Morning Briefing: Now you can panic!

WASHINGTON -- The New York Mets again get to face a phenom in his major league debut on Tuesday.

With Stephen Strasburg landing on the disabled list with an upper-back strain, the Washington Nationals will promote their top pitching prospect, Lucas Giolito, from Double-A Harrisburg to start opposite Matt Harvey at 7:05 p.m. ET at Nationals Park.

"He pitched a game against us in spring training, so we've got a little background," Terry Collins said.

The Mets have faced their share of top pitching prospects in their major league debuts this season. They knocked out the Dodgers' Julio Urias, who had been billed as Fernando Valenzuela 2.0, after three innings on May 27. Then they ultimately beat the Pirates in Jameson Taillon's debut on June 8.

"It's amazing. There's a lot out there," Collins said regarding the volume of young, high-end pitching. "Obviously they must think very highly of [Giolito] if they're going to bring him into this series. That tells me their confidence level that this guy can do the job. So it should be fun."


  • Steven Matz has a bone spur in his pitching elbow and may be scrapped from Wednesday's start in favor of Logan Verrett. Noah Syndergaard also reportedly has a bone spur, although he may be able to wait until after the season to address it. Syndergaard flatly denied the existence of the spur, though. General manager Sandy Alderson is due to be in Washington on Tuesday to help determine Matz's fate. Matz could undergo surgery to remove the bone spur soon if it is deemed that he cannot effectively pitch through elbow discomfort. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

  • After getting spotted a four-run lead, Syndergaard melted down in a five-run third inning and departed. The Mets went on to lose to the Nationals, 11-4, in Monday's series opener. The Mets dropped four games behind first-place Washington in the division. Brandon Nimmo's second-inning single against Joe Ross was the rookie's first big-league hit. Read game recaps in the Times, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Columnist David Lennon in Newsday writes about the Mets' medical obfuscation: "The Mets snowed us for a while with the clean MRIs and repeated claims of ‘no structural damage' each time a pitcher emerges from that clanging metal tube. But they can't fool themselves. When members of your rotation are showing up at the doctor's office more often than pharmaceutical reps, it's a serious problem. And repeatedly saying that Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz are merely dealing with ‘discomfort' is no longer an acceptable medical diagnosis."

  • Mets brass worked out Cuban infielder Yulieski Gourriel in Port St. Lucie on Monday. Assistant general manager John Ricco said he did not know Gourriel's timetable for signing with a major league team. Read more in the Post.

  • Juan Lagares and Jose Reyes are scheduled to play for Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday. Lagares is beginning a rehab assignment for a partially torn ligament in his left thumb. He still will need to demonstrate he can stay in the lineup without issue in order to avoid surgery. Reyes' tune-up is expected to shift to the B-Mets after a two-day stay with the Brooklyn Cyclones manning third base.

  • Zack Wheeler threw on Monday for the first time since receiving a cortisone injection last week in New York to address elbow discomfort.

  • Reyes has spoken with David Wright, columnist Kevin Kernan writes in the Post. Read more on Reyes' performance Monday in Newsday.

  • Duane Below allowed four runs in eight innings in a 6-0 loss to Sacramento. Amed Rosario's two-run triple in the eighth lifted Binghamton over Altoona, 3-2. Wuilmer Becerra had five RBIs in St. Lucie's 17-0 rout against Jupiter. Reyes went 0-for-2 with a walk and a fielding error on a pop-up in the wind, but Darryl Knight delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 10th as Brooklyn beat Hudson Valley, 6-5. Read the full minor-league recap here.

  • A Mets minor leaguer left tickets for Taylor Swift that went unclaimed, Jaclyn Hendricks writes in the Post.

  • Ron Darling called Lenny Dykstra's comments about Davey Johnson "below the belt," Mike Puma writes in the Post.

  • Willie Randolph believes Reyes deserves a second chance, Tom Biersdorfer and Christian Red write in the Daily News.

  • See photos from Reyes' Cyclones stint in Newsday.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report suggests the team needs to provide fans a reason to care.

BIRTHDAYS: Richard Hidalgo turns 41. ... Joe Sambito is 64.


YOU'RE UP: Are the wheels coming off for the Mets?