Despite the sweep, Terry Collins and the Mets have their eyes on the big picture
In what has been a rarity for the Mets this season, they not only lost a series at home, but were swept out of Citi Field by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend.
It is the second time the Mets have endured a three-game losing streak at home this season. The last time was against another National League Central foe, the Chicago Cubs from June 30-July 2.
The Cubs are also the only other team to sweep the Mets at home this season.
The Mets were swept in their season series by the Pirates 0-6, having never held a lead in any of the six games. They were outscored by the Pirates 37-10 in those six games.
The Mets went a combined 0-13 against the Pirates and Cubs in 2015, having been outscored 64-21 in those 13 games.
That could prove to be a major problem for them down the road in 2015. But for now, the Mets need to ensure that’s a problem they end up facing.
Despite the sweep, Terry Collins reminded his team in a brief chat after the loss the club still finished with a 4-3 homestand, are (somehow) still 4 1/2 games ahead of the now sub-.500 Washington Nationals, and are heading out on a key, nine-game road trip.
“If any of you guys in this room would have told me on May 15 that with 44 games left in the season, we’d have a 4 ¹/₂ game lead, I’d take it. I’ll take it,” manager Terry Collins said addressing the media after their disheartening 8-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
“As bad as this game ended up looking, I’ll take it. We’ll take the (day off) and we’ll come out in Baltimore and get ready to play.” the manager said.
Despite the ugly loss, Collins was pleased with his club’s ability to play with the Pirates over the last three games, despite the two extra-inning losses and the ugly outcome on Sunday.
“It would have [been worse] if [the Pirates] were 20-50. They’re not. They’re a good team. We played good. We had a bad day, came out of the rain delay, we didn’t play good,” the manager explained. “We had a terrible two innings in a row in a good weekend. We played very good baseball until the seventh inning [on Sunday].”
Travis d’Arnaud echoed the managers sentiments about the weekend.
“I’ll try not to think about [the sweep],” d’Arnaud said after the game. “I look at it as a 4-3 homestand.”
It’s one way to look at it, for sure, and the proper way for a winning club to look at it. And it’s commendable for Terry Collins to deflect the negativity which has undoubtedly and quite fairly ensued from Sunday’s game. It’s his job to keep the focus of that clubhouse on where they’re heading, and not harping on a single mess in a span of 162 games. The Mets got swept by a very good team after playing two very good games on Friday and Saturday.
And, it doesn’t seem as though the players are ever stunned or disappointed by adversity, which is part of what has gotten them this far to begin with.
It’s also as good a time as any to have had a bad weekend, because the Washington Nationals simply cannot get out of their own way, having been swept by the San Francisco Giants after losing two of three to the Dodgers last week.
“We are very fortunate,” Collins said about Washington’s struggles.
And they can’t bank on Washington struggling forever, especially with Denard Span getting closer to returning. They are a far better team with Span in the lineup.
As such, it could be viewed as a lost opportunity to gain some necessary ground while the Mets figure out how to piece their bullpen together back again this season.
Overall, the Mets have not played particularly well against teams over .500, either. They’re just 15-27 against teams with a winning record season, and they’re facing a red-hot Orioles team tomorrow who are right in the middle of their own pennant races in the American League.
Obviously, it’s a concern. The goal is to play at least .500 ball against teams with a winning record, and the Mets will not do that this year. But the Mets have a pretty soft schedule over the final 44 games of the season, with only the Orioles, Yankees and presumably the Nationals will have winning records among their opponents.
The Mets do have a winning record against the Dodgers and Nationals, which stand as the two teams standing in their way before they can even think about facing the Cardinals, Pirates or Cubs again this year.
For now, Terry Collins and the Mets have their eyes on the prize. For them, that’s a postseason berth.
And despite the sweep, things are still looking up for them as they eye a playoff spot for the first time in nine years.
“Forty-four to go, 4½-game lead … and I won’t look back to what might have been. You can’t do it,” Collins said.