by Disha Thoussar
FOX Sports MLB Writer
NEW YORK – A month from now, a file mets They expect to play in their first National League series since 2015. But to get there, their performance must be very different – and vastly superior – than what they did on Monday. 5-2 loss to me Cubs.
The Mets’ attack set the tone early in the first half, when they loaded up the bases against Chicago Javier the Lion, a rookie right-wing worker who ends up in New York as a nuisance all night long. The top of the Mets lineup flew at bat, sending six men to the plate in the opening frame.
But with the load of two parties and rules, Mark Kanha He did not lift his racket off his shoulder. He hit hits on four pitches, and the Mets failed to capitalize on him, ending their threat instead of giving the right hand Chris Bassett Early start support.
Bassett, in contrast to his recent successful outings and large seasonal specimen, had his second shortest outing this year. The veteran coughed five-earned runs in 3.2 innings before leaving, his head down and disapproving, to take a shower. Bassett’s rare tough start was a tough situation that it’s easy to imagine a repeat a few weeks from now, when the Mets are likely to compete in the post-season.
If a seasoned starter, who is usually dependable, beats it up one October night, the Mets will want to strike back and pick it up right away, before the outcome gets out of hand. But if Monday is a test of how things will develop in the playoffs, Mets fans, who are trying to be optimistic about a change, will need better reasons to view the cup as half full.
The lion made six runs of one-ball runs in his fifth major championship early in his career. But this was not a faint performance, as New York left 10 men at the base and went 1 for 9 with the sprinters in the scoring position, with no more missed opportunity than a failed performance in eighth.
5-1 downs with six holdouts to spare, Jeff McNeill He led the stroke with a crowded single, complete with a head-first slice at first base. Alonso’s house followed by a single running line to the left field, and Daniel Fogelbach Run a four-step walk to load the bases with no one out.
But Kanha, who broke his first major slam of his career two nights ago in Miami, apparently left that mojo in South Florida. For the second time on Monday, he hit the loaded bases. then Eduardo Escobarswinging a hot racquet in the past two weeks since coming off the injured list, has come out to a shallower position.
Then Buck Showalter made a decision that could change the outcome of the game. with right fielder Tyler Naken Because of that, the Mets manager had two choices of hard hitters off the bench. was one Marc Vientus, an exciting young rookie called up last weekend in Miami, crushed a left-handed at .330/.408/.732 clips in 68 games for Triple-A Syracuse this year. was the other Darren Rovea veteran steeped in a 0-for-16 slip and hit an athlete in the last 34 on the racket, the Mets traded four players at last month’s deadline.
Showalter chose the latter option, and unfortunately for the Mets, what followed was to be expected.
Ventus stayed on the bench, Rove flew into the right field against Chicago South Bow Brandon Hughes, ending the Mets’ best chance to beat the Cubs 59-82. Mets fans stuck in the rain at Citi Field were suspicious, some froze with their hands on their heads and others booed the result.
Then, Rove was cautious, defiant, and brief when explaining what went wrong on that eighth turn. Who wouldn’t be touched – during a bunting, no less – after the stretch he went through?
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “I just try to have good rackets, and sometimes you need a little luck.”
However, it’s not fair to pin Monday’s loss entirely on Rove. The two hitters in front of him also turned into unproductive bats. Vientos went unused leaving everyone wondering what it could have been. Bassett struggled into the night’s slumber.
Next, Showalter defended his decision to pinch Ruf on Ventus by citing the veteran hitter’s record. In his 10-year career in the Big League, Ruf has 39 home runs and 897 OPS against lefties. But, using Ruf, Showalter has overlooked his recent history, which, since joining the Mets on the trade deadline, has featured an average hitting 137 (7 for 51) and 15 hitting in 22 games.
“We keep waiting,” Showalter said. “We think Darren has been really good at this place during his career. He hasn’t been there for him lately.”
The problem is that this Mets offense can use a spark – especially in a particular hitter – after going 5-5 in 10 matches against MarlinsAnd the CitizensAnd the pirates And the Cubs This month. All four of these teams are in the basement of their leagues; None of them are vying for a watershed point. Before the All-Star break, the Mets had the worst OPS (0.614) in the NL in DH, third-worst in the MLB.
Mets GM Billy Eppler acquired Vogelbach, Naquin and Ruf on the trade deadline with the goal of improving the team’s efficiency in DH, but all three were largely disappointing. Since those trades, the designated hitters of the Mets have posted a 0.587 OPS in position, still the worst in the NL.
It’s not like the Mets lack urgency, even with a 100 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to FanGraphs, with 20 games remaining. Just take a look at McNeill’s first look at first base to see how much she wants to win these matches against fewer opponents. But it’s possible that some hitters, Showalter said, are “trying to do too much,” leading to failed hit knocks and disjointed results.
On Monday, it’s all too easy to imagine the same situations unfolding in October. The Mets depend on Jacob Degrom to drive rotation, Max Scherzer to me Heal left side irritation/fatigue Bassett’s performance has been for most of the season. But the hiccups do happen, and when they do, it’s imperative that the Mets hitters pick up their staff.
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The thing is, the scene in October will be tougher — and much more competitive — than it was on Monday. The Mets faced a sub-.500 team that they were more than able to crush on their best day. Being beaten by a lion? try to face brave Max Fried or Spencer StriderThe Dodgers Clayton Kershaw or Tyler Anderson and the Astros Justin Verlander or Framber Valdez.
The Mets (89-53) still have the third-best record in baseball, are still number one in the NL East, and their magic number to reach the playoffs for the first time in six years is eight. But they also still have the Braves (87-54) to fend off the division title, and they still want that week and a direct ticket to the NLDS, instead of playing the Wild-Card series.
Monday showed that the Mets can’t stand the lapses or the interruptions. It will take the best of every player on their post-season roster to go deep.
Disha Thoussar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered for the Mets for the New York Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at @Dishes.
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