Nineteen runs in seven games. Two runs or less in five of those games. Six hits or less in four of them.
It’s not a mystery why the Mets’ playoff hopes are suddenly on life support. The bottom has fallen out of the offense, a trend that began in the final game of a sweep of the Indians and was impossible to ignore as the Braves and Cubs ripped off six straight wins at Citi Field in the last week.
The trend continued on Thursday night, as the Mets blew scoring chances in each of the first three innings against struggling Cubs starter Jon Lester, before the offense went asleep again over the final six frames.
“We had to have more traffic,” manager Mickey Callaway said after the Cubs completed the sweep with a 4-1 victory to move five games ahead of the Mets for the second wild-card spot. “The traffic we got tonight against Lester was all basically with two outs. We’d get two outs and get a couple of guys on and you have to get a hit, and we didn’t. If we a hit in one of those spots, maybe we get a chance to put a second run on the board, build some momentum.”
Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil had chances to break through in the first two innings, each lining out. Todd Frazier flied out to end the third with two men aboard. From there, the Mets managed just two base runners, meekly ending a dismal 3-6 homestand that began with such promise.
“We’re not putting it together for whatever reason,” Callaway said. “We’re not syncing it all up to where it ends up in runs.”
In most of the games during this offensive funk, the Mets had opportunities. They just failed to capitalize on them like they had been doing during the hot stretch. They went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position on Thursday after going 3-for-15 on Wednesday in a 10-7 defeat and 0-for-5 on Tuesday. There wasn’t one culprit. It’s been a team-wise malaise.
“We’re just not getting the big hit, it seems like,” McNeil said. “We hit some balls hard today with runners in scoring position, didn’t score. So it’s tough.”
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