Terry Collins should have known it was going to be a rough day when outfielder Curtis Granderson knocked on his door Sunday morning and told the Mets manager he wasn’t feeling quite right.
“He told me his hip was bothering him,” Collins said. “If there’s one thing Curtis Granderson never does is complain. So if he comes in and says his hip is a little tight, it’s tight.”
Granderson couldn’t play Sunday afternoon because of the pain in his right hip and spent the day doing stretching exercises and taking anti-inflammatory medicine while the Mets were suffering a 7-1 loss to the Phillies at Citi Field, ending their four-game winning streak.
The Mets’ lone run came on a fifth-inning home run by third baseman T.J. Rivera. It was the lone Mets hit off Phillies starter Nick Pivetta, who worked seven innings, and one of just two hits the home team managed all afternoon.
“Once in a while you’re going to run into a kid that pitched good like today,” Collins said. “You tip your hat to him.”
The Mets brushed off the defeat, happy to win two of three games in the weekend series before heading to Washington for a three-game showdown with the division-leading Nationals. The way Granderson was limping around the locker room after Sunday’s game, it seems unlikely he’ll be ready for the start of the series.
It could be the latest in a string of crushing injuries the Mets have endured throughout the first half of the season. Michael Conforto, named to the NL All-Star team on Sunday, was placed on the disabled list on Saturday. Now Granderson could be sidelined, too.
“I saw the doctors and everything is day-to-day,” said Granderson, who had homered in five of his previous 10 games and ranked 10th in the majors since May 1 with a .596 slugging percentage. “Basically, it’s how I feel coming to the ballpark each day. Hopefully, we’re better [Monday] than we are today.”
The Mets will certainly need to play better in Washington than they did at Citi Field on Sunday, when critical offensive and defensive miscues ruined any chance of maintaining their winning streak. Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp scored from second on a wild pitch from Mets starter Rafael Montero to cap a four-run second inning by the Phillies. And in the seventh Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda were both called out when it appeared a fly ball by Duda was dropped by center fielder Aaron Altherr. He bobbled the ball, but made the catch. Bruce who was on first got caught off the bag and was forced out for the rally-killing double play.
The loss and Granderson’s injury put a damper on a lot of the optimism generated by the Mets winning seven of nine games. The Mets are starting to talk like contenders, but with Conforto and Granderson hurting and Yoenis Cespedes not hitting (four hits in his last 29 at-bats) such talk sounds premature.
“We’ve got to get healthy and get a couple of guys back,” Collins said. “If we can put together a second half like some of these guys did in the first half, we’ll be fine. If we continue to not play well and continue to lose more key guys it’s going to be tough to catch up.”
Granderson didn’t know how he was injured. He said he felt a tweak after going 0-for-2 in Saturday’s 7-6 win over the Phillies and felt progressively worse after getting home. Brandon Nimmo started in center field for Granderson and went 0-for-4.
“I don’t know exactly what muscle it happens to be,” Granderson said. “I did some stretching to see if certain movements were going to bother it, and there were some parts that provided some discomfort. When I tried to swing and finish the swing, that’s when I noticed it a little bit.”
After visiting the Nationals, the Mets head to St. Louis for the final series before the All-Star break. By then it should be clear whether they will be strutting or staggering into the second half of the season.