Amidst three-game losing streak, Carlos Mendoza says Mets are 'just not clicking'

It wasn’t a good night at the ballpark for the Mets on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

On a gray and foggy day that turned into a wet and soggy night, the weather was the least of New York’s concerns after the Mets dropped their third straight to the NL East-leading Phillies, looking as sloppy as the field in the process and falling to four games below .500 a little over a quarter of the way through the season.

“We got work to do and that’s the message to the players,” said manager Carlos Mendoza after the game. “We’re going through a rough stretch right now, we didn’t play a good game today or a clean game and it’s gonna happen at times, but understanding, as a coaching staff, our job is to continue to work with these guys and help them get through it and we will.”

On Wednesday, it was the defense and pitching that came up short. Joey Lucchesi, called up from Triple-A earlier in the day to make a spot start, looked good in the beginning, limiting Philadelphia to one run through four innings and outpitching Ranger Suarez as the Mets were up 2-1 headed to the bottom of the fifth inning.

However, that’s when things started to fall apart for the left-hander. Like the flip of a switch, Lucchesi walked three in the inning, including a four-pitch walk to force in the tying run, and gave up run-scoring hits to JT Realmuto and Bryce Harper that gave the Phillies their first lead of the night – a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.

“He lost it that inning,” Mendoza said about his starter. “I think they made some adjustments because earlier in the game I feel like they were swinging at balls just outside of the strike zone and in that inning, they came in with a plan and they just forced him in the zone and he lost it there.”

After the game, Lucchesi seemed dumbfounded as to what went wrong in the inning, saying he felt calm and the same as he did earlier in the game when he was pitching well. Nevertheless, he took full ownership of the disastrous inning and said it was his fault.

Lucchesi’s start, though, was just the latest example of poor pitching by New York. In their last 22 games, Mets starters are now 2-11 with an ERA over 5.00. What started out as a strength for the team, at least in terms of staff ERA, has quickly become a weakness.

With an offense that hasn’t been able to shake a miserable start, that doesn’t bode well.

“We’re playing good teams, but it’s one of those where… we’re just not clicking right now,” Mendoza said. “And the free bases or extra bases, when you’re playing good teams they’re gonna make you pay for it and this is something that we’re gonna continue to address and we got to get better.”

Sure, the Mets banged out nine hits and scored five runs on the night, but three of those runs came in the eighth inning with the game already well out of reach. In fact, the offense had multiple chances to push runs across the board earlier in the game after the Phillies displayed their own shoddy defense and Suarez looked perturbed on the mound, but they were unable to cash in.

New York will have one more chance to get a win against its division rival on Thursday night when former Met Taijuan Walker takes the hill. For that to happen, though, the manager is right: They’ve got work to do.