Pitching and defense failed the Mets miserably at the last subway stop
Aside from the Matt Harvey circus show on Sunday and the unenviable position the team was put in as a result, there were some disturbing reminders on the fine line the Mets appear to be walking towards their march to the postseason.
The sixth inning on Sunday night against the Yankees was nothing short of an epic breakdown by the Mets. A comedy of errors and poor pitching with the sharpness of the Yankee teeth being felt in each of the five runs they posted against Hansel Robles.
And that doesn’t even include what happened in the seventh and eighth innings.
It started with a bouncing ball off the bat of Jacoby Ellsbury which Daniel Murphy – who entered the game for Juan Uribe moments before – cut off with his body going the other way. He then made an off-balanced throw to first which went wide of the bag.
Ellsbury took off for second, and suddenly the Yankees smelled blood as they trailed 1-0.
Then, Brett Gardner gave himself up in an effort to move Ellsbury to third. But he bunted the ball back to Robles too hard, and Robles had Ellsbury dead at third.
But of course, it wasn’t quite that simple.
He threw a seed to David Wright and the ball beat Ellsbury by a healthy margin. But Wright clearly tried to get the tag down too quickly, dropped the ball before he could get his glove down, and everybody was safe.
“The ball got on me and I couldn’t get my glove on it,” Wright explained. “I just didn’t catch it cleanly. It was just one of those things where everything has to be perfect and it just wasn’t.”
And that’s when the sharks began to circle around Citi Field, led by a shark who Met fans love to hate.
Carlos Beltran came through with a go-ahead double to plate two runs in the very next sequence.
“You don’t want to know what I was thinking,” manager Terry Collins said about his team’s display in the sixth inning.
Moments later, Dustin Ackley broke the Mets backs with a three-run home run to give the Yankees a four run lead and seemingly an impossible mountain for the Mets to climb after what had transpired.
“Things just kind of unraveled,” Wright explained.
Indeed things did. But it only got worse from there.
The Mets bullpen allowed six more runs in the seventh and eighth inning, hardly the fault of the defense this time.
It was the first time since 2012 the bullpen had allowed 11 runs (they allowed 12 on April 27, 2012 at Coors Field). They did it in just four innings on Sunday. In total, seven of the runs were earned thanks to four errors by the Mets defense.
But regardless of the fact it was the Yankees, it’s these kind of performances which should serve as a loud wakeup call that there are plenty of games left before the Mets can even begin to contemplate their night-on-the-town-celebration for clinching the division.
“They poured it on,” Wright said. Once they got an extra out, got a couple extra outs, they really took advantage of those. Good teams do that. It’s tough all around.”
The Mets are supposed to be that good team, and they are certainly better than what they’ve been showing lately.
After all, a 9 1/2 game lead has suddenly become six games, thanks to the Mets losing four of their last six games and Washington getting on a late-season roll.
In those six games, the Mets have posted a 5.17 ERA while allowing eight home runs. They’re hitting just .200 with 14 runs scored in that span as well.
That’s hardly going to work over the final 13 games of the season.
The only saving grace is there are even fewer games on the schedule for Washington to make up what still is a large deficit.
But the Mets know all too well there are no saving graces this time of year, at least until they get out of their own way and take care of business.