MILWAUKEE - The clink of silverware, the buzz of cellphones on tabletops, the murmurs that come with words spoken in hushed tones -- this is all that interrupted the quiet in the Mets clubhouse Thursday night.
"We're not playing good," Terry Collins said, shortly after Thursday night's 4-1 loss to the Brewers. "Yet, we're not buried, either. I know there's a lot of guys standing in this room thinking that we are. Well, we're not."
Shovels out? Perhaps.
Either way, the Mets clubhouse sounded like a wake on the day that they officially crash-landed into purgatory. As they speed toward the end of June, the Mets could go either way: They could regroup as Collins and players insisted they will do. Or, they could collapse, squandering a season that was filled with promise.
By the end of the Mets' latest debacle, Collins who found himself on the receiving end of questions about general manager Sandy Alderson, and a front office that has not augmented a roster that has been stretched to its limits by injuries.
"I don't blame anybody," Collins said. "I have never done that. I never will. I'm not going to point any fingers."
Before the game, Collins called for a team meeting to change the energy around his injury-riddled club. It didn't matter. The Mets dropped their seventh straight, their longest losing streak since April of 2011.
Once 10 games over .500, the Mets have dipped beneath the .500 mark for the first time since April 11. They are one loss away from returning to Citi Field winless on an eight-game road trip.
"Any time you lose games, and you lose a bunch of games, it's not going to be the best place to be," Curtis Granderson said. "But at the same time, the confidence remains high."
Not that the Mets have shown any signs of warranting such confidence. They have scored nine runs in seven games and have slipped to 31/2 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals.
"It's really bad and frustrating for everybody, including myself," veteran righthander Bartolo Colon said through a translator. "All we've got to do is continue to work hard, play hard, don't get ourselves down and try to get out of it because this is a really frustrating moment."
Against the cellar-dwelling Brewers, Colon got roughed up for four runs and 10 hits in six innings. His night started by allowing four straight liners and surrendering two runs.
Later, Scooter Gennett bashed a solo homer and Ryan Braun scored because Colon was slow to cover first base on a grounder to Lucas Duda.
The offense remained just as atrocious as it has been throughout a winless road trip. Despite the soothing words they might have heard from their manager, the lineup produced little more than a solo shot from Granderson, whose fourth-inning homer was the Mets' last hit against Jimmy Nelson, who allowed two hits in eight innings.
Nelson had been struggling, though he encountered little resistance against the Mets.
The drought has persisted with no end in sight. Daniel Murphy, Travis d'Arnaud and David Wright remain on the disabled list, replaced by an overmatched and inexperienced cast of fill-ins.
"We're not hitting," said Collins, who insisted that a turnaround looms. "End of story. That's pretty much it. We've got to start hitting."