Mets Take a Step Back From Braves


Four games at Citi Field with the league best Atlanta Braves and quite obviously the Mets are a disaster. There is also conclusive evidence about the Mets taking a further step back from the Braves and back in April who would have thought?

But Sunday evening the Mets managed to take the finale of their series, 7-6, with a six-run fifth inning. The Mets looked at times as the team that was supposed to make this an interesting series and first place NL East battle.

Last place team in the division was not in the Mets cards after being outscored 34-3 in the first three games, a deplorable statistic. The Pirates come to Citi Field, then a road trip to St. Louis and no longer crucial games on the schedule. Need I mention the Braves await the Mets next week for three at Truist Park.

But this is about a Mets team that stunk up the joint for three days in Flushing, Queens. A step back for the Mets and miles away from overtaking the supremacy of a Braves team that is headed to a sixth consecutive division title.

And it’s now in that phase of playing out the string with questions regarding the future of manager Buck Showalter, though not the culprit of the Mets going backwards after their 101 win season of 2022. Again, culprits are all-stars not playing to what the back of their baseball cards say.

Citi Field will resemble a ghost town in September,with the exception of promotional giveaways that include a Buck Showalter wind breaker that is perfect for the Fall weather. Wear the windbreaker in style if you are a Mets fan because it is certainly deserved.

Picture this: No Mets team was outscored by that margin in a three-game period. Infielder Danny Mendick recorded the final four outs in the Saturday first game, 21-3 loss and gave up eight runs. This was not competitive baseball, nor should fans be subjected to that torture.

Abraham Almonte, Rafael Ortega, DJ Stewart? Backwards with a starting lineup and outfield of minor league free agents. Jonathan Arauz, a shortstop, claimed off waivers, and starting pitcher Denyi Reyes, also a minor league free agent signee.

Backwards as it is, but unfortunately a reflection of player personnel and not convincing to say the Mets will field a competitive team in 2024, though the previously mentioned names I am sure will not crack the Opening Day roster.

Whereas the Braves are relentless with an All-Star lineup and pitching core, all attributed to player personnel and a minor league system that continues to build with the tendency of drafting and obtaining a winning formula.

To beat one of the best teams in baseball, we know they’re operating on all cylinders and giving you their best shot,” Showalter said Sunday evening about his lineup that managed to salvage a game. “So anytime you can beat them it’s hard.”

Realistic though, what more can the manager say about a franchise that has gone backwards. It’s been awful baseball played and as Showalter said, “It’s going to be inconsistent for a little while.”

Okay, from the start it was the misfortune of losing the closer, Edwin Diaz. It has been the inconsistent lineup and failure to win a string of games that would build momentum, totally opposite of the Braves and reflection of having the league’s best record.

Yes, the Braves go forward and the Mets backwards. Difficult to understand a bullpen without Diaz replaced with Reid Garrett, Dennis Santana, Phil Bickford and Edwin Uceta (25 innings, 22 earned runs.) Pitching development, so they say it will improve.

But this is what they gave fans over the weekend at Citi Field. The Braves, though, are relentless. Call it a Mets curse, as I always hear from a fan base, this was not in the cards for 2023.

The positives: Jose Quintana, Saturday (one run, four hits over six innings) and no home runs allowed in five starts. No wins to account for his efforts. Pete Alonso is worth the watch and stop the rumors of trade talk in the offseason.

Kodai Senga (9-6), Sunday night allowing three runs in the first inning because of a Marcell Ozuna bases-clearing double and striking out seven in six innings. Here the Mets got it right with their investment of a pitcher who continues to make a strong transition after a stellar career in Japan.

Regardless, this series with the Braves continues to see a Mets team in a backwards transition instead of moving forward. Perhaps, and we can hope, they will be competitive and build to 2024. Or is it 2025?

And the manager who tries to stay positive with obvious frustration etched on his face in front of the Mets dugout.

You get people on base, you always want to do more,” Showalter said. “Everybody’s chasing, swinging the bat and doing something, Sometimes, what you should be chasing.”

Chasing, though not this year because the Mets have gone backwards.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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