MIAMI — Much like Robinson Cano on his ground balls over the weekend, the Mets are going nowhere fast.
Their 3-0 loss to the Marlins on Sunday completed an embarrassing sweep at the hands of baseball’s worst team. A day after managing only one hit and being shut out, the Mets had two hits and grounded into three double plays. Miami’s Sandy Alcantara needed only 89 pitches to complete the shutout. The game took 1 hour, 59 minutes.
At 20-25 and losers of five consecutive games, the Mets open a seven-game homestand Monday. They haven’t announced who will be pitching against the Nationals, and there’s no guarantee who will be managing, either.
The Mets had no plans to fire Mickey Callaway before Monday, a source said Saturday, offering no promises on the club’s intentions once the team returned to New York. Although a Callaway dismissal didn’t seem imminent Sunday evening, another lackluster effort — from a typical getaway day lineup with a couple of backups — didn’t help.
Noah Syndergaard, who allowed two runs in seven innings Sunday, stood up for Callaway, just as Todd Frazier did a day before.
“I respect the hell out of Mickey. Mickey has tremendous leadership values,” he said.
“It’s kind of [expletive] what’s going on right now that there could be a change. Because we’re so early in the season and just one very small step away from putting this all together. It’s certainly not on him.”
Callaway said he wasn’t afraid that the “terrible” weekend — his word — will cost him his job.
“I understand that everybody’s disappointed — the fans, ownership, myself, the team,” he said. “Because this is not who we are. We have to figure out who we are. I truly don’t believe this is the type team we are. But we got to go out there and show it. It doesn’t matter what we believe if they’re not doing it.”
J.D. Davis had the Mets’ only hits, singles in the fourth and seventh. Both times, he was erased when Robinson Cano hit into a double play.
The single in the fourth was the Mets’ first hit since the first pitch Saturday, a stretch of 37 outs. On the next pitch, Cano grounded into a double play when he didn’t run out a dribbler that rolled a couple of feet up the first-base line. He said he thought it was a foul ball.
That was the second time in the series that Cano’s lack of hustle turned into a double play. On Friday, he barely jogged toward first on a bouncer to the pitcher, ending a late-inning rally.
The Mets’ problems, however, were much greater than one player’s effort level. In their past two games, they have totaled three hits, four walks and no runs. In this game, the trouble came from Alcantara, 23, who entered with a 5.11 ERA (but is considered to have a front-of-the-rotation ceiling).
“I don’t think it was a lack of concentration or focus or anything,” Callaway said. “We just had terrible at-bats and hit into a bunch of double plays. When we finally got somebody on, we hit into a double play.”
This was the first series sweep for the Marlins (13-31) since September 2017, also against the Mets.
Syndergaard matched Alcantara early, not allowing a baserunner until the fifth, when Neil Walker singled on a soft line drive to center. The first run off him scored on a double play and the second came home on a sacrifice fly. Curtis Granderson homered off Seth Lugo in the eighth.
In three of his past four starts, Syndergaard has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs. This time, with the Mets hitting worse than they have all year, that wasn’t good enough.
“Maybe we’re feeling a little bit of pressure coming from external forces,” Syndergaard said. “That could be affecting us, to go out there and play really tense-like. It’ll be nice to get home for a week, kind of relax and get the ball moving again.”