The Mets are now a sub .500 team for the first time this season with a 7-4 loss to the Cubs on Friday, and manager Mickey Callaway was visibly upset.
Just a couple days ago, he said a team meeting wasn’t necessary, but on Friday he held a closed door discussion with his players.
“We just had something that I said we weren’t going to do,” Callaway said after the meeting. “Just because we’re playing the game the wrong way and it’s starting to affect…we’re starting to see it consistently. We talked about it and we had some things we needed to discuss and we did it.
Zack Wheeler gave the Mets a strong six inning performance, but after Paul Sewald allowed two inherited runs to score and four of his own, cutoff men were missed and errors were made, Callaway felt something needed to be said to his team.
“We have to play the game the right way. We can’t miss cutoff men. We have to take care of the baseball, throw it to the right bag. We have to run the bases the right way, we have to not walk leadoff batters. We’re not snake-bitten. We’re not playing the game the right way and we have to do a better job at it.”
Said Jay Bruce: “So far, as a manager, Mickey hasn’t been a guy to get too riled up. But tonight, he came in and talked to us. He talked with a purpose, for sure. And we definitely understand where he’s coming from.”
Kyle Schwarber hit a shallow fly ball, which Conforto caught but instead fired home, allowing the base runner, Tommy La Stella, to take second. He would subsequently score to tie the game on a Cubs double.
“He addressed it in the meeting and he’s right,” Conforto said. “We can’t be doing stuff like that and expecting to put our best performance out there.
‘It’s something I’ve been working on, we’ve been talking about, and tonight I just didn’t do it. He’s right. I’ve got to keep the ball down and give us a chance at the double-play there…It’s something we’ve been harping on, and it’s on me. So it’s something I have to get better at.”
Conforto believes that the tone was one of concern and constructive criticism to get the team back on track.
“I think everything he says carries weight. Mickey’s someone who we respect and someone who’s our leader,” Conforto said. “The tone of the meeting was different than ones in the past. It was ‘let’s pull this stuff together and play better baseball.’ Because we’re a much better team than what we’ve been showing.
“There are things we can correct and control. I think maybe it’s a bit of a wake-up call for some of us. We have to start playing better. Sometimes it takes the manager to come in here and wake us up a little bit.”
Conforto added that it’s no longer early in the season, and he’s right.
The Mets have to right the ship and fast. As of June 2, they are six games back of first place and are fading fast.
If they continue to play sloppily and blow games left and right, this season is doomed.