Massive Mets injury setback sets NY further behind Braves in NL East

Anytime a Braves rival is weakened, it is helpful...but it came at the unfortunate cost of a talented young arm.

Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game Two
Miami Marlins v New York Mets - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages

It wasn't that long ago that the Atlanta Braves chief rival in the National League East were the Mets. It was only a short window between the Nationals time in the sun followed by the Phillies' recent resurgence, but it was a fun pitched battle between the two teams especially in 2022 when the race went down to the wire.

Unfortunately, the Mets had to spoil the fun and completely imploded in on themselves last season despite spending enough to buy some of the league's teams outright. They had some injuries to key players, other guys under performed, and just like that the Mets turned into sellers at the trade deadline and finished 12 games under .500 and nine games out of a playoff spot and their GM ended up getting put on MLB's naughty list and resigned..

One bright spot for the Mets last year, though, was the play of Kodai Senga. While he has yet to play long enough to truly become a thorn in the Braves' side (again, the Mets were terribad as a whole), Senga shoved last year with a 2.98 ERA and finished second in NL Rookie of the Year voting and seventh in the NL Cy Young race. As painful as it is to admit, it appears the Mets made a strong move in bringing him on board.

Sadly, early spring training injury updates are almost never good news and he has apparently been bitten by the injury bug as Senga will start the season the injured list with a shoulder injury.

Senga's shoulder injury is a massive blow to a key Braves' rival

Honestly, this stinks because aside from playing for the worst possible franchise from the Braves perspective, Senga is a real talent and one that is objectively good for the game of baseball. He struck out 202 batters in 166.1 innings of work while helping MLB to continue to grow in worldwide appeal.

What is particularly troublesome for the Mets is that this is a shoulder injury with no clear timetable for his return. The technical term for his injury is a posterior capsule strain and shoulder capsule injuries are what ultimately forced guys like Kyle Wright and Brandon Woodruff to have to undergo surgery. If it is just a strain, some rest should do the trick. If rest and rehab doesn't help, however, the Mets could be without Senga for a long time.

For the Braves, this does have an impact on the NL East race and gives Atlanta some breathing room in what is still a tough division. While it wasn't overly likely that the Mets were going to be major players at the top of the division, they still have some talent on that roster and some intriguing young players coming up that should help them. A lot had to go right, but it wasn't a zero percent chance that New York contended this year. Unfortunately for the Mets, the "a lot had to go right" plan just got off to a really bad start.

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