Two sliders thrown by Jacob deGrom Thursday night were damaging blows to the Mets at Citi Field. And a backup catcher for the Chicago Cubs playing first base, Victor Caratini, in the lineup because Anthony Rizzo is day-to-day may have put a dent into the Mets playoff hopes.
Remember the name Victor Caratini. Two home runs off deGrom, four runs off two sliders. The last one in the 7th inning broke the tie and put a dent into the Mets NL Wild Card hopes.
Noah Syndergaard has the worst start of his career the night before. The Cubs swept a three-game series and the Mets after a 4-1 loss are now facing reality. In the span of a week, the Mets are no longer chasing the Cubs for that Wild Card as they trail by five games.
“Things have snowballed,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We have to start tomorrow, get a win. Tough last six games. That’s tough to swallow. We say this after every game you have to move on.”
Tomorrow it’s chasing the Phillies again. Then the Nationals for three on the road. By the time the Mets return to Citi Field next Friday they face the Phillies again.
The schedule was advertised to be tough. But this run to the Wild Card, let’s just say is not looking good. With 29 games remaining, the deficit is five games and it’s no longer the Cubs as they left town with a six-game losing streak.
The Mets have to chase the Brewers and Diamondbacks. A week ago this series loomed to be the crucial one, A three game sweep over the Indians at home made believers. But the division leading Braves pulled off a three-game sweep.
And the Cubs, a team that seemed to be losing their drive, well they followed with their sweep. That’s six straight losses, all at home. If you believe in miracles, perhaps the Mets have one final run left.
So in that Mets clubhouse Thursday night, they packed and boarded buses to Philadelphia. Not much to say and there was silence.
Silence, though the Mets never have a post game clubhouse of blasting music. They celebrated their success since the All-Star break by doing business on the field. They hit home runs, got timely hits, and they pitched.
Though you can’t blame Jacob deGrom for this loss. He retired 15-straight Cubs between Caralini’s second inning homer and Kris Bryant’s seventh inning single.
He pitched and snapped a streak of 17-straight starts allowing three runs or fewer. But it was those two sliders he did not locate and may have put an end to this postseason push.
“This one stings,” deGrom said. “I felt I had really good stuff. Couple soft hit balls there after I got the first out in the seventh just found their way through. And then the home run. So it’s definitely frustrating.”
Frustrating to take the buzz out of another good crowd at Citi Field. And more frustrating for these Mets, whether they admit to it or not, that their postseason hopes are not as good as they were a week ago.
And it now would take an epic run to get there, not impossible, but difficult to play almost .700 ball in these remaining four weeks.
They need more than J.D. Davis and Wilson Ramos. Davis with his 18th home run in the first inning off an effective Jon Lester. Ramos extended his career-best hitting streak to 22 games the longest streak in the majors this season.
“Just a tough week,” Jeff McNeil said. “Right back at it tomorrow. We’re gonna need some help now.”
But that help can only be the Mets. The Cubs are off the schedule. There are now three teams ahead of them now. That makes the task difficult again and we weren’t talking that way after that three game sweep over the Indians a week ago at Citi Field.
“We’ve got to win,” deGrom said. “I think everybody knows that. It’s late in the season. We kind of dug ourselves a hole and put ourselves in a little one, so we’ve got to dig ourselves again.”
Callaway said, “That’s just the way this game goes.”
It was two sliders. However this hole for the Mets could be too deep to get out.
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