For all the good that came out of the Mets staying afloat and at the top of the National League East despite an onslaught of injuries, those feelings are slowly evaporating in the August haze.
With the toughest stretch of their schedule looming later this month, featuring matchups against the Phillies, Dodgers, and Giants, the Mets have lost each of their lost two series before dropping the opener of a three-game set against the last-place Marlins in Miami on Monday night.
The offense continues to misfire now having been held to three runs or fewer 10 times over their last 14 games. It’s no surprise that New York hasn’t won consecutive games since July 21-23 because of that and hasn’t scored more than three runs in consecutive games since July 17-19.
“I think we’ve gotten away from our team and our organizational approach,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We haven’t been aggressive consistently. When I say aggressively, it’s just taking A-swings. I think we’ve been in-between a lot. Chasing is going to happen, we are going to chase. I know we’ve talked about that, about our chase percentage at one point because it was pretty high.”
According to Baseball Savant, the Mets have the 11th-highest chase rate in Major League Baseball this season with batters looking lost at the plate more often than not.
“That’s going to happen, and we have to stay aggressive,” Rojas implored. “Hitting is an aggressive approach, all the time it is. We’re going to get better just by being aggressive because we are going to lay off pitches that we know we won’t be able to do damage. The guys are going to feel it with their bodies, with their eyes.
“They’re just going to have a feel and they’re just going to stop and not swing. I think we’ve been in-between, personally. That’s why the power numbers haven’t jumped, and the power numbers are going to get us to score runs.”
That wait-and-see attitude hasn’t done much good for the Mets, who would be looking up at the field of the postseason standings if they were in any other division in the league. Excellent pitching helped mask their offensive issues, but an already-thin rotation has run into more trouble with the absence of Jacob deGrom paired with the slumping of Taijuan Walker; all while the bullpen depth has been exposed in recent days.
Yet the Mets still remain confident that they’ll get out of this funk, though the spokesman of late has been the red-hot Pete Alonso, who has 11 home runs over his previous 27 games ahead of Tuesday night’s action.
“It’s baseball,” Alonso said. “I think right now — yes we’re in first place — but every team goes through their ups and downs during the year. For us right now, this is just a little rut. This isn’t any long-term concern.
“Right now, it’s just a tough go. We’ve faced a lot of quality opponents. We haven’t necessarily come out on top as much as we’d like to. But again, that’s baseball. It’s been a hard-fought season. It’s not for a lack of effort or a lack of compassion or professionalism. It’s just baseball.”
“Yeah, the last seven days or so have been unfortunate, but again, we have 60 more games to go,” he continued. “We have a ton of baseball left and a lot of exciting, if not the most exciting part of it, ahead of us. It’s going to be fun coming down the stretch.”