Chasen Shreve #43 of the New York Mets during the...

Chasen Shreve #43 of the New York Mets during the fifth inning against the Houston Astrosat Minute Maid Park on June 21, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Credit: Getty Images/Carmen Mandato

HOUSTON — With six weeks till the trade deadline, perusing the Mets’ roster and trying to find the weak spots they should shore up is an exercise in observing the obvious.

The rotation is more than fine, particularly if and when Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom return from injury. The lineup began this road trip as the highest-scoring group in the National League with nary an upgradeable hole — besides designated hitter if the Mets decide some combination of J.D. Davis, Dominic Smith and, say, Mark Vientos isn’t good enough. But the bullpen? The bullpen needs help, particularly from the left side.

After Chasen Shreve’s ugly outing in an 8-2 loss to the Astros on Tuesday — one inning, four runs — both of the Mets’ lefthanded relievers have ERAs that could be characterized as unsightly: 5.61 for Shreve, 5.06 for Joely Rodriguez.

Combine that with the reality that the Mets don’t have an easy choice as their best setup man behind Edwin Diaz — Drew Smith? Seth Lugo? Trevor May when he is healthy? — and it becomes clear for what they’ll probably be shopping between now and Aug. 2.

“We think there’s better days ahead hopefully,” manager Buck Showalter said of the team’s lefthanded relief.

The Mets (45-25) trailed Houston (42-25) by just three runs when Shreve took over in the bottom of the fifth. He struck out Martin Maldonado for the first out before having trouble with the top of the lineup, loading the bases after Yordan Alvarez’s four-pitch walk.

That brought up Kyle Tucker, who got ahead 2-and-0 — making it six straight balls for Shreve — and laced a three-run double to right-centerfield. Alvarez, a lumbering DH, blew through third-base coach Gary Pettis’ stop sign to score from first without a play. Starling Marte’s throw missed the first cutoff man, second baseman Luis Guillorme, and trickled to shortstop Francisco Lindor.

 

Shreve gave up another run before finishing the frame at 35 pitches. The game wasn’t close anymore.

Through his first month with the Mets, he had a 1.54 ERA. Since then, a 9.00 ERA.

“At first it was just kind of not going my way,” Shreve said. “I was getting singled to death, giving up runs. I felt like today was the first day that I didn’t pitch well. I couldn’t locate my fastball. Splitter was fine. They’re a good-hitting team, and I didn’t have it today.”

Showalter added: “Just when it looks like he’s getting ready to get back on the horse, he has another outing that we know he’s better than. It’s been tough on him.”

Righthanded swingman Trevor Williams, making a spot start to plug the gap between Tylor Megill (suffered a right shoulder strain in his last start) and Scherzer (might return Sunday), gave up three runs in four innings. All of the damage came in the third, when Jose Altuve and Alvarez tagged him for home runs, both hit very hard but neither hit particularly far.

Williams allowed four hits in all, walked three and struck out two.

The Mets managed little against righthander Jose Urquidy (4.68 ERA). He yielded one run and four hits in six innings. After the Mets loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, Eduardo Escobar and Davis struck out swinging.

Their lone run against him came on Pete Alonso’s home run in the sixth. The 126th long ball of his career meant he broke a tie with Lucas Duda (125) for eighth on the Mets’ all-time list.

“Statistically, we know Urquidy] is a lot better than he had shown coming in,” Showalter said. “We knew at some point he was going to get it going. Tonight was the night.”