MIAMI — After Jeff McNeil’s double on the first pitch of the game, the only thing the Mets hit Saturday was a stunning new low.
They dropped another game to the Marlins, 2-0, for their fourth straight loss and second in as many days to rebuilding Miami, further intensifying the spotlight on manager Mickey Callaway and his questionable job security.
The Mets won’t fire Callaway before Monday, a source said, offering no assurances beyond that.
Listless and already the losers of the series, the Mets (20-24) head into Sunday’s finale in danger of getting swept by the Marlins (12-31), who were winning at a historically low rate before getting a boost against the Mets. Noah Syndergaard will face Sandy Alcantara.
“I’m coming in [Sunday] to manage the New York Mets,” Callaway said when asked about his job standing. “And I’m going to be enthusiastic about it and continue to lead this team to something special.”
Callaway said he sees adequate energy, effort and urgency from his team, which is 3-4 since his 90-minute meeting last week with general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon.
“Losses don’t mean that they’re not playing with urgency,” Callaway said. “They’re playing, they understand what’s at stake and they understand we have to do better.”
You wouldn’t know it by watching the Mets on Saturday. McNeil’s double was their only hit. They then made 14 consecutive outs before Todd Frazier drew a two-out walk in the fifth. McNeil managed a 12-pitch walk in the sixth, but Amed Rosario grounded into a double play. Brandon Nimmo walked in the eighth, the Mets’ fourth and final baserunner, but he was erased when Juan Lagares hit into a double play.
Marlins second-year righthander Pablo Lopez, who entered with a 5.93 ERA, dominated. He matched career highs with seven innings and seven strikeouts, allowing one hit and two walks. He threw 92 pitches, needing only six in his final frame to retire the middle of the Mets’ lineup — Robinson Cano, Pete Alonso and Wilson Ramos — in order.
That represented a significant rebound for Lopez, whom the Mets tagged for 10 runs — including eight in the first inning — in three innings at Citi Field last week.
“Anything can happen on any day versus any team versus any pitcher,” Callaway said. “He threw mistakes, we missed them. We didn’t the other day. It’s not like he made every pitch all night. It’s part of baseball.”
Steven Matz lasted 3 2⁄3 innings in his return from the injured list (radial nerve discomfort). Jon Berti, a 29-year-old rookie, hit a leadoff homer off him. Matz gave up two runs, five hits and two walks, striking out six. His last batter was Lopez, who singled to left to load the bases.
In broaching how the Mets can improve, Callaway went to common talking points from last season, when the Mets went 77-85: Stay consistent emotionally and keep putting in hard work.
“I see energy, I see effort, I see guys working hard, I see them coming to the field every day enthused to go out there and win a baseball game,” Callaway said. “The only thing I don’t see are the wins.
“I feel like everybody comes to the park every day for something greater than what’s been happening. We have to start making it happen somehow, some way.”
Callaway added: “As a leader, you can’t ever worry about yourself. I’m here. One of the things I told them when I got hired was selfless service is very important to me, and my goal every day is to improve that room, be consistent and make sure our players continue to improve.”
Frazier, among the Mets’ several underperforming veterans, backed Callaway.
“I think he’s doing a great job,” he said. “He can’t go up there and hit. He makes the lineup, he puts the guys in at the right time and we’re not producing. At the end of the day, he makes the lineup, he does his job, he’s a great manager. Our focus is on winning games, and we’re not doing that for him.”