Can it get any worse for the Mets?
Jacob deGrom’s season took on a new level of frustration, the Mets’ offense continues to come up small in clutch situations, such are the few they’ve been getting, and they continued their incredible free fall. After losing to the Dodgers last night for the 11th straight time, the Mets are 19-41 in their past 60 games and have now dropped a season low 12 games under .500.
The talented Mets right hander has tried to put his struggling team on his back, but some nights, you just don’t have it. Last night was one of those nights. “I was frustrated with myself, I couldn’t get the ball where I wanted to throw it so I was just frustrated with that,” a somber deGrom said after the game.
The game started well as deGrom got lead off batter Joc Pederson on a bouncer back to the mound but on his fourth pitch of the game, Dodgers’ first baseman Max Muncy crushed a fastball into the upper deck in right field for a stunning 1-0 lead.
Jose Bautista’s RBI double off of Clayton Kershaw, who was making his first start since being activated off the DL, tied the game at one in the second. Devin Mesoraco’s walk put runners on first and second but, in what was a portent of things to come, the Mets could not cash in for more as Amed Rosario hit into a 5-4-3 double play.
The Mets actually took a 2-1 lead in the third on Wilmer Flores’ two out, RBI single that scored deGrom, who had led off the inning with a hard single to right off Kershaw, but the fourth inning was where the game got away from the Mets and their ace pitcher.
With two on and two out, deGrom had a 1-2 count on pinch hitter Chris Taylor when he thought he threw strike three but home plate umpire Ed Hickox called it a ball. On the 2-2 pitch, Taylor lined a two run double to left center field to give the Dodgers’ a 3-2 lead. “I wanted that pitch, big situation, just didn’t get it. You know it was off the plate,” deGrom said.
Coming up small in the clutch was never more evident than in the fifth. With runners on first and third and no one out against Dodgers’ left hander Caleb Ferguson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Wilmer Flores struck out and Michael Conforto ended the inning with a soft ground out to first as the boos rained down from the CitiField faithful.
In the seventh, Brandon Nimmo lined a one out triple to left center field that somehow got past Dodgers’ center fielder Cody Bellinger but the ensuing batter, Todd Frazier, saw four pitches, did not take the bat off of his shoulder and struck out looking. Cabrera grounded out to second as the Mets wasted another golden opportunity to tie the game.
The Dodgers blew the game open with five runs in the eighth but it was lost way before then.
It’s a punch to the Mets’ proverbial stomach when deGrom doesn’t have it. Even on an off night, he goes six innings and gives up three earned runs for the first time since April 16th, when he took a no decision against the Nationals. (BTW: that was the Mets’ third loss of the season and the bookmark date of when this free fall began) The ace right hander felt like he had nothing going for him. “Change up was terrible, slider was good at times, but other times it wasn’t even close to being a strike,” he said. “I had one pitch, fastball, that I couldn’t really locate. You’re trying to get big league hitters out with a pitch that you don’t really know where it’s going and the other ones were garbage. Just wasn’t very good tonight.”
The losing and constant failure to cash in on scoring chances to support some solid pitching performances from their starters has to be wearing on the Mets psyche, but Nimmo refuses to cave in to the pressure. “It’s tough, it’s tough right now,” Nimmo said. Obviously we’re not happy with the results but I see guys coming in here working everyday. We’re really not going out there trying to lose, everybody’s out here, battling and trying to win.”
Nimmo has been one of the lone bright spots amongst an everyday lineup that lacks in athleticism and situational hitting. First year Mickey Callaway continues to come up empty when trying to find answers. “Obviously, we wanna win and we’re not, so I’m proud of the way the guys are preparing and coming to the park everyday with a good attitude,” Callaway said, “but the most frustrating thing is that we’re not seeing wins for all the hard work the guys are putting in.”
The Mets are well aware that their chance to turn this season around is slipping away fast but Nimmo said they can’t wave the white flag on the season. “There’s definitely that thought but for us, we can’t think that way,” Nimmo said. “We have to try and come out the next day, ready to go and hoping and working for things to turn around. If we ever come out and think it’s too late and just give up on the season then things will get even worse.”
They can’t get much worse, can they?