Gio doesn't like Mets' title hopes if Starling Marte can't return for playoffs

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The Mets are entering their most crucial series of the season with a three-game stint in Atlanta, but they still won’t have one of their most valuable bats in the lineup.

Buck Showalter told reporters on Wednesday that Starling Marte’s fractured finger is still in a splint, and he doesn’t have a timetable for the All-Star’s return. Swelling and discomfort still linger in that finger, and he still can’t grip a bat or ball.

If Marte isn’t able to come back for the postseason, Gio believes that may be New York’s undoing in its title hopes.

“Remember when he first got hit?” Gio said. “It was ‘maybe it’s not an IL stint, could be day to day.’ It’s been three weeks and he’s not coming back for the Braves series.

“The focus is going to turn, when the division race is over, to winning a championship, and I don’t think the Mets can do that without Starling Marte back and contributing. They’re gonna need him. He has been critical to this offense the entire year.”

The challenge for Marte, if he is able to return, is that he hasn’t played in over three weeks, and it will have been even longer if he comes back. There will be little to no time to knock the rust off for Marte, which Gio says isn’t a luxury in October where every at-bat is critical and against top pitching.

“Not only does he have to come back, but he has to come back and produce like he’d been producing,” Gio said. “If you’re gonna beat [the Dodgers], you’re gonna need Starling Marte.”

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