The ball shot off Marcell Ozuna’s bat as if it were competing with the planes taking off from LaGuardia — traveling so far so quickly that Yoenis Cespedes could only turn around to admire it as it settled into the second deck in leftfield. That was the second inning.
By the time the eighth rolled along, nobody wanted to watch. Not reliever Paul Sewald, who had his major-league debut ruined by back-to-back RBIs that inning, and not any of the other Mets, who must have been wondering how the Marlins made it look so easy.
The Mets managed only three hits, stressed their already-taxed bullpen and did a whole lot of nothing else Saturday night as they lost to the Marlins, 8-1, at Citi Field. The Mets have managed three runs in their two losses to Miami and the Marlins have answered with 15.
On Saturday night, they wasted a rocky but gritty outing by Robert Gsellman and further imploded on the backs of six relievers.
What did Terry Collins see from his offense? “I’m not seeing any hits,” he said. “The approach is what it’s always been. We’ve said this many times before, this team is built on power . . . We have to get some other guys going because we’re a better offensive team than this and you’re not going to ride one guy. That’s not how we’re built . . . We’re not swinging the bats like we can.”
Gsellman wasn’t particularly sharp, but he sure was hardy, braving the blustery conditions and a number of very hard-hit balls but otherwise limiting the damage. He allowed three runs and six hits in five innings in his first start since last year.
Gsellman, who struggled with his sinker, nonetheless showed the poise that so attracted the Mets to him last year, when he helped save the team from a complete pitching collapse down the stretch.
“I was just out of my mechanics a little bit,” he said. “My sinker was side-to-side instead of sinking down, so that led to a couple hits and a couple runs early in the game, but I fixed it after the third inning . . . You can’t get down on yourself when you don’t have your best stuff. You just gotta battle and do your best for the team.”
The Marlins scored a run in each of the first three innings, on Giancarlo Stanton’s RBI single, Ozuna’s 400-foot bomb and Miguel Rojas’ sacrifice fly.
Give Curtis Granderson the assist on that last one. The centerfielder started in on a well-hit ball off the bat of J.T. Realmuto before correcting too late, leading to a triple and, after Rojas’ sacrifice fly, the 3-0 lead. Realmuto was 3-for-6 with two RBIs and Ozuna was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.
“He couldn’t get the ball down,” Collins said of Gsellman. “Some of the balls that were struck, he made a lot of mistakes. But it’s his first game out there, his first game this year and he’s got quality stuff and I think he’ll be fine.”
That was more than enough to undo the Mets, especially with the top of the lineup struggling the way it did Saturday night. The one through five hitters didn’t record a hit until the eighth. Marlins starter Adam Conley brought a no-hitter into the fifth before Lucas Duda’s opposite-field homer.
“We’re just collectively not swinging it as well as we know we can,” said Neil Walker, who was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. “These last two days, obviously, haven’t been great days for a lot of us, but you just keep pushing forward, and once we get the ball rolling, we know we’ll start clicking on all cylinders.”