The is about as low as the New York Mets have sunk during an overall stellar season.
Two straight losses to a Chicago Cubs team that is 20 games under .500 has seen the Mets’ lead atop the NL East shrink to a half-game over the Atlanta Braves entering Wednesday night’s series finale.
They’re 4-6 in their last 10 games against three of the bottom teams in the National League — the Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, and Cubs — with an offense that has been held to two or fewer runs five times during that span. To the surprise of few, all of those have been losses.
“Finishing off a season can be real challenging because you see the finish line,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said in an attempt to describe what’s plaguing his team. “You’re trying to get there, and sometimes you get away from the things that got you there. And the other team sometimes doesn’t cooperate.”
The sudden and steep drop in production comes after the Mets took an emotional two games out of three from the MLB-best Los Angeles Dodgers, ushering in what on paper was the easiest remaining schedule in the National League.
Instead, New York’s bats have been rife with inconsistencies, including just three runs over their first two games against the Cubs with 16 combined runners left on base.
All this against a team who entered the series with the 22nd-ranked pitching staff in the majors.
With a four-game set against the NL Central’s last-place team in the Pirates following Chicago, slugger Pete Alonso isn’t ready to hit the panic button yet.
“We’re a really good team and I feel like we have all the pieces to overcome this adversity,” he said. “I feel like we’ve earned where we’re at. We’ve earned every single bit of where we’re at. We haven’t been lucky, we’ve been really good all year long.”
There isn’t much time or space to get back on track and find a bit more consistency in their game. With 19 games remaining and a three-game series scheduled later this month in Atlanta against the Braves, every win is precious to keep a cushion intact.
A short memory is needed — especially when it comes to a stretch of play that has been unprecedented for one of the top teams in the National League this season.
“I think we’ll be fine. It’s a few rough games but we’ll be OK,” Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who got the loss on Tuesday, said. “You look at the last series against Pittsburgh we lost the first game and came back and won the other two. So we need to take the game [Wednesday] and then prepare for the next series. These guys do a good job of flushing it and coming back ready to play. I think we’ll be fine.”