DENVER — On the first day of summer, the Mets made theirs look as if it could be awfully short.
They dropped their third in a row to the Rockies, 6-4, on Thursday to finish a 3-7 road trip. They head home as losers of 22 of 29 games the past month. With the season approaching the halfway point, the Mets are fourth in the NL East, 11 1⁄2 games behind first-place Atlanta, and would need to leapfrog eight teams to get into an NL wild-card spot.
“Obviously things haven’t gone our way. But what are we going to do, sit here and pout about it?” Kevin Plawecki said. “Or are we going to try to have fun and try to keep getting better? You never know what happens. There’s a lot of season left.”
There isn’t that much season left, at least not before the trade deadline. The Mets (31-41) and their front office face increasing pressure to make a decision regarding the club’s short-term and perhaps long-term future.
If the Mets choose to be sellers, closer Jeurys Familia and second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, both pending free agents, are prime candidates to be traded. If the Mets are open to moving larger pieces, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard would be popular targets, though the price would be awfully high and the Mets have shown no inclination to move their best pitchers.
Count Todd Frazier, twice traded as his team rebuilt, among those who want to keep the Mets together.
“In my mind, I think they want to keep this team together. It’s a good bunch of guys,” Frazier said. “You don’t trade guys like Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler, just to name three off the top of my head who everybody is talking about. Those are top-of-the-line pitchers that you want on your squad for the rest of their careers. In my mind, if I’m in those meetings, I would just scratch those [names] off.
“I’m not a big fan of rebuild, I’ll be honest with you . . . It’s just a matter of winning games.”
That has been the hard part for the Mets. On Thursday, Brandon Nimmo, the potential tying run, struck out swinging to end it. The Mets grounded into five double plays, matching the Rockies’ single-game record.
The Mets popped out to another first-inning lead on Frazier’s solo homer, but lefthander Steven Matz allowed five runs in 5 2⁄3 innings.
The Rockies smacked Matz around early, with Nolan Arenado burning him for a three-run homer in the first and a two-run double in the second. But Matz settled down, recording his final five outs on 13 pitches.
Matz allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out six. His outing was the best this week at Coors Field by a Met not named deGrom, but it was also a rare recent misstep for him. He entered the day with a 2.47 ERA since May 1 and a 1.55 road ERA this season.
“I threw two bad pitches and Arenado beat me twice,” Matz said. “That really summed up the whole game.”
Tim Peterson pitched a perfect 1 1⁄3 innings and retired all 10 Rockies he faced this week. In five games, the rookie has a 1.17 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and nine strikeouts in 7 2⁄3 innings.
The Mets’ next chance to start turning it around comes against the Dodgers at Citi Field this weekend.
“You don’t worry about the record,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “Just worry about how you’re doing your thing every day and how you’re playing the game, and we’ll start syncing everything up.”