The Marlins swept the Mets the past two weekends, and of their 18 wins this year, eight have come against New York.
For the Mets (23-35), you might think things can't possibly get any worse. But guess what? There's a good chance they will.
Since sweeping the Yankees in a four-game series, the Mets are 1-6. Tonight, they start a three-game series against the first-place St. Louis Cardinals. Next week, they'll play five against the first-place Atlanta Braves. They'll play three against the second-place Washington Nationals at the end of the month before a four-game series against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks and a three-game series against the second-place San Francisco Giants.
Throw in a game against the Colorado Rockies and three against the Pittsburgh Pirates and that's 22 games against seven teams with a .500 or better record. Meanwhile, the Mets are 3-8 against the Marlins, who have the worst record (18-45) in baseball. It won't be easy. In fact, it could get real ugly before the All-Star Game comes to Citi Field on July 16.
Nowhere are the Mets struggles more evident than on offense. In Saturday's 20-inning loss to the Marlins, the Mets were 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position. The Mets have the worst batting average (.226) in the National League and they're at the bottom of the league in runs scored (231), on-base percentage (.294), and slugging percentage (.369).
One at-bat on Sunday said it all. With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mike Baxter came to bat with no outs and a runner on first base. Up there to bunt, Baxter failed. Ahead in the count 1-0, he took a strike, missed the ball on a bunt attempt, then bunted the ball foul for strike three. The Mets lost 8-4 in 10 innings. Baxter was sent down after the game, along with Ike Davis, who was hitting .161, and reliever Robert Carson. The rest of the team remains.
To whatever extent they can, the Mets have to shake things up. But this is also an organization that doesn't have many options. So for now we'll get to see if Kirk Nieuwenhuis can cut down on the strikeouts and if Jordany Valdespin can take advantage of some more playing time. And, of course, Zack Wheeler will be up next week to make his first start in Atlanta.
The Mets did the right thing by sending Davis down, but he's not the only problem. Right now, the Mets are one of the worst teams in baseball. Their slide continues.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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