Russell: Like Last Year, Mets Lose On Sunday

There were many reasons the Mets finished in 70-92 in 2017, but they saved their worst performances for Sunday afternoons. There was the 23-5 loss in Washington. The Adam Wilk emergency start game against the Marlins in which the Mets offense was shutout on one hit. The Mothers Day game in Milwaukee where the Mets blew a six-run lead. A blowout loss to the Angels in which Tommy Milone failed to make it out of the second inning. And Tyler Pill making a start which finished with an 11-1 Pirates win.

Today’s 5-1 loss to the Cardinals was the Mets first loss of the Mickey Callaway Era after two wins over St. Louis. Steven Matz gave up three runs in four innings, surrendering a pair of home runs. “He just couldn’t get the ball over the plate consistently,” Callaway said. The manager did mention that Matz battled and didn’t give up more than one run in any inning.

Give credit to the Cardinals, who had multiple runners on base for most of the afternoon. Marcell Ozuna collected his first three hits of the season, including an RBI single and RBI double. Paul DeJong hit two home runs and Yadier Molina hit his second in three games. “We didn’t execute the pitches we wanted to while those guys were up,” Callaway said. “Those guys are dangerous hitters. They were probably due at some point, and if you make bad pitches to them they’re going to make you pay.”

Of course it would be foolish to complain after the first loss of the season. “If we win every series, we’ll be in great shape,” Callaway said.

There are some trends the team will need to reverse. Last season, the Mets were 16-36 in the last game of a series, the worst record in baseball. They were 14-33 in day games. While their 56-59 record in night games wasn’t great, it’s almost hard to believe that they could be almost a .500 team at one time of the day and a team with a winning percentage under 30 percent at another. The Mets lost six of their first eight home games by a combined score of 59-24.

Perhaps it was random, a coincidence that struggling pitchers or fill-ins seemed to have their turn in the rotation for a Sunday matinee. The pitching struggled on most days of the week ending with Y, which is how the team ERA finished over five.

In the first three games of this season, the bullpen has looked good. On Sunday, Paul Sewald, Jacob Rhame, Jerry Blevins and AJ Ramos combined to give up two runs over five innings.

After scoring 15 runs in the first two games, the Mets were held to one run on Sunday although they didn’t go down in order until the eighth inning.

One loss does not a Sunday swoon make. But hopefully Mets ticket holders with Sunday plans get a better bang for their buck this year.

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