Credit: MLB.com

The Mets are in the midst of a stretch of games that can aptly be characterized as brutal. Already reeling after losing seven of their previous 10, the Mets began a seven-game road trip in San Francisco on Monday night with a 7-5 loss to the Giants.

They went into the second game of the three-game series on Tuesday night in third place in the National League East behind the division-leading Atlanta Braves, who were 63-56, and the Philadelphia Phillies, who were 61-57. The Mets dropped to 59-59 after Monday’s defeat. The Giants increased their Major League Baseball best record to 77-42.

“We just gotta go and play our game,” Mets manager Luis Rojas reasoned after his team lost their fourth straight on Monday. “We can’t do more than that. Just prepare like we normally prepare. We can’t worry about anything we can’t control or standings wise.”

The Mets will have no time to exhale after completing their series with the Giants yesterday (Wednesday). They begin a four-game slate with the Los Angeles Dodgers tonight. The defending World Series champions had the second best record in baseball at 73-46 when they faced the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The Mets are scheduled to finish their matchup with the Dodgers on Sunday but only have a brief, one day respite before having to deal with the Giants again at Citi Field for three games beginning next Tuesday.

They have been facing the game’s best without three of the most talented players in the sport. Pitcher Jacob deGrom, second baseman Javier Baez and shortstop Francisco Lindor are all shelved with injuries. On a path to win his third Cy Young Award before going on the injured list, deGrom last took the mound on July 7 due to elbow inflammation. The right hander is 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA, 146 strikeouts and only 11 walks in 92 innings.

Baez, who the Mets acquired last month in a trade with the Chicago Cubs, has been on the IL since Aug. 12 with back spasms. He is batting .241 with 24 homers and 68 RBIs this season but just .171 with two homers and three RBIs in 10 games played for the Mets.

Lindor, who came to the Mets in a trade with the Cleveland Indians in January, hasn’t played since injuring his oblique against the Pirates on July 16. After signing a 10-year, $341 million extension with the Mets at the end of March, he has hit just .228, produced only 11 home runs and 36 RBIs, well below the gifted infielder’s capabilities.

Baez and Lindor may be back on the field when the Mets return from Los Angeles, and the team’s key decision makers, including acting general manager Zack Scott, are cautiously optimistic deGrom could pitch again sometime in September. But if they are too far out of the playoff hunt, he likely will sit out the remainder of this season. The Mets were 6.5 games behind the San Diego Padres for the second National League wild-card spot when play began on Tuesday.