These days, the New York Mets are not having any trouble finding new and creative ways to lose. Even by their impressive standards, this past weekend’s series against the Miami Marlins was unprecedented.
In 30 innings over two days, the Marlins swept a two-game series from the Mets at Citi Field. To put into perspective just how bad things have gotten for the Mets, the Marlins are 8-3 against them and 10-41 against the rest of baseball this season. That’s telling.
While they’re still 6.5 games ahead of the Miami Marlins (19-45) for fourth place in the National League East, this is as close to rock bottom as the Mets (23-36) have been in Terry Collins’ two-plus seasons as manager.
Throughout the series, the Mets failed to do the little things, including executing in key situations and failing to comprehend basic game strategy.
For example, during Saturday’s 20-inning, six-hour, 25-minute marathon that ended in a frustrating 2-1 defeat before a crowd of 20,338, the Mets were 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position, with Rick Ankiel and Omar Quintanilla each going 0-for-3, and Marlon Byrd, Justin Turner, John Buck and Lucas Duda failing to come through twice apiece. They put on a clinic on how not to hit in the clutch by consistently falling behind in the count, striking out and failing to bring in runners from third base with less than two outs.
In the Mets’ defense, Collins’ decision-making, at times, was questionable, like his puzzling decision to have Buck, who has a team-high 11 home runs, bunt in the 13th inning with Turner on first base.
Still, this has been a recurring theme all season long. In an effort to shake things up, the Mets demoted first baseman Ike Davis, outfielder Mike Baxter and relief pitcher Robert Carson to Triple-A Las Vegas, following Sunday’s 8-4 loss to the Marlins. Though their replacements – first baseman Josh Satin, reliever Josh Edgin and outfielder Collin Cogwill – aren’t household prospects, the changes were necessary.
"I do believe there is an honor to play here," Collins told reporters, as reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. "There is a privilege to play here. It's not just put the uniform on and be here. You've earned the right to be here, but you have to earn the right to stay here."
No one has struggled more than Davis, who is earning more than $3 million and considered one of the blue-chip pieces of the franchise. Given that Davis, who is batting .161 with just five home runs and 16 RBI, was on the verge of being sent down in late May before a hot stretch against the Atlanta Braves and Yankees, his demotion was inevitable.
"I think with something like this you just have to say to yourself, this is not in his best interest," Alderson said of Davis, as reported by Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star-Ledger. "And I’ve been one of his biggest supporters. I just felt that at some point we’ve got to get him out of here.
"Hopefully he’ll be back in a short period of time. But he needs to go there. He needs to be able to play every day. He needs to be able to work on his swing without worrying, necessarily, about the outcome. We felt this is in his best interests."
Appearing exhausted after their epic 20-inning showdown Saturday, the Mets and Marlins seemed to be fed up with each other. Plus, when you consider the fact that Sunday was getaway day for the Marlins, both team’s hitters soared through at-bats and base runners made boneheaded mistakes on the basepaths.
Despite that, after the ninth inning, when scoring chances had been wasted, the score was knotted at 4-4 and the teams were heading into extra innings for the second straight day. This time, though, the Marlins dealt the Mets a knockout blow with a four-run 10th inning, three of which came against closer Bobby Parnell.
Alderson and Collins have to understand the fans’ dissatisfaction with how things have panned recently, despite pundits’ low expectations. The Mets are in the midst of their worst stretch of the season. Overall, the team has lost eight of their last nine – and five in a row – against Miami.
Even with the new additions to the roster, don’t expect much to change anytime soon.
Justin Silberman is a journalism and new media major at Towson University, located in Baltimore, and true Mets fan.