The Mets are now at the very bottom of the National League East after losing three straight games to the rival Philadelphia Phillies. The series started out rough with Jacob deGrom being scratched and then Philadelphia winning by mere inches on a very close play at the plate. It was the consecutive 6-2 decisions on Saturday and Sunday that were particularly frustrating.
On Saturday night, Steven Matz appeared to get back on track, allowing one run in his first four innings, but he combusted in the fifth, which allowed the Phillies to take a 6-0 lead while the Mets were shut down by Aaron Nola. New York didn’t score until Dominic Smith homered in the final inning.
On Sunday with the Mets trying to salvage a game, Luis Guillorme came up with a huge two-RBI single to put New York ahead 2-1 in the fourth. Our new ace Rick Porcello had settled down after a rough first inning and appeared to have everything under control. However, in the sixth, J.T. Realmuto and Alec Bohm both doubled to tie the score before Andrew McCutchen delivered the decisive blow with a two-run homer.
That was fun while it lasted. There are now just 37 games left in the Mets’ 60-game slate, and it’s going to be tough to move up in the standings when you can’t squeeze a quality start out of any member of the rotation. deGrom should be back soon enough, but he can only do so much. Porcello needs to keep it rolling in the sixth after dominating for four straight innings. Matz needs to go to the Jamie Moyer school of not getting lit up when you’re a lefty with less-than-elite stuff. Besides deGrom, David Peterson is the only starter performing at or above expectations right now.
The offense slowed down in Philadelphia after scoring 19 runs over the final two games of the Nationals series, but there are still some bright spots. Guillorme won’t ever be a superstar due to his lack of power, but if his ability to control the strike zone and make solid contract is going to play in the big leagues, he needs to be in the lineup. Guillorme is also stronger defensively than Robinson Cano, and that’s going to lead to some tough decisions for Luis Rojas in the next month.
Another “starter” who might need to be benched is Amed Rosario. He hasn’t walked yet this season and is batting .197 with three extra-base hits for the season. Rosario got off to a hot start back in July, and I thought he could build off of his solid 2019 campaign, but it has been painful watching him at the plate lately. Andre Gimenez appears to be the stronger option right now, and it’s going to be tough for Rojas to find time for Rosario if the rookie keeps playing well.
Pete Alonso had a rough weekend after appearing to break out against Washington. This is a guy who is so explosive and who was so important to the team last year that you need to give him every chance to succeed. Thank goodness for the designated hitter because fellow first baseman Dominic Smith has been the most important part of the offense lately. Sunday broke his streak of home runs in four straight games, but he’s still hitting .296/.375/.741 this season. Smith was always a great contact hitter in the minors, and now were are seeing his power develop in a big way. Smith needs to be locked into the middle of the order every day.
The Mets were able to take two of three from the Marlins two weekends ago, and now they get the fish for four straight days in Miami. This is a big opportunity for the team to move up in the standings before taking on the injured Yankees on Friday. Hopefully the Mets don’t mess it up, because if they do, the season could get off the rails.