Following a fantastic May, this month has been a complete disaster for the New York Mets.
Clinging to first place in the NL East, the Mets try for just their third win of June as they continue their three-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
New York (36-26) cruised through May with the second-best record in the majors (19-9), as its pitchers had baseball’s second-best ERA (3.69) for the month.
The Mets were unable to carry any of that momentum into June, though.
With the majors’ worst record this month (2-8), New York is just one defeat from equaling the number of losses it had all May. The Mets have the majors’ sixth-worst ERA (5.10) and have scored the sixth-fewest runs (36) this month.
They lost Monday’s series opener 5-3, dropping their third straight and seventh in eight games.
“We’re just not getting it done,” said catcher Paul Lo Duca, who is batting .220 (9-for-41) in his last 10 games. “We’re a good team and we know we’re going to get out of this, but we need to play better than we have—pitching, defense, everything.”
Despite the slump, New York still owns a two-game lead in the NL East over second-place Atlanta, which has also been struggling.
Tuesday’s starter John Maine (6-3, 2.78 ERA) has been unbeatable on the road, and he hopes making a start away from Shea Stadium can help him, and the Mets, get their seasons back on track.
Maine opened the year 5-0 with a 1.79 ERA in seven starts as New York won all of those games. In his last five starts, though, he is just 1-3 with a 4.34 ERA, with the Mets winning just once—at Florida.
The right-hander has been outstanding on the road this season, going 5-0 with the majors’ fourth-best road ERA at 1.85. New York has won all six of Maine’s starts away from Shea, and his .164 opponent batting average on the road is the second-best in the majors.
On Thursday, Maine gave up two runs and six hits in seven innings of a 6-3, 10-inning loss to Philadelphia. He has allowed two runs or less in nine of his 12 starts.
In his only career start against the Dodgers, Maine gave up four runs—two earned—and six hits in five innings of a 5-0 loss at home last Sept. 8.
Los Angeles (36-28) has also been sliding. The third-place Dodgers are one game back of first-place San Diego in the NL West, but won for just the second time in seven games on Monday.
Luis Gonzalez doubled twice and scored twice, moving into 19th on baseball’s career list with 561 two-base hits.
“It’s a nice accomplishment to have. (But) I just want to move on,” said Gonzalez, who’s batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs, five doubles and seven RBIs in his last five games. “It’s important to me to win championships.”
Hong-Chih Kuo (0-1, 4.85) tries again for his first win of the season as he makes his third start on Tuesday.
Kuo has pitched well as the replacement for the ineffective Brett Tomko in the rotation, allowing three runs in 10 2-3 innings, and is coming off a solid outing.
The left-hander gave up one run and three hits, and matched a career high with eight strikeouts in six innings on Thursday, but was denied the win as San Diego scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 6-5.
Kuo is 1-2 with a 2.93 ERA in seven career starts, earning the win in his starting debut, which came against Maine and the Mets last Sept. 8. He allowed three hits while striking out seven in six innings of a 5-0 victory.