It was the same old story for the Mets Saturday night in Philadelphia: No Fundies, no fun.
Although the Mets hit two sacrifice flies, their continued inability to hit with runners in scoring position – their primary first-half flaw – re-surfaced again in a 4-2 loss to the Phillies that dropped them seven games behind Washington.
After Juan Lagares’ sacrifice put runners on second and third with one out in the seventh, they came up empty. Then in the bottom of the inning, Asdrubal Cabrera’s throwing error on seemingly a routine play put on what turned out to be the winning run on base.
The seventh-inning breakdowns continued to underscore what has been a theme this season in that when the Mets don’t hit a homer then won’t win.
“We’re not driving in runs when we need to,” manager Terry Collins told reporters. “We’re not taking care of those opportunities when we get them.”
We can debate from now until the trade deadline what the Mets need more: another bat; a starter; or a reliever. But none of that matters if they don’t execute the fundamentals, and tonight that was the key storyline.
Verrett gave up a homer to Ryan Howard, but few Mets’ pitchers haven’t. Verrett gave up two runs in six innings, which is the definition of a quality start.
Verrett walked only one and struck out four and for the second straight start threw over 100 pitches. If there was a negative, it was getting ahead of hitters but not putting them away.
Even so, he should stay in the rotation.
“At this moment we don’t have a lot of options,” Collins said. “But he’s got to give us good innings. That’s the job of any pitcher. … We’re just hoping that now, with it being a little bit more of a consistent role, he starts to find that command that makes him so effective.’’
CESPEDES STATUS UNCERTAIN: Collins said Yoenis Cespedes could have pinch-hit in the ninth if the Mets put a tying run on base.
However, Collins also said he doesn’t know what would have happened had Cespedes got on base or his availability Sunday. As of now, Cespedes hasn’t played since July 8. The Mets gambled he would heal during the All-Star break, but that hasn’t happened.
It might be time to DL him and bring up Michael Conforto.