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The Spring Training Injuries Are Mounting For The Mets And Red Sox

Jeff Roberson. Shutterstock Images.

When it comes to starting pitching, this has not been an ideal start to Spring Training for the Mets or the Red Sox. Both teams have had starting pitchers leave games due to injury. The back ends of these rotations are already more beat up than Tommy Gunn. The scary thing is the start of the season is 22 days away.

Of the two teams, the Mets have the better situation so far. The injuries so far have been to David Peterson and Jose Quintana. Peterson had to leave a game early after a ball came back and got him in the foot. Thankfully the x-rays came back negative and he should be able to pitch again soon. The news is not as great for Jose Quintana. He injured his side last week and was forced to leave the WBC. He's getting tested today but if this is an oblique injury, he won't be ready to start the season on time.

This is exactly why I wanted the Mets to sign Jameson Taillon instead. Quintana was a very durable pitcher early in his career but he's only made 43 starts this decade. He's 34 years old and in a staff full of old guys. I love Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer but it's guys breaking down around them that is troubling. With younger aces, maybe you could use off days to keep guys on a 5 day rotations and not need the 5th starter as much. But when your pitching staff is old as fuck, you need to give those guys as many off days as possible. That fifth starter spot suddenly becomes much more important.

Giphy Images.

So what are the options if Quintana is down for awhile? I think you'd see Peterson or Tylor Megill take the spot. Peterson has been a more consistent starter but Megill has twice gotten off to good starts to seasons only to collapse by the end of the year. If the Mets suffer another injury to Scherzer, Verlander, Kodai Senga or Carlos Carrasco, they could be in trouble.

The Red Sox are in more dire straits. Bryan Bello, who has the most upside of anyone on the team that's not named Chris Sale, is out with a forearm injury. The good news is he has started throwing from a mound again and will probably only miss a couple weeks to start the season. The concerning part is that forearm injuries can often lead to more serious issues. It's usually the first sign of impending Tommy John surgery. The Red Sox will need a big season from Bello to stay competitive this year.

Garret Whitlock had hip surgery in the off-season and hasn't even thrown at live hitters yet. I think they should leave Whitlock in the bullpen anyway. He's been so good in the pen and mediocre out of it. If they want him back sooner, they can hurry that process up by leaving him in the pen.

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

The last injury has been the most predictable. James Paxton injured his hamstring last week and will miss the beginning of the season. Paxton has made six lousy starts since the pandemic started and not a single one last year. He's 34 and at this point in his career anything you get from him is a bonus. 

This leaves the Red Sox with a less than optimal starting rotation to start the season:

SP: Chris Sale (0-1, 3.18 in 2022)

SP: Nick Pivetta (10-12, 4.56)

SP: Corey Kluber (10-10, 4.34)

SP: Tanner Houck (5-4, 3.15)

SP: Kutter Crawford (3-5, 5.47) or Josh Winckowski (5-7, 5.89)

This puts a lot of pressure on the front four to stay healthy. Sale hasn't made 10 starts in a season since 2018 and he's almost 34 years old. Kluber is almost 37. Houck only made four starts all year last year.

As I am writing this, Justin Turner had a scary injury as he was hit in the face by a Matt Manning pitch. 

Hopefully Turner will be OK and this won't affect his season at all. It's only March 6th. The regular season can't start soon enough.