After his Mets were swept out of Pittsburgh, manager Terry Collins insisted his team was not at a “critical juncture,’’ in the season – which I said they were several days ago – and wasn’t “dead in the water.’’
It’s still May and they are 2.5 games behind Washington – after being ahead by eight – so dead might be stretching things. However, “critical juncture,’’ still applies after scoring four runs while hitting .211 with 36 strikeouts in the Pirates’ series.
Truth is, the Mets are closer to third place than first. They are also closer to being the team they are now than the one that won 11 straight games. Not too long ago, the Mets’ run-differential was plus-25. Today it is minus-one. Instead of being ten games over .500, they are only three.
Collins can talk all he wants about not panicking, not quitting and, of course, that his team plays hard. “Effort isn’t a problem,’’ Collins said this afternoon.
Talent, however, or lack of it, is the problem.
They were outscored by a composite 21-4 score by the Pirates, with their two best pitchers losing. Matt Harvey had the worst outing of his career Saturday, just a few hours after the team said David Wright would remain on the disabled list.
This team isn’t hitting; the pitching has struggled; the defense has been poor; and there’s no consistency in the batting order. Compounding matters, they don’t have imminent help coming from the minor leagues and aren’t close to making a trade.
Collins has been in this business for a long time. He knows when a team is playing well and when it isn’t. He’s not about to admit it publicly this is a critical time for the Mets.
But, he’s a smart guy. He knows it is.
He also knows the team the Mets have now is the one that will have to turn things around.