With some late-season injuries piling up, the New York Mets probably aren't too upset to only have two games left.
Now missing five key players until the spring, the Mets will get one last look at rookie Rafael Montero in the middle game of this series with the Houston Astros on Saturday night.New York (77-83) is struggling to get through the season with its health intact, losing Niese to an elevated heart rate Friday after learning earlier in the day a bone spur in Travis d'Arnaud's right elbow will require surgery.Niese's condition, which he's dealt with before, forced him to leave after 5 1/3 scoreless innings of Friday's 3-1 loss."Unless I got a procedure done, there's a chance that it can come back. But it really isn't worth doing anything about because it doesn't happen that regularly," he said. "I think it's just physical stress. ... Adrenaline ... kind of spikes it, and that's kind of one of (those) things where that's the way my heart is built."He and d'Arnaud are the latest Mets to have their seasons prematurely end, joining David Wright (left shoulder) and Juan Lagares (right elbow). Prospect Dilson Herrera's strained right quad, meanwhile, could rule him out of the final two games.Jacob deGrom, perhaps the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year, was shut down due to an innings limit, and that opens the door for Montero (1-3, 4.38 ERA) to get one more start.One of a number of New York's promising young arms, Montero has spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Las Vegas, but a strong spring could be enough for him to earn a full-time spot on the Mets' staff in 2015.The right-hander has shown glimpses of his potential, going 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in his past four games -- two starts -- in the majors. He was solid in his last start Sept. 10, striking out seven with four walks while allowing three hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 2-0 win over Colorado.Montero followed that six days later with a scoreless inning of relief in a 9-1 win over Miami.That's the Mets' only home win in their last six games, and they've hit .204 while scoring 12 runs in those defeats. They were held to five hits Friday, one of which was Curtis Granderson's 20th homer.Granderson is 11 for 25 with two homers in his last seven games.The Astros (70-90) ended a three-game slide in the series opener, and will now let Samuel Deduno (2-6, 4.66) start for the first time since June 14. He allowed seven runs and two homers with two walks in 2 2/3 innings with Minnesota in a 12-9 loss at Detroit.The right-hander has made 19 relief appearances since, including four since Houston acquired him off waivers Aug. 30. He's 0-1 while allowing four runs with five strikeouts and four walks in 4 2/3 innings with the Astros.Jose Altuve, 1 for 4 with an RBI Friday, is trying to become the first Astro to win a batting title. His .342 average leads the majors, six points ahead of Detroit's Victor Martinez."It would mean a lot to me," Altuve said. "But five, six points I think is nothing for Victor in two days."