quite pitched up to his usual ace-like levels in 2019, with only a 4.45 ERA over 95 innings for New York. ERA indicators (3.56 FIP, 3.95 xFIP, 3.96 SIERA) are a bit more impressed by his performance, though overall, Syndergaard’s K/9, home run rate, swinging-strike rate, and hard-hit ball rate have all gone in the wrong direction from his 2018 numbers. That said, most of Syndergaard’s problems took place during a rough April, and he has since largely gotten on track over his last nine outings.
If and when Syndergaard misses time, the Mets don’t have much in the way of starting pitching options to fill the void. Wilmer Font or Chris Flexen could be again stretched out, veteran Ervin Santana is down at Single-A building up arm strength, while rookie Walker Lockett is perhaps the best healthy option at Triple-A.
In the big picture, an extended absence for Syndergaard might also push the Mets to turn towards selling prior to the trade deadline. New York entered tonight’s action with a 33-36 record, 7.5 games behind Atlanta in the NL East and five games behind the Cubs and Phillies in the wild card race. Two days ago, GM Brodie Van Wagenen was still expressing confidence that his team could remain in the postseason hunt, and while there’s still a lot of baseball to be played before July 31, the Mets could start exploring the market now for potential takers for some of their veteran assets.