MIAMI — a 5-1 loss to the Marlins on Sunday brought the Mets to one of the first major milestones of the season: The one-quarter mark.
Forty games in, the Mets have seen plenty, including a series of COVID-related postponements, a subsequent series of weather-related postponements, a bizarre barrage of injuries that has left their lineup and rotation reliant on second- and third-stringers, a seven-game win streak, more utter dominance from Jacob deGrom, the total opposite from Francisco Lindor, four walk-off wins, four walk-off losses, the firings of their hitting coaches and a benches-clearing episode against the Phillies, among other chaotic moments.
Oh, and they have a 21-19 record, good for first place in the underwhelming but bunched-up National League East. No other team in the division, expected to be perhaps the best in baseball, has a winning record.
The Mets’ 3.45 runs per game rank 29th in the majors. Their 3.30 ERA ranks fourth.
"It could’ve been worse with all the moving parts," manager Luis Rojas said of the season to date. "I like the spirit of the guys that have joined us along the way. But the injuries are the thing that stands out right now."
Sunday marked the end of a 3-6 road trip, during which the Mets lost as many games as they did players to the injured list: Michael Conforto (hamstring), Jeff McNeil (hamstring), Kevin Pillar (face), Taijuan Walker (left side), Pete Alonso (wrist) and Tommy Hunter (back).
Righthander Jordan Yamamoto, making his first start of the season, lasted four innings and allowed five runs (four earned) to the team that cut him in January.
He left with a sore right shoulder, which he said developed after a 38-pitch disaster of a second inning.
Rojas said he didn’t know about the shoulder issue until late in the game and that the decision to remove Yamamoto after 73 pitches was based on performance and workload. Yamamoto said he told the Mets he wanted to remain in the game but was told otherwise.
"They were like, no, hey, we don’t want to put any more strain on it," Yamamoto said. "I respect them and I respect everything they want from me. It’s a sucky feeling, but at the end of the day I just want to pitch. I also want to let the team win. If this is hindering my ability to help the team win, it is what it is."
The Marlins (22-24) scored all of their runs in the second, when Yamamoto combined some bad luck (three soft singles) with some bad pitching (walking Garrett Cooper after getting ahead 0-and-2, hitting Sandy Leon with a pitch to load the bases).
Opposing pitcher Cody Poteet drove in Miami’s first run with a dribbler toward third base, his first career hit.
The inning nearly ended via Miguel Rojas’ potential double-play grounder to first base, but Lindor was charged with an error on his throw to first base. Rojas and Yamamoto said Yamamoto should have caught Lindor’s throw. He didn’t. That turned a two-run rally into a five-run rally.
"The double play could’ve been damage minimized but he couldn’t field his position on the throw from Lindor," Rojas said. "That’s a play that we worked a lot on during spring training and even during the season."
Said Yamamoto, "I just let the team down today."
The rookie righthander Poteet, meanwhile, cruised through seven shutout innings, the best of his three major-league games.
The Mets managed just three hits against Poteet, all singles. The last of those was by Yamamoto to lead off the third. He immediately was erased when Jonathan Villar grounded into a double play, the start of Poteet’s streak of 14 consecutive batters retired.
"The kid pitched really good," Rojas said. "He set the tone."