The Mets are playing these days without their starting shortstop, Ruben Tejada, who is sidelined because of a strained right groin.

They also are playing without their starting catcher, Josh Thole, who has a concussion.

They are playing without their starting left fielder, Jason Bay, who is recovering from a fractured left rib.

And they are playing without one of their starting pitchers, Mike Pelfrey, who recently underwent Tommy John surgery.

Every one of those players was thriving before his injury.

Yet the Mets are also somehow winning, sweeping the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park and taking five games in a row overall to poast an 18-13 record.

For a team that appeared to boast little roster depth heading into the season, the Mets have been able to cobble together victories with a cast of rookies, backups and career journeymen.

"The way we've gotten to where we are right now is that there's been so many different people who have come through," manager Terry Collins said. "We've got to do it with 25 guys."

Collins said earlier this week that perhaps his team has been helped by the fact that they've been here before.

The Mets suffered through more than a dozen significant injuries during the 2009 season, knocking many of their stars out for large chunks of the season. And they have not been able to escape that reputation since.

The following spring, the Mets placed signs entitled "Prevention and Recovery" throughout their clubhouse, referring to the organization's new philosophy and goals to stay healthy.

But they have not stayed healthy. More injuries hit the following season, and again in 2010, when first baseman Ike Davis, third baseman David Wright and second baseman Daniel Murphy all suffered major injuries and missed multiple months of the season.

Not to mention that ace lefty Johan Santana missed the entire year recovering from shoulder surgery.

With that as their backdrop, the Mets entered this season believing that as long as they stayed healthy, they would be able to compete.

In that regard, they're 1-for-2.

"You can't do anything about it," Collins said of the injuries. "It's all part of the game. And I've always attributed it to the fact that they should be proud of the way the guys play the game here.

"Nothing stands in their way. They don't change the way they play the game to try to avoid injury, which I salute. I think that's a great tribute to the kinds of players we have."

It hasn't been easy for the Mets, who lost Tejada during a 16-for-38 stretch at the plate, Bay during a 9-for-31 stretch with three home runs and Pelfrey during his best run since early 2010.

They also lost Thole after his best start to a season ever, reaching base at least once in each of his first 18 games.

But the Mets have been able to win regardless on the strength of their backups.

After a rough first few innings, rotation plug Miguel Batista settled down to keep the Mets in Tuesday's game until their late comeback.

Backup shortstop Justin Turner and catcher Rob Johnson played key roles in Wednesday's victory, two days after rookie infielder Jordany Valdespin lifted the Mets with the first hit of his career -- a game-winning, three-run home run against the Phillies.

Simply put, the Mets are not worried where their next contribution will come from, because they are confident it will come. Possibly even from someone they don't expect.

"It seems like every night, somebody different is contributing," starting pitcher Dillon Gee said. "That's a great way to win games. I think the whole team's on the same page, and that's just to go out there every night and have a great team win."