It…wasn’t the Mets
WHAT HAPPENED, IT GETS WORSE:
If you thought the woes of a 10-18 May would dissipate with a new calendar month, you will not be too pleased to learn that June is and will be much worse. The Mets and Orioles met on Tuesday in ways that only two immovable objects staunchly micromanaged by ownership and doomed to continual mediocrity can; 2-8 in their last 10-games, putting forth starters with ERA’s north of six and a half. The Mets might’ve had the slight edge, though, as they entered with three fewer losses in a row. Since there are no ties or scenarios in which both teams can lose the game, by rule somebody had to win. Someone’s streak was going to die. And if somebody had to win, by God, the Mets were going to make sure it was Alex Cobb.
Sure, they haven’t hit much of late, but this one felt like the Mets wanted to assure themselves that nobody was swinging a hot bat. Dealing in an abundance of cool-breeze generators, the offense looked completely befuddled by Cobb for six innings. The only respite came at a time when the Mets were carrying a 21-inning scoreless streak and Alex Cobb a no-hitter. Jay Bruce singled just past Chris Davis to start the fifth inning and was soon followed by a Kevin Plawecki double. Jose Bautista would bat for Jason Vargas two batters later, hitting a sac fly to left field and cutting the Orioles lead in half. Outside of a small chance in the 8th inning and a couple two-out walks, that was it. That was the entirety of the Mets offense.
For the strength of the Mets’ bullpen struggles earlier in this downturn, their hitters have enacted their payback. Excluding the six-run 14th inning against the Cubs on Saturday, the pitching staff has allowed just three runs in their last 31 innings. Contrast that with the six runs scored by the Mets in their last 41 innings. Either the Mets can’t score enough to outrun their bullpen, or the Mets can’t keep enough runs off the board to handle their struggles at the plate.
Things aren’t all bad, maybe? Jason Vargas, who allowed two of those runs yesterday, looked better after a shaky start to the day. Who knows if it will continue, but Vargas has looked fine in his last two outings for a backend starter. Bruce reached base three times. Seth Lugo continued to pitch well. There are positives, sure, but there are always positives. There will always be positives if you look hard enough. Eventually, however, the macro-outlook always outweighs the micro.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
The Mets lost to a much worse team in a game they could’ve used to turn things around. They continued to give starting pitchers not named Jacob deGrom the Jacob deGrom treatment, which seems ill-advised. A sweep, even if just two games, would’ve been huge for a Mets team getting set to kick-off a gauntlet of a stretch against the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets look to improve on their shiny new 27-31 record by sending Zack Wheeler to the mound against Dylan Bundy. They’ll be looking to avoid an 0-6 homestand and a sweep at the hands of the worst team in baseball. Have no fear, it is getting to be that time when the Mets roll off a handful of wins to maintain our blind optimism. Who knows, maybe that’ll start today.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports