The Washington Nationals handed the Mets their sixth defeat in a row on a rainy Thursday, pounding New York 10-1. The Mets could only muster 1 win during their entire 9-game homestand. 6 of their 8 losses came at the hands of teams with losing records (Cubs and Nationals). And the Mets themselves, who have flirted with .500 all year long, have seen their record fall to 71-79.
The Mets have lost a lot of key pieces to injury and trades this year, and what’s left of the 2011 Mets appears to have run out of gas. Even moreso than their 5-13 start to the season, it’s apparent this team has hit bottom.
Once again, dreadful defense and no hitting, in particular with men on base, did the Mets in. David Wright continued to look lost in the field, committing his 18th error of the year, and his 15th since returning from the DL. Valentino Pascucci, who looks less like a ballplayer and more like he should be hanging off a dump truck, made his first error of the year in his first Major League start since 2004. The Mets bullpen combined to give up 7 runs, 6 earned in four innings. However, shoddy defensive plays that weren’t ruled errors, such as Angel Pagan’s misplay in the eighth, didn’t help the likes of Pedro Beato or Manny Acosta.
On offense, the Mets stranded 10 runners, and went 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position. All season long, the Mets have gotten on base (Moneyball!), but have been among the worst teams in baseball at driving them in. The only time they looked competent was during that bizarre stretch during interleague play when no one could stop them with 2 outs and men on base. Jason Bay knocked in the only run for the Mets with a long double in the sixth. He continues his torrid hitting, albeit in meaningless September games.
Lefty Tom Millone (1-0) got the win for the Nationals, the first of his career. He went 5.2 innings, giving up only 1 run on 3 hits. The Nats bullpen held New York scoreless the rest of the way.
Rookie Chris Schwinden (0-2) started for the Mets and threw 79 pitches in 5 innings of work. He surrendered only 1 earned run on 4 hits, walked 2 and struck out 3. Despite suffering the loss, it was a leap of an improvement over Schwinden’s first start against the Braves, in which he allowed 5 runs in as many innings.
The game was delayed 40 minutes due to rain in the second inning.
So the Mets go back on the road on Friday to see if they can stop the bleeding against the Atlanta Braves. If not, it looks like this team is destined to limp to the finish in 2011.