Mets expected to place Jon Niese and Scott Hairston on DL with rib cage injuries

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The Mets have dropped five in a row and 11 out of 13 to fall eight games under the .500 mark. And there’s a chance things could get even uglier in the days ahead.

According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said following tonight’s loss that left-hander Jon Niese and Scott Hairston are both headed to the disabled list with rib cage injuries.

Niese was smoked for a season-high eight runs on 10 hits over four innings in a loss to the Phillies tonight. He had his start pushed back a day after tweaking his right side on a swing last week and apparently isn’t feeling any better. The 24-year-old left-hander has a 4.40 ERA this season, including a 5.67 ERA since the All-Star break. If we’re talking about an oblique injury, it’s possible he could be done for the year.

Not only will the Mets need to replace Niese in the starting rotation next week, but they’ll need a second starter to pitch in Monday’s doubleheader against the Marlins. According to Rubin, they’ll likely pick two from a group that includes Miguel Batista, Pat Misch and Chris Schwinden. Yeesh.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.