Mets suffer embarrassing sweep by the Cubs as they've lost their North Star...
The Mets scored just six runs in the three games against the Cubs this week
What’s Up with the Mets? 👎🏼
The Cubs completed their sweep of the reeling Mets, this time by a score of 6-3 (box)
For the first time this season, the Mets were swept in a series of three games or more and it’s the fourth time this season they’ve lost three straight
David Peterson started for the Mets and was walloped for five runs in the first inning - he only recorded one out before being removed
The Mets bullpen fared well on a long night - Trevor Williams allowed only a run over 4.1 IP and Tommy Hunter, Trevor May, Alex Claudio and Mychal Givens all gave the Mets scoreless relief efforts
The Mets mustered only eight hits, six of which were singles although Tomás Nido hit his second home run of the year and Pete Alonso hit his 35th home run when the game was out of reach. Alonso joined Mike Piazza, Howard Johnson, Darryl Strawberry and Dave Kingman as the only Mets in franchise history to have three seasons of 35+ home runs
Darin Ruf snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a fifth inning single - he is just 8-for-53 over 23 games since joining the Mets
The Mets scored just six runs in the three games against the Cubs, who entered the game with the 19th best pitching staff in baseball. They have lost five straight home games and have not led in any of them
Injury Updates 🏥
Max Scherzer (strained oblique) pitched four innings for Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday - he allowed a run on three hits with seven strikeouts over 3.2 IP
Drew Smith (strained lat) will make back-to-back relief appearances in the next phase of his rehab assignment tomorrow and Saturday, at which point the Mets will determine when he can be activated from the IL
Starling Marte (fractured finger) could return when eligible from the injured list, although that will depend on how much the inflammation improves
Who’s Hot 🔥
Tomás Nido is hitting .321/.339/.554 with seven doubles, two home runs and eight RBI over his last 20 games
Trevor Williams now has a 1.77 ERA in 17 relief appearances this season
The Pennant Race 🏁
NL East lead: 0️⃣.5️⃣ games
Magic Number to win NL East: 1️⃣9️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 63.7 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 63.4 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 15.6 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (89-55) vs Pirates (55-88)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Carlos Carrasco (14-6, 3.80 ERA) vs. RHP JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.36 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
The Mets have lost their North Star… 📝
It’s really hard to wrap my head around what has happened to the Mets since the Dodgers left town.
It’s like night and day with this club, and that spans beyond the quality of play on the field.
The latest on-field embarrassment came on Wednesday and almost instantly out of the gate when David Peterson took the mound and walked the first three batters he faced. Fast forward to what seemed like the next second on the life clock and 5-0 after Peterson allowed two straight one out doubles which ended his night and that for the Mets as well.
The Mets did quality bullpen work following Peterson’s departure but the 6-0 deficit which was ultimately left behind was too much for a Mets offense mired in a malaise which seemed impossible to fathom just two weeks ago.
Look, I can sit here and beat the same old drum about who isn’t hitting, Starling Marte’s absence dragging them down, Pete Alonso trying too hard up there and the Mets getting absolutely nothing out of their designated hitters (I think they’re actually getting less than what they were getting before the trade, by the way), and from a game play perspective, that’s obviously a big part of the problem.
But that’s a waste of your time and mine for that matter. We all know the offense is slumping, there are ebbs and flows and ups and downs.
But the Mets offense isn’t really going in an ebb, and it doesn’t even seem like it’s going down. It seems like it’s gone completely sideways as they’ve escaped the approach that made them the force that helped lead them to the top of the division for 130 games.
It’s as if they left it all out there against the Dodgers on September 1.
The point is, it’s not about the offense, or the lackluster defense at times or the pitching which has become so bipolar over the last couple of weeks. It’s also not as generic as the Mets missing opportunities to expand their lead. Yes, all of that is true but none of this is going well for one specific reason.
And that is the Mets have lost their North Star.
As constructed, the Mets have a championship-caliber roster. They’ve proven time and time again in 2022 they are not only a playoff contender, but they’re an elite force capable of winning the World Series. They proved that against the Dodgers, the Braves, the Phillies, the Yankees and countless other teams in countless other games this season. They did that thanks in part to their manager out-managing the other team at times, playing smart, staying within the moment and sticking to a contact-first philosophy at the plate which had the knack of grinding out at-bats and wearing down starting pitchers like any other championship-grade team can and should do.
But this September version of the Mets has gotten away from all of that, between the quality of their play and the management of the roster (I’m still trying to figure out why Max Scherzer needed to pitch in Syracuse yesterday instead of New York, by the way. Even if it was for only 4-5 innings).
I’ve said this before - it almost seems like the organization is happy to get to the playoffs, and are confident the light will go back on when the bell rings in October whether they win the division or not.
The thing is, yeah the Mets are going to be in the playoffs. Get your credit cards ready for tickets and swag. But the teams that are successful in the playoffs are those which finish hot and those well positioned to be successful against the game’s other elite teams.
Right now, this simply isn’t happening for the Mets and again, I feel like a lot of it is by choice. Sure, they’re not hitting, Marte isn’t around, Scherzer is hurt, and the team is struggling overall. But let’s be honest - they didn’t even really compete in these last three games against the Cubs and that’s a bigger problem than any other one thing the Mets haven’t done well over the last two weeks.
Find that North Star again. Find that intangible that made this team a force for the first 130 games of the year.
It’s that simple.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Jake Mangum (OF, Triple-A): 2-for-4, BB, RBI
Zach Ashford (OF, Double-A): 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Hayden Senger (C, Double-A): 2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI
Box Scores: Triple-A | Double-A G1 G2
Around the League 🚩
The Giants silenced the Braves and took their series against Atlanta with a 4-1 win at Oracle Park - Carlos Rodon struck out eight over five innings to shutdown Atlanta’s offense
The Yankees completed a sweep of the Red Sox with a 5-3 win at Fenway Park thanks in part to three errors by the Boston defense
The Phillies kept their slim hopes for a division title alive with a 6-1 win over the Marlins for their fifth win in a row - Philadelphia is now eight games behind the Mets with 20 games left to play
The Rays fell to third in the AL Wild Card race with a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays in Toronto on Wednesday
The Twins kept pace with the Guardians with a 4-0 shutout over the Royals - Minnesota is five games behind Cleveland with 21 games remaining
The Cardinals have created considerable distance from the Brewers int he National League Central thanks to their 4-1 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday - they are now eight games ahead in the NL Central with 19 games left to play
"the teams that are successful in the playoffs are those which finish hot." You'd think that was true, but it really isn't. In 2000 and 2006, for example, Yanks and Cardinals respectively were awful in September and yet won the WS. Lots of other examples too of teams that just caught fire when the October bell sounded.