For most of this season, the New York Mets were at the top of the National League East division. It was largely due to the pitching led by righty starter Jacob de Grom, who last pitched on July 7 and is out until September with inflammation in right forearm. But now, after getting swept three games by the Philadelphia Phillies on the road this past weekend, just like that, they are in third place. The Mets fell behind both the Phillies, currently in first, and the Atlanta Braves, when they all began play last night (Wednesday, Aug. 11).
When the Mets began a three-game series at Citi Field on Tuesday night versus the Washingyon Nationals, they had lost nine of the last 11 games and were only one game above .500 at 56-55. The Phillies were on a different track, having won eight and sitting at 59-53 when they opened a three-game series at home on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves were 57-55 when they started a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds in Atlanta on Tuesday.
The recent series against Philadelphia concluded on Sunday with the Mets getting a locker room pep talk from their new owner, Steve Cohen, before the game. It didn’t have immediate results as the Mets were shut out 3-0 as one of the former starters, Zach Wheeler, tossed a two-hit, 11 strikeout gem.
“We’ve still got to keep being positive,” said Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who gave up three solo home runs on Sunday in the defeat. It was Walker’s fourth consecutive loss.
“We’re going through a little rough patch right now,” he added, “but it happens. This is a long season. There’s still plenty of ball games left to go. I think we’re going to catch fire, and it’s going to be at the right time.”
It’s more than apparent that the Mets are struggling offensively, although there are also issues on the mound. In Philadelphia, they only scored five runs in three games while giving up 4, 5 and 3.
“In a week from now, two weeks from now, no one’s going to talk about this,” noted Mets first baseman Pete Alonso. “It’s going to be over and done with.” Unless the Mets wake up fast, his optimism is just wishful thinking. The Mets went into Game 1 of their series versus the Nationals with a team batting average of .233, 12th out of 15 teams in the National League and 25th overall in baseball. Their on base percentage was a weak .312, their slugging percentage just .380 and at .693, the Mets’ OPS, on base percentage plus slugging percentage, was near the bottom out of all 30 clubs at .693.
The Mets, who are playing an early day game today (Thursday) at home against the Nationals, will next host the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers, tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. Following the Dodgers, the Mets will depart for San Francisco to play three against the NL West Giants, the team which had the best record in baseball at 71-41 to start the week. They will then play the Dodgers, second in the NL West, for four games in Los Angeles before returning home Aug. 24 to begin a three-game series facing the Giants again.