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Another Met Goes Down, and It’s an Important One

Because Mets fans have not been consistently kicked in the genital area enough over the last year (or two years, or three years, or whatever time span you choose), last night brought a season-ending injury to a supremely talented pitcher for the second time in a week. Such a happy moment, isn't it, when a stadium goes dead silent and hope is escorted off the field, isn't it?

Yes, star prospect Jenrry Mejia, the phenom the Mets have jerked to and fro all season, left the game in the third inning with "acute strain of a muscle in the back of his shoulder," which is a lot of words to use and still not give anyone much of an idea of how hurt he is, or what's hurt. He had an MRI last night, and it seems likely that no matter how serious the injury is, he'll be shut down. (The Mets won, by the way, and they're back at .500.)

It was a sadly logical ending to a season in which Mejia —; the team's best pitching prospect in a decade, a kid who is only 20 years old — started the season as a rarely used big-league reliever, sat idle for a month or so, pitching only in cleanup spots, before the Mets finally woke up and sent him back down to be a starter again. This had been his third start, and the first two were far from great (ten earned runs in nine innings), perhaps because he'd been yanked around all season. You're supposed to take care of your superstar 20-year-old pitchers. You thought the Yankees were bad with Joba Chamberlain? The Mets practically tied Mejia to his bunk bed and pelted him with socks filled with soap. If he is healthy enough to start next season on time, it will be little thanks to the Mets.

By the way, Jason Fry at Faith and Fear in Flushing put forth a terrifying, hilarious postulate early this morning: What if last night would have been that long-imagined, desperate holy grail, no-hitter night? The Mets were down 1–0 when Mejia left the game but hadn't given up a hit yet. What if they had lost 1–0 without giving up a hit the rest of the way? It would have, at last, been that quixotic Mets no-hitter ... and it would have happened on a night when their top young pitcher was hurt and on a night when the Mets lost. That kind of seems like how the Mets' first no-hitter would go, isn't it?

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Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images