ATLANTA -- New York manager Terry Collins can take heart in the fact that there's not an injury issue regarding the starting pitcher for Friday's game.
The Mets send left-hander Steven Matz (7-3, 2.74 ERA) to the mound to face Atlanta Braves rookie Aaron Blair (0-4, 7.19) in the second game of the four-game series.
Matz is completely healthy as opposed to Noah Syndergaard, Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler.
Syndergaard left with discomfort in his right elbow after throwing six innings Wednesday. An MRI revealed no structural damage and Syndergaard is expected to take his next turn Monday against Washington.
Wheeler, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, received a cortisone injection after sensory nerve irritation in his right elbow. No structural damage was detected and Wheeler was given the OK to return to baseball activity as tolerated.
Colon took a line drive off his thumb Tuesday, but is expected to make his scheduled start Sunday in Atlanta.
"A lot of young guys know what's in their best interest," Collins said. "It's in our best interest to protect them."
When you throw in the injuries to center fielder Yoenis Cespides (wrist), outfielder Juan Lagares (left thumb), first baseman Lucas Duda (stress fracture, lower back) and third baseman David Wright (neck surgery), there's no question why Collins is tired of talking about injuries.
Said second baseman Neal Walker: "We've just got to keep grinding, we've got to go with what we have. This is no different than what we've kind of been going through, especially with David and Duda and (Juan) Lagares. We can't worry about what's going on there. We're just going through a stretch right now where guys are dinged up. It's a tough time of summer. We're certainly scratching and clawing to get back to playing the baseball we know we're capable of."
One guy who won't miss seeing the New York regulars is Blair, who is winless in 10 major league starts. The rookie looked better in his last start, when he allowed three runs in six innings and received no decision against the Mets.
The Braves hope to get a similar performance to the one turned in by rookie John Gant on Wednesday in Miami. He allowed three runs over 5 2/3 innings and retired 13 straight batters after surviving a rough start.
"With the exception of one inning, he did a great job," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "He did a good job of keeping us in the ball game. He keeps pounding it in the strike zone."
Blair, however, has suffered from high pitch counts and the inability get pitch deep in the game. He has yet to pitch past the sixth inning. Opponents are batting .298 against the big right-hander.
The Braves have won the last four meetings against the Mets after Thursday's 3-2 comeback victory at Turner Field. Atlanta has won seven of its last eight games and snapped New York's seven-game winning streak at Turner Field.
"They're playing very good right now," Collins said. "We're having a tough time with them."