Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The Mets have lost six straight games, they’re seven games under .500, yet still just five games away from two different playoff spots.
The loss to the Giants on Sunday was one of the more frustrating games I’ve seen all season, complete with bad base running, fielding mistakes, bizarre decisions by the manager and more abysmal hitting with runners in scoring position. It was a Greatest Hits show of what has plagued this team in their worst moments.
In their last six games, all losses, the Mets are batting .145 with runners in scoring position. Yes, .145. Yet, remarkably, they have scored the sixth-most runs in the NL this season with runners in scoring position. This is hard to believe, but it’s true (ESPN, June 9).
Here’s the thing though, 63 games in to the season and Terry Collins is still being forced to essentially play without a starting left and center fielder, a catcher and a shortstop, while getting below-average production from third base, first base and right field (Baseball Reference, June 9). I don’t blame him for reaching, which inevitably leads to poor decisions when desperate.
I genuinely think there is a good team in here some place, I think. They’ve played really well at times, but also played unbelievably bad. They’ve lost a ton of close games. This would be a drastically different discussion if the Mets could be, say, 12-13 in one-run games instead of what they are, which is 8-17. In that case, they’d be over .500 and tied for first. That’s just four little runs.
“I guess there’s always a silver lining where you can find good things here and there, but ultimately it’s about wins and losses,” David Wright told reporters after Sunday’s loss. “These last six days have been losses. It sucks. It’s tough to find those kinds of positives.”
There is 2/3 of the season left in a division that can’t find itself. This, plus the Mets rotation and promising bullpen, give me hope that Sandy Alderson and Collins can sit down and figure out what is missing, what isn’t working and how to fix it. I don’t pretend to know the realistic, practical solution. Is it trading for a hitter? Is it promoting more arms? Is it switching up the lineup? Is it replacing more coaches? The manager? More work on fundamentals before the game? Is it the uniforms? The schedule? The coincidence of competition? The crazy travel these last few weeks? Something else? I don’t know. But, something has to happen, because, as is – much sooner than later – this season is going to crash and burn.