I’ll get this part out of the way: 4-9 is a pretty bad way to start the season, especially dropping six of seven at home, where the Mets dominated for most of last year. Granted, the Rockies are a very good team and Troy Tulowitzki had a series against the Mets for the ages, but the not-so Amazins held a lead in every game of this series. Actually, they’ve jumped out to a lead in every game of their five game losing streak. There are plenty of things the Mets are doing wrong, but right now I’ll just focus on the pitching/defense’s inability to put up a zero after the offense scores some runs, specifically focusing on the latest debacles while facing the Rockies.
Game One: Mike Pelfrey was on the mound for this one after a rough first couple of starts. The Mets staked him to an early 1-0 lead after scoring in the bottom of the first, but Colorado tied it after a Tulowitzki RBI single in the third. New York regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning before the Rockies promptly tied the game in the fourth, thanks in part to a throwing error by Jose Reyes while attempting to complete a double play on a bunt attempt. The Mets then grabbed the lead again to go up by two runs, and this time it held for an inning. However, the Rockies scored two in the sixth to tie (again the Mets could’ve been out of the inning had Ryota Igarashi not botched a double play) and three in the eighth (Bobby Parnell could’ve gotten an out on a play at the plate but threw it away) and won 7-6.
Game Two: The Mets scored a run in the first inning and led 2-0 before the Rockies got one run on the board in the fourth. Again, New York came right back with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning before Tulowitzki smacked a three run homer in the top of the fifth. Mets would go on to lose 5-4.
Game Three: It took the Mets a few innings but they grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fourth before the Rockies scored a run in the top of the fifth, thanks in part to a fly ball that Angel Pagan couldn’t quite track down. Starter R.A. Dickey got into trouble in the sixth, allowing the first two men to reach, but got the next two outs. However, Jose Morales hit a double that Scott Hairston stopped chasing near the warning track, plating two runs and giving the Rockies the lead. The Mets made the game just interesting enough to make it painful by scoring in the eighth and loading the bases in the ninth while trailing by a run. Unfortunately, David Wright’s fly ball to right just wasn’t long enough, and the Mets lost 6-5. Of note, Morales, Colorado’s catcher, blocked two balls in the dirt in the ninth, preventing the tying run from crossing the plate both times.
Game Four: Same song, different verse. Mets go ahead 2-0 in the second, followed by Chris Capuano yielding two runs in the third. New York comes back and scores two runs in the fourth, but Colorado scored six in the sixth, which included another Tulo home run, Carlos Beltran losing the ball in the sun (leading to a single) and Brad Emaus botching an inning-ending double play with the pitcher batting. Unlike the other games, this one wasn’t close, as the Mets lost 9-4.
The theme of this series was clear: the Mets would get an early lead, lose it or give up a run almost immediately after, then come back to regain the lead or add on a run before a combination of sub-par pitching (starters and relievers) and defensive miscues. Sure, the offensive didn’t light anybody up this series, but in every game they scored first (which usually leads to a win) and sometimes regained the lead after losing it. The big hit late in the game is still elusive, but the team isn’t putting up goose eggs every night.
Right now, there is no Johan Santana in the starting rotation and the bullpen isn’t full of Turk Wendells and Pedro Felicianos and the infield is certainly not the best ever (the outfield needs defense needs to improve also). But in order to win, both in streaks and over the long haul, little things need to be done. Balls need to be caught, better pitches have to be made and double plays need to be turned. I’m not panicking because the Mets have only played thirteen games this season. The team is playing below their capabilities and will get going, but the question is when?