If you had told me at the start of the season that the New York Mets would rank fourth in the National League in runs scored in early May, I'd have assumed things would be going swimmingly for them. After all, it was the Mets' 11th-ranked offense in 2016 that would occasionally bedevil the team in its playoff run, not a pitching staff that hoped to be even better this year with Matt Harvey having a full, healthy season.
Instead, the starting pitching has been disappointing, with Harvey, Robert Gsellman and Zack Wheeler all underperforming expectations to varying degrees. (And that's without even getting into Harvey's suspension.) But the big hit was the loss of Noah Syndergaard, the team's ace and one of only a handful of pitchers you could envision facing off against Clayton Kershaw on nearly equal terms. Thor's torn lat muscle, very possibly a cascade injury resulting from pitching through the biceps tendinitis that saw the thunder god refuse an MRI, now puts him on the shelf for an undetermined, but no doubt large, chunk of the season remaining.
The Mets aren't running away with the NL East -- the Washington Nationals are the team threatening to do that -- instead hovering around .500 for the first five weeks of the season, and that was with Syndergaard. Even more concerning is that this is the easy part of their schedule. In 30 games through Sunday afternoon's game against the Marlins, the Mets have played only six games against teams projected by ZiPS (and most other projections, human or computer) at the start of the season to finish above the .500 mark in 2017.