New York Mets: Why Today's Loss May Have Be the Final Strike in the Season

Frank GrayCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2011

Daniel Murphy had to be helped off the field after a damaging injury
Daniel Murphy had to be helped off the field after a damaging injuryJim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Mets have had a history of losses against the Atlanta Braves over the years. I will not even mention the several years of heartache during the Braves dynasty of the '90s. They entered today's game versus those Braves at home needing a victory to inch back into the NL Wild Card race.

They had the chance to move to seven games behind with one win today. Instead, they suffered three dramatic strikes to their season at the hands of those Atlanta Braves.

First, there was the obvious strike in the game—they lost 6-5. This game encompassed the way this season has been going for this team. They fought back continuously until they had nothing left and bowed out quietly. Perhaps, the team will bow out of this playoff race in the same manner. The loss today left them nine games behind in the wild card.

With just under 50 games to play, one can argue that they still have some time left to get into the thick of it, but for all intents and purposes, they are pretty much out of the running. A sweep—or at the very least, two out of three—would have helped, but to lose two of three is almost a detrimental and fatal blow to their chances.

Secondly, they suffered a major strike in the loss of the person of Jose Reyes. This is the second time in a month that Reyes has gone down. He complained of pain in his left hamstring (the same complaint as a month ago that landed him on the DL). He was out of the game by the second inning and on his way for an MRI.

It could lead to anything from missing a few days to missing the rest of the season. At this point, anything further on his injury would be speculation. But he aggravated the injury from a month ago, that may not heal as quickly as it did a month ago. We'll have to see.

This can help in the log run, however. For those who want to see Reyes return to the Mets in the offseason, he may not get the big contract money he is seeking if he is shut down for the majority of the remaining season.

Therefore, he may have to settle for a fair offer from several teams and if the Mets are one of them, he'll most likely take it based on his past comments of the organization and the city. The All-Star was batting .336 before he went down today and was in the conversation for MVP in the league before he went down a month ago.

Finally, in the most disheartening strike, the Mets lost their other top hitter today, Daniel Murphy. It happened in the seventh inning when he was taken out while trying to tag Jose Constanza on a stolen base attempt. He could not put any weight on his left knee and had to be carried off. While X-rays were negative, the Mets announced that the MRI revealed a torn MCL and he will miss four months.

The team put Murphy on the DL and called up Reuben Tejada for his roster spot. Murphy was batting .320 with six home runs and 49 RBI this season. He was by far, the most clutch hitter the Mets had.

These are all major strikes to the Mets' season on the same day. All three were monumental to this team's immediate future. While that immediate future is still uncertain, one thing is for sure: the Mets can't wait until September call-ups for fresh and healthy players.

Will those players be in the midst of a playoff push? That remains to be seen, but based on today's events, I would doubt it. The Mets have had their three strikes. They may finally be out now.