On April 23, after the Mets wrapped up their 11th straight victory to move ten games over .500 and build a comfortable eight-game lead over the Washington Nationals, all seemed right in their world.
They won because their starting pitching overcame injuries to David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud; a lack of consistent power from Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer; a slumping Daniel Murphy; and defensive flaws up the middle, in particular with shortstop Wilmer Flores.
At the time of their 11-game winning streak, the Mets were playing at a pace that would have resulted in 132 victories. None of us expected them to continue at that rate. Realistically, after six straight losing seasons most of us would take .500, although the buzz number was 90 victories. Today, after losing four straight to the Cubs, they are on pace to win 93 games.
The Mets weren’t as good as they appeared when they won 13 of 16 games, and likely not as bad as they are in going 7-12 since.
Quite simply, the flaws in their game at the start of the season caught up with them, in addition with a poor stretch from Jacob deGrom; a continued lack of power; Juan Lagares’ injury; and cracks in the bullpen bridge to Jeurys Familia.
Collectively, the Mets aren’t hitting, and their pitching was off during the Cubs’ series. Fundamentally, they had four miserable days in a great city.
Overall, their hitters were 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position; stranded 21 runners; grounded into five double plays and struck out 40 times. Only one hitter in today’s game, Duda at .296 is batting over .250.
Their pitchers walked 19 batters and hit four batters during the four games.
The statistics in this series were so glaringly bad to as to poorly the Mets performed. Overall, here are two more: 1) they scored three or fewer runs in 18 of their 35 games, and 2) 11 of their 15 losses were by one or two runs.
In the big picture, the Mets might be considered to be lucky to be where they are, which is 20-15 with a slim one-game lead over Washington.