For the last week or so, one thing or the other happens for the Mets: They win or they get rained out.
On Sunday night, the Mets were rained out of their Citi Field game against Atlanta for the second time in three days. So the Mets took a four-game winning streak to Arizona, where they will open a three-game series against the Diamondbacks on Monday night.
The way the Mets’ irregulars are playing, it’s debatable if the team needs the cavalry to come over the hill to save them. But it’s coming: manager Luis Rojas said he expects Pete Alonso, Seth Lugo and maybe even Kevin Pillar to be activated off the injured list on Monday.
Also, former Yankees prospect Mason Williams joined the team and will be added to the taxi squad.
Alonso has been out since May 19 with a right hand sprain. Rojas said he expects James McCann to still get time at first base even with Alonso back, especially after McCann went 4-for-5 with one of the Mets’ five home runs on Saturday in a 13-2 pasting of Atlanta. Rojas said McCann is going to share catching duties with Tomas Nido, an elevation of Nido’s status for sure.
Lugo had surgery in February to remove a bone spur from his elbow.
Pillar has been out since he was hit in the face with a 95-mile per hour fastball on May 18 and suffered horrific-looking injuries to his nose. He had surgery four days later. That Pillar is close to being activated is nothing short of miraculous.
What the Mets have been doing without all their injured players has been miraculous in a baseball sense. At 25-20, they go into Memorial Day with a 3½-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East despite having had 11 postponements because of weather or COVID-19 and having 16 players on the injured list, including their first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, rightfielder and top four centerfielders.
So what’s a little rain?
“I think they all do good to not get down whenever they don’t get to play,” Rojas said. “They don’t get down whenever they see an injury. All those things that we ran into, it’s definitely put [us] to the test since the opening series when we went to Washington and we had the COVID situation there (the series was postponed because of a Nationals outbreak).
“Guys, from the first series to now, I think they know how to deal with it because it got emotional that first day because everyone was excited about Opening Day . . . I think they learned how to channel that and just go work out, do what they need to do and wait.”
Sunday’s rainout will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on July 26 with the first game starting at 5:10 p.m. Both games will be seven innings, as are all doubleheader games in 2021.
The Mets also announced the makeup date for Friday’s rainout. The Mets and Atlanta will play a single-admission doubleheader on June 21 with the first game also starting at 5:10 p.m.
“We know that there’s a pile of doubleheaders coming our way,” Rojas said. “I don’t think that’s bothering us. We’ll take it that it’s seven-inning games right now when it comes to doubleheaders, but I think the guys just have this mentality that we’ll be ready. I think that’s helped the team. Proud of that group because of that mentality. I think it’s a winning mentality and everyone has it in there.”
Jacob deGrom will open the series in Arizona. David Peterson will start on Tuesday and Marcus Stroman is scheduled for Wednesday.
Anthony Rieber covers baseball, as well as the NFL, NBA and NHL, for the sports department. He has worked at Newsday since Aug. 31, 1998, and has been in his current position since July 5, 2004.