After last nights loss to the Washington Nationals, the nail in a three game sweep, Terry Collins addressed the team. The Nationals increased their lead in the East to 10.5 over the Mets and have now taken their last 11 games played at Citi Field. “They just outplay us. The whole difference is we can’t keep the ball in the park and we can’t hit them out. That was the story of this series, for sure” (Adam Rubin, ESPN). Collins said about the Nationals after the game.
What was interesting is that his comments weren’t just about their play in the Nationals series. He is still trying to get the clubhouse to buy into their playoff run. He told the team “Let’s go win seven of the next eight. We’ll be back in the hunt.” It’s hard to even imagine the Mets becoming playoff contenders given their record. They are only six teams with more losses than the Mets and with just over a month to play, the odds seem to have faded into the distance.
“It’s a big blow to us, because we fought hard to get back in this thing” Collins said after the game. “We played very well the last couple of weeks to get back in kind of the mix. So this is a big dent.”
A big dent indeed. The Mets are not in the same class as the Natonals, or the Braves for that matter, and seem to be missing that spark, that igniter. Last nights loss was a key example of this. They scattered just 3 hits against Stephen Strasburg and the bullpen and once again, left men on base inning after inning. Daniel Murphy grounding into a double play with two on and nobody out in the sixth was the dagger. When you’re a team that can’t score runs, you can’t waste opportunities like that. Murphy has to try harder to at the very least get the runners over in that spot.
Another obvious weakness right now is David Wright. Wright continues to be a singles hitter in the three hole and hasn’t hit a home run in over a month. “We just got outplayed, outpitched, outhit. They played much better baseball than we did these last three days. That’s what happens. You get swept when every facet of the game is played [better] by the other team.” Wright did go 5 for 12 in the series but every one of those hits was a single. His last extra base hit came last week in Washington. It was a double.
The eyeball test tells me the Mets have been sunk. There will be no magical playoff run. Right now, the hardest thing about watching this team is the lack of fight. You could see it from the very beginning last night. The batters, from Murphy to Wilmer Flores, none of them were there to battle Strasburg. They went up there, took their hacks, and went back to the dugout. The Mets need an injection of hitters but more importantly, they need an injection of energy. Hopefully that comes in the offseason in the form of a few hitters and of course, the return of the Dark Knight, Matt Harvey.