QUEENS — Daniel Vogelbach couldn’t stop thinking about his base-running blunder in the first inning of the Mets’ series finale against the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
“If I don’t make that play, who knows where the game goes?” he wondered aloud at his locker.
The Mets had scratched three runs across Rockies starter Ryan Feltner to take a 3-1 lead in the first inning following a run-scoring single from Jeff McNeil and a two-RBI hit from Brett Baty. With two outs and Vogelbach on first thanks to the third walk issued by Feltner in his first six batters faced, Luis Guillorme smacked a single to right.
Baty, who was on second, rounded home and was going to score easily as Rockies right-fielder Kris Bryant’s throw came into second where Vogelbach was arriving.
The problem was that he took the turn too hard and by the time he looked up, the ball was already at the bag where shortstop Ezequiel Tovar tagged him out before Baty crossed home plate, taking the Mets’ fourth run off the board.
“That’s just a play that I messed up,” Vogelbach said. “We were having good at-bats, we had a guy on the ropes… I regretted it all game. I watch it over and over again. I came off the bag trying to find the ball thinking it was going to go home… I barely came off the bag and by the time I looked up, the ball was on me and I couldn’t get back.”
By the third inning, the Rockies tied things up. By the end of the fifth, it was 10-4 following a seven-run Colorado outburst against Mets relievers Jimmy Yacabonis and Tommy Hunter. The Mets dropped the rubber game of the series 13-6, which was their 11th loss in their last 14 games to drop to 17-18 — just the second time all season they’re under .500.
“When it rains it pours,” Vogelbach said. “Things aren’t going the way we want right now. The game is challenging us right now. We have a lot of baseball to play and I can tell you that from myself and everyone else in this clubhouse that it’s not for a lack of effort or a lack of want.
“It’s just the way the game goes sometimes and we have a choice. Everybody in here will respond the way everybody wants us to.”
The Mets have been unable to find that consistent response over the last three weeks, though. While the offense finally plated more than five runs for the first time in six games — they scored a combined four in their previous four outings — the wheels of the bullpen came hurtling off as Jimmy Yacabonis, Tommy Hunter, and Dominic Leone combined to give up 10 runs across the final five innings of the day.
“When the game challenges you like this, it’s easy to separate and it’s easy to start pointing fingers but this group doesn’t do that,” Vogelbach said. “Some balls don’t bounce our way. Some good at-bats don’t end the way that we want to. That’s the game. It’s probably not the last time something like this goes on this season. I’m not very good at math, but we have a lot of games left this season… We have to stick together and that’s something this group does very well.”
The Mets get a day off Monday as they head to Cincinnati for the start of a six-game road trip against the Reds and Nationals down in D.C.