Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he didn’t believe in team meetings, but called one after Friday’s sloppy 7-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs to fall under .500 for the first time this season.
The headline was the bullpen that gave up five runs and allowed two inherited runners to score, but Callaway said the Mets haven’t been giving themselves a chance to win.
“We’re not snake bitten,’’ an excited Callaway said. “We’re not playing the game the right way. It’s a big snowball effect when you’re not playing the game the right way.’’
It was long overdue. Callaway has been even-keel, and his message was short and sweet.
“He said, `Keep your head up and come in here and do the right thing,’’ said Jay Bruce. “No one cares if you have injuries, you have to play the game the right way, do the little things and expect to come in here and win.’’
Callaway mentioned outfielders Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo overthrowing the cut-off man; failure to taking the extra base and advance runners, and pitchers issuing leadoff walks.
“He’s right,” Conforto said. “It’s something I’ve been working on. I just didn’t do it. This is something I can control. … This is a wake-up call that we needed. … It’s not about bad luck. It’s about playing better baseball.”
After starting the season at 11-1, the Mets are now 27-28, and losers of seven of their last ten games. They are 12-15 at Citi Field, and lucky to be one game under .500 considering they have a minus-23 run differential overall.
BRUCE HURTING:: Another day, another Met is hurting. Bruce left tonight’s game with tightness in his lower back. Bruce is also slowed with plantar fasciitis, and you have to wonder whether that brought on the sore back.
Bruce said he felt something prior to the game, but was unable to play through it.
The Mets already have outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Juan Lagares on the disabled list, so it would hurt to lose Bruce, but if he’s hurting he’s not doing them any good and should go on the DL. Bruce is hitting .228 with three homers and 15 RBI.
Callaway said Bruce should be available for Saturday.
The Mets added Jose Bautista, who has played well, and Nimmo is making the most of his opportunity. His OPS is over 1.000, and he hit a two-run homer in tonight’s 7-4 loss.
ROTATION WOES: Noah Syndergaard remains on the DL with a strained ligament in his right index finger and his not expected to be activated prior to next weekend’s series against the Yankees.
Zack Wheeler started tonight and pitched well, giving up just two runs [inherited runners that the bullpen allowed to score].
Jacob deGrom will start Saturday and Steven Matz Sunday.
Either Seth Lugo or Jason Vargas will start Tuesday against Baltimore. Whoever doesn’t start Tuesday – or Wheeler – could start Wednesday.
GSELLMAN SITS: Once again the Mets bullpen imploded, and surprisingly Robert Gsellman wasn’t used considering he didn’t pitch Thursday. Callaway said Gsellman, who had been pitching a lot lately, was scheduled to be off.
EXTRA INNINGS: Kevin Plawecki will start at first base Saturday. … Callaway is hoping for Todd Frazier and/or Cespedes to come off the disabled list for the Yankees series. … Jose Lobaton was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas, giving the Mets three catchers. That’s not a lot of flexibility for an already weak and thin bench. … Reliever Anthony Swarzak is expected to be recalled Tuesday.