It was too early for people to be drinking, but the way the New York Mets’ season has started and fans with such high expectations, who knows?
Those expectations, by the way, are warranted. It just doesn’t appear that way right now.
As a result of getting swept by the Washington Nationals, the New York Mets are now 8-11 on the season, but there are 143 games left.
The Mets loss on Sunday night occurred in large part at the hands of former Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy belting a grand slam in the first inning off Zach Wheeler, who rebounded with six scoreless innings after the poisonous first.
Ironically, it was two days after Met manager Terry Collins promised “we’re not going to let Daniel Murphy beat us,” following an extra-inning game against the Nats to open the series where the Mets lost 4-3, but it was not Murphy’s doing.
The Mets have lost 8-of-9 heading into a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves, before they visit the Nats in Washington D.C. between next weekend.
“Every team goes through a bad streak,” said Collins. “What we’ve got to do is say ‘hey, this is ours, and when it’s done, we’re going to get back in this hunt.’”
After back-to-back playoff berths, a 2015 World Series trip being one of them, the Mets entered this season with sky-high expectations. They even started 7-3, far better than last season, and matched their ’15 record through the first 10 games in the process.
But in less than two weeks that has since grown into an abstract thought.
Other than Major League Baseball being the ultimate marathon, the Queens-based club still has all the more reason for optimism because the main source of this unfavorable output is a multitude of injuries.
The injury list has already included Yoenis Cespedes, who nearly played against the Nationals on Sunday, Brandon Nimmo, Wilmer Flores, Seth Lugo, Lucas Duda and, of course, David Wright, who is on the 60-day disabled list.
Many of these key players will return sooner as opposed to later, but the Mets need to tread water until then, and as of late it’s been easier said than done.
“I think getting Cespedes back will make all the difference,” Collins said. “We’ve been unable to get the one big hit when we’ve needed it.”
The Nationals, on the other hand, lead the National League East with a 13-5 record, and could expand their lead tremendously if the Mets continue to falter.
While the Mets (and Nationals) have the World Series in mind, October is still ages away, and the Mets are primarily focused coming out of April on the positive note.
“You try not to freak out,” said Mets’ second baseman Neil Walker. “That’s the absolute worst thing you can do 19 games into a season. We know we’re not playing great, it wasn’t a good series any way you put it. There is not going to be any finger pointing in here, we know we need to be better.”As Collins said, maybe this is just their downswing, and it’s arrived incredibly early.
Or maybe it’s not that simple and the Mets aren’t as good as they’ve been over the last two years.
We don’t know, and we won’t know in April.
Time will tell; 143 games over the next five-plus months kind of time.