Just going over the standings, I noticed the Mets are closer to the last place Washington Nationals (six games difference) than they are the first place Atlanta Braves (7 1/2 games). I’m just saying.
Here’s tonight’s lineup vs. Braves
Jose Reyes, SS
Angel Pagan, LF
Carlos Beltran, CF
David Wright, 3B
Ike Davis, 1B
Josh Thole, C
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Luis Castillo, 2B
RA Dickey, RP
It’s a basic question really: Can the Mets turn it around to make the playoffs?
The turning point of last night’s game came in the first inning when the Mets couldn’t capitalize on a scoring opportunity and the Braves parlayed Luis Castillo’s muffed DP chance into a three-run inning.
OK, fine, that was the turning point, but the real indictment of the Mets came in the eight other innings. Johan Santana was professional enough to keep the game close, but the Mets’ offense slumbered through what they called a critical game. It’s not the adversity, but how you respond that is critical, and the Mets responded like a .500 team.
To a man, the Mets said they understood the magnitude of last night and this series. Can you imagine what would have happened had they not?
It arguably the most important game of the season, the Mets mailed it in. Yes, Castillo’s defense was sloppy, but the offense gave away too many at-bats and opportunities. They played with disinterest, without passion, without intensity.
Some might say, without heart.
In a game they had to win, the Mets gave up. This week is about trying to regain control their destiny. Instead, they surrendered meekly.
Technically, the Mets could run the table this week and be back in the race before they return home. There is also enough time left where they could pick up a game a week and be there in the end.
That’s all possible, but the Mets have given us no indication either scenario will happen. They haven’t played well enough on the road to think such a hot streak is in the cards. They also haven’t played consistently enough to give reason to believe the methodical way would work, either.
The Mets, losers of 12 of 17 games since the All-Star break, have shown no inclination of turning things around. They have Johan Santana (8-5, 3.11) hoping to rebound against a seven-run outing in his last start against St. Louis.
That game came on the heels of a stretch in which he went 3-0 with a 0.58 ERA.
Santana has pitched well in eight starts against the Braves since joining the Mets – a sparkling 1.79 ERA – but is a dismal 2-4 because of a lack of run support, getting two or fewer runs in each game.
The Mets’ struggles started prior to the All-Star break as they have lost 15 of 21 games, including two of three to the Braves at Citi Field. They saved the worse for Sunday when they were pummeled, 14-1, by Arizona (they have lost five of six to the Diamondbacks in the last two weeks).
“It definitely hurts your pride a little bit when you perform in that manner,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We didn’t pitch, we didn’t hit, we didn’t play defense.’’