It has hit the fan early for the Mets early. Long stretches of dismal hitting coupled with a myriad of injuries took the starch out of the Mets’ pitching and nearly derailed their season in each of the last two years.
This time, it’s happening in April. It’s too soon to panic, but not too early to notice things aren’t right for the Mets.
After losing 4-3 in 11 innings Friday and 3-1 today, manager Terry Collins said the Mets are faced with a must-win game Sunday night with Max Scherzer going against Zack Wheeler – he of an innings limit – at Citi Field.
“It’s huge,” Collins said of the magnitude of the game. “We haven’t played well. We have pitched well, but we haven’t hit.”
The Mets are hitting .178 and averaging less than three runs a game over their last eight games. Overall, they have scored three or fewer runs in eight of their 18 games, and for those counting, the trade deadline is three months away.
Then, Collins said something I never thought I’d ever hear him say.
“We have to get away from the home runs,” said Collins. “We have to put some hits together.”
They only had two singles today, both coming in the sixth.
Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores are on the disabled list and Yoenis Cespedes might soon join them; Travis d’Arnaud also didn’t play today; eight Mets are hitting .200 or less; one of them is Jose Reyes, who didn’t start, and not coincidentally, top infield prospect Amed Rosario was moved to third base at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Collins said Michael Conforto will hit leadoff and hinted at another change for Sunday.
“We’re not hitting,” Collins said. “Our pitching has kept us in games, but we’re not giving them any help.”
Today’s non-beneficiary was deGrom, who registered double-digit strikeouts for his second straight start and walked six. DeGrom was scheduled to start Friday but was pushed back because of a stiff neck. He said his neck was all right, but his velocity dropped four mph., after the first inning.
“I just don’t walk six guys,” deGrom said. “I had command early, but I didn’t have it late. I don’t know what happened.”
And, he didn’t have Cespedes or Duda or Flores or d’Arnaud to pick him up.
“Anytime you don’t have those guys in the lineup it’s going to be tough, but we can’t use that as an excuse,” said Jay Bruce. “There’s no panic with us. It hasn’t been a lot of fun lately. We’re not winning, but there will be winning for us.”