NEW YORK – There is no panic inside the Mets after 18 games to go to the Major League Baseball playoffs.
frustration? surely. Lots of it. But panic? not exactly.
The Mets are in the midst of one of the rockiest stretches of the 2022 season. On Wednesday, they were six runs behind in the first half and couldn’t come back in a 6-3 loss to the Cubs.
The Mets were swept away for the first time in a three-game streak this season at Citi Field. Keep falling back at the wrong time against the worst of the league. In their last 12 games against the Nationals, Pirates, Marlins and Cubs, the Mets have achieved a 5-7 mark. They are now 14-14 over the past month.
It’s still there for us,” Buck Showalter said. “As all the guys will tell you, we control it. It would be frustrating if we didn’t. It’s the one thing we’ve been talking about all year long called ‘play better.’ There isn’t much talk. We need to play better.”
The Mets still have a half-game advantage over the Braves in the Eastern National League, but they haven’t done much to spur confidence over the past week. But they know they have a veteran squad they can count on during these times.
“To be honest, it’s hard sometimes,” but the number of pro players we have here, we pick each other out. We say: It’s okay. turn the page. Get rid of it.’ We go forward. I have my days where I hang out a little longer than I normally do, but guys pick me up and vice versa.”
Tough Beginnings Series
After two straight losses to the Cubs, David Peterson has been assigned the role of stopper, but his lack of control only advances the Mets’ recent struggles.
Peterson made the shortest start to the Mets’ season at a massive spot. He only managed to get one as Cubs’ lineup ripped him apart for five earned runs on two-strokes and three-runs.
Peterson’s rickety command – only 12 of his 29 pitches destined for strikes – was front and center as he marched into the three-stroke start to load bases across 17 pitches. Then, after hitting Patrick Wisdom, Peterson ditched back-to-back pairings Leanne Gomez and PJ Higgins.
“The way you didn’t put us in a good place from the start, that’s what I’m most frustrated about,” Peterson said. “That’s on me. You put us in a hole early and put us in a difficult position. I will learn from it and be better.”
The series with Cubs also featured two uncharacteristic starts from the Mets novice.
On Monday, Chris Bassett turned in his second shortest outing of the season as he only managed 3 innings while surrendering five earned runs in five hits, including a pair of home runs and two runs of walks. This was the most number of rounds Bassett had given up since a seven-round showing against the Padres on June 8.
Bassett, who dropped to 13-8, threw 88 or more throws in 14 consecutive starts. This was his first loss since July 23.
Meanwhile, Jakob Degrom had another good outing, hitting 10 times in six runs, but the three runs gained matched the most he’s given up this season.
help is on the way
While Peterson was rocking on his last outing with the Mets, Max Scherzer, who was on the mend from left-handed irritability, was walking on rubber for class AAA Syracuse.
Scherzer hit seven strokes across 3.2 innings while allowing one to run with three strokes and one walk. Showalter said the hope is for Scherzer to make his next start against the Brewers next Monday on the road.
Meanwhile, two more arms are on their way back to the Mets. Tylor Megill will take the final step in his rehabilitation from a strain in his right shoulder when he plays an overdrive at Syracuse on Friday. Meanwhile, Drew Smith, who is returning from a strained cross streak, started playing on back-to-back days at Syracuse on Friday and Saturday.
The Mets pitching crew will be pressed on each return.
Peterson thrived as a sixth starting player for the Mets, but he faced tough times. The 27-year-old left-handed player is now 1-3 with 14 points scored in 20 innings (6.30 ERA) during his last five starts. His era swelled from 3.30 to 3.91 during that time.
The Mets’ plan seemed to work to play Peterson in the knockout role as another left-handed ace opposite Julie Rodriguez, but with a handful of tough performances along the stretch, he may have to work out Syracuse’s kinks.
In the last stretch against teams towards the bottom of the rankings, there were plenty of peaks and valleys for the Mets.
After Wednesday’s loss, the Mets were averaging two runs per game in seven defeats to 8.4 runs in five wins in their last three series.
“I would say we are in a position where we all want to get it done,” Francisco Lindor said. “We all desperately want to get it done. We all try to do whatever it takes to get it done. We just didn’t get it done.”
One area that continued to be a glaring liability was the team’s appointed hitters.
In the last 15 games, the Mets have received five hits in 50 DH center hitters – all from Daniel Vogelbach.
Darren Rove had yet to hit an 18 bat before he singled out at the bottom of the fifth inning on Wednesday. Prospective Marc Ventus hasn’t had much success in his first 10 since making his major league debut.
And Vogelbach is 5 for 31 with three runs, one RBI and six walks so far this September.
Certain players, such as Thomas Nido who had nine hits and two home runs in September, and Eduardo Escobar who had 19 hits, five home runs, nine RBI runs and nine runs this month, caught on. Others, like Pete Alonso, Brandon Nemo, and Mark Kanha, have cooled.
And the Mets miss the production of Starling Marte, who came out with a broken finger.
The Mets will be looking to get back on track during a four-game series at home against the Buccaneers. The Mets swept a double header to take two out of three in Pittsburgh September 6-7.
They want to know a few things before traveling to face the Brewers next week. The Brewers will be incentivized as they are only two games from the last Wild Card spot.
After that, the only other Mets series against a team with a winning record is Game of the Year against the Braves in the second-to-last series of the season. The Mets also face athletics, the Marlins, and the Nationals below the stretch.
“We’re trying to get to that finish line and we have a chance to be the last team standing,” Showalter said. “All of these goals are still there for us.”