Mets find brutal new way to lose as streak hits seven
The Marlins are trying to lose and the Mets now have fewer wins than Derek Jeter’s barren team.
Maybe Mickey Callaway was right: The Mets are learning a lot these days — like finding a new rock bottom seemingly every game.
They are coming up with new and inventive ways to lose each night. After getting the whole “not being able to score” thing down and wasting strong starting pitching, they’ve moved on to teasing their tortured fan base. Before Sunday, the Mets had failed to score more than four runs at Citi Field in 15 consecutive games. They pushed across 11 runs over the past two days, and somehow managed to lose both times.
A day after the five relievers allowed seven home runs to the Dodgers in a bullpen game, equaling a franchise record, the defense was their undoing Monday, as three errors led to two unearned runs in a 6-4 loss to the struggling Pirates in front of 22,135. The Mets rallied from five runs down and twice had the tying run at second base, but couldn’t muster the big hit. They’ve mastered the art of stranding runners in scoring position, too.
“This has been probably the best learning experience for our team than any other stretch we’re probably going to have,” Callaway said before this season hit a new nadir, with the Mets now owners of the fewest wins in the National League. “We’re going to learn about each other and be a better team because we went through this stretch. We’ve definitely learned a ton.”
It remains unclear when all that learning will translate into something of significance. With the latest defeat, the Mets fell to 14 games under .500, lost their seventh straight game for the second time this season and have dropped 14-of-15 at Citi Field. Before the game, when asked how he was handling this disastrous stretch in which his team has lost 44-of-64 games after an 11-1 start, Callaway joked: “I was a really terrible player, so I’ve been through this before.”
The quip didn’t galvanize his players. The Mets (31-45) committed those three errors, two by Luis Guillorme, who is supposed to be a major leaguer because of his defense. It forced starter Seth Lugo to throw extra pitches and limited him to just five innings. They managed two hits over the first six innings against Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon before a four-run seventh inning made the game interesting.
The third pitch of the game resulted in Guillorme’s first error. A stolen base followed on the next pitch. By the third hitter, the Pirates had a run. Gregory Polanco pushed the lead to 2-0 with a solo shot in the second, turning around a poorly located 93 mph fastball and another Guillorme error in the third led to Pittsburgh’s third run. When Josh Bell ruined Tyler Bashlor’s major league debut with a two-run, opposite-field homer, there were no boos. Just faint cheers from a few Pirates fans in attendance.
Out of nowhere, the Mets came alive in the seventh, finally getting to Taillon. It began innocently enough, with a Jose Reyes double down the left-field line. Kevin Plawecki followed with his third extra-base hit in two games, a double that got by third baseman Colin Moran. That was it for Taillon and only the start of more trouble for the Pirates. Reliever Tyler Glasnow walked Guillorme and served up a three-run bomb to pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores.
“We’re fighting until the end and that’s all we can do,” Lugo said.
The Mets seemed poised to pull even when Michael Conforto walked and Jose Bautista got ahead 3-0. But reliever Steven Brault battled back to strike out Bautista and induce Asdrubal Cabrera into a 5-4-3 double play to end the rally. They put two on with one out in the eighth, but Plawecki struck out and Guillorme grounded out.
That failure in the clutch virtually sealed another loss. The Mets sure have learned how to do that pretty well over the past two months.
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