With last night’s loss to the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets fall to 10.5 games out of first place in the National League East division. If they had swept the Nationals, they would have been only 4.5 games out of first but, alas, that is not a possibility this time around.
Obviously, defeating Gio Gonzalez and reigning NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is no easy task, but the challenges don’t ease up any time soon. Some upcoming starters the Mets will have to face include Stephen Strasburg and Clayton Kershaw and the Mets don’t show any signs of life. After mustering only three runs on Thursday, they only could plate two runs in last night’s game which came on two swings by Jose Reyes and Jay Bruce.
The Mets are now 0-5 against Washington at Citi Field in 2017 and are 4-11 against them in New York since the start of last season. The five-game home losing streak to the Nats is their longest since they lost 12 consecutive home games to Washington from June 30, 2013 to September 11, 2014.
It says a lot that after a Mets loss to Scherzer and the Nationals, many would say, “Well, at least nobody got hurt.” It is true that a majority of the team’s best players are on the shelf, but the team as currently constructed should still be able to win ballgames. As a lifelong baseball player, I can speak from experience when I say the last thing you want to do at this point is hang your head and dwell on the negatives.
“We have a good clubhouse,” Terry Collins said Friday afternoon. “They don’t get down. I was just in the kitchen a little bit ago, and David [Wright] is in there, and he’s joking with guys. The spirit is still good. Certainly it’s a punch in the gut any time you look up and you lose good players. But the one thing, if you’ve been on this team for the last couple of years, or three years, you’re pretty used to key guys going down.”
The Mets need to stay afloat until their key guys get back. Neil Walker, Noah Syndergaard, Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares and Asdrubal Cabrera are all on the shelf. They will start returning one-by-one as the season progresses, each making the team better upon their returns. The Mets were able to gain four games on the Nationals in the span of one week, however now they’ve dropped two straight games to their division rivals.
This season is not lost. The Mets have only played 66 games, that’s 40.7% of the 162 games they will need to play. The season will be lost, however, if they continue to squander opportunities and continue to let the Nationals walk all over them.