The Mets heard a fundamentally foreign sound in 2022 at Citi Field on Tuesday night. Boo. It wasn’t a thunderbolt, but it wasn’t expressed once or twice. It was part of the soundtrack to another frustrating loss against a not-so-good opponent.
It was supposed to be the easy part of the schedule, the part where the Mets attached a strong end to the essentially optimistic first five months of the 2022 campaign. The part where fans celebrated in the countdown toward their first NL East title since 2015.
Instead, the Mets sway, like the tired marathon feeling of a finish line still a step or two away.
“September is an eternity when you’re trying to finish a good season,” Buck Showalter said.
The Mets manager said he pulled into his office on Tuesday night after the discussion A second straight loss for the Cubs, this one is 4-1, During his post-match press conference. Showalter talked a lot about impending mistakes and things that could have been.
The Mets had the ability to open up a lead in the first half. But Brandon Nemo was called in when he hit what was likely a Jeff McNeil song clean on the floor, and Pete Alonso missed his two-running ride by an inch when he said the wind blew his release only to the bad side from the left. Wrong column. By the time Alonso hit his 34th home, it was the ninth inning and the blast was cosmetic – much like Homer’s ninth inning drilled by Francisco Lindor the night before in the Cubs’ 5-2 victory.
Two losses to the Cubs left the Mets 5-6 in 11 games against the Nationals, Pirates, Marlins and Cubs. Chicago is the “best” of those clubs in 22 games under 0.500. The Mets are still in first place with 19 games remaining, which is what prompted Alonso to say: “We earned every point where we are. We weren’t so lucky. We’ve been really good all year. We’re in it.”
In Alonso’s words, there’s no reason for the Mets to hang their heads so gloomyly, even though the lack of attack had a negative impact on team-wide energy. The Mets still have the thinnest NL schedule from here until the end of the season, but they’ll need their attack to find the damage consistency that has characterized the season’s opening months.
This was made even more difficult by the inability to implement the three complementary pieces they had obtained on the trade deadline. Tyler Naquin, Darrin Ruf and Daniel Vogelbach started the game on Tuesday and collectively hit 0.212 as the Mets, with a 0.682 OPS. Vogelbach then went to 0 for 3 to drop to 5 for 42 in his last 16 games without hitting an extra base. He received as many boos as any dead at the loss as he continued a cycle of folk hero, in the immediate aftermath of the trade, to “take him out of the lineup.”
Between Alonso close to Homer in the first half and actual Homer in the ninth, the Mets didn’t face much of a threat, managing only three hits (without injury) with the sprinters in the scoring center.
Jacob Degrom tied for the major league tag with the 39th straight start by allowing three or fewer winning runs (now shared with Jim Scott, 1913-14). DeGrom hit 10, but wasn’t overwhelming allowing three runs in six innings (a good start in terms of stats, but not in terms of deGrom). But if a Mets fan is looking for encouragement it’s this: Prior to the game, coach Jeremy Hefner described DeGroom that he has now completed his spring training in the majors and that the ropes are off. The Mets believe the ball can now be delivered every fifth day until the end of the season.
Max Scherzer is scheduled to start Triple-A on Wednesday. Hefner said that if Scherzer had not been put on the injury list due to left-sided irritation, the veteran right-winger has looked so good lately that he would have started in majors on Wednesday. Instead, it will be reinserted into the spin next time. Not only will this put the common players together for the stretch, but the five-man veteran’s rotation will be complete once again, creating a streak they can benefit from.
David Peterson will start on Wednesday, but the Mets are juggling his participation in the first five or six rounds with Trevor Williams under certain circumstances. If they do, Peterson will be available from the pen no later than Sunday against Pittsburgh. The Mets have never found a trustworthy left-handed savior despite their need all season. When they snapped their team photo on Tuesday afternoon, Julie Rodriguez and Alex Claudio were the only left-wing loyalists standing in front of the camera.
Hefner said he thought the combination, in particular, of Peterson’s slider and drill bit boring on the left would translate to a base. Showalter and Hefner acknowledge that they will likely have to find awkward test positions for Peterson and Taylor Miguel (five runs in two-thirds of the game at Triple-A on Tuesday in their last Test before promotion) to see what they have for the playoff as the Mets simultaneously work to hold on to the win. at the NL East race.
“It’s going to be hard to go into the game and try to win it, which is the most important thing, but also to get some little things done,” Showalter admitted.
But the important thing is to start taking advantage of the easy schedule by rediscovering the first five months of the season.