New York Mets' Francisco Lindor is greeted in the dugout...

New York Mets' Francisco Lindor is greeted in the dugout after he scored against the Cincinnati Reds during the second inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

These days, the alleged dog days, against good teams and bad, in games with heightened importance to the postseason race and throwaway midweek series, no matter the quality of the opposing starting pitcher, the Mets have turned the diamond at Citi Field into their own personal merry-go-around.

Hit-by-pitch, walk, single, sacrifice fly — boom, two runs in the first inning. Walk, single, steal, single, single, single — bam, three more runs in the second.

On and on they went Wednesday in a 10-2 victory over the Reds, the Mets’ sixth win in a row, eighth in nine games and 15th in 17 games. During this active winning streak, they have outscored the other team 40-14 and haven’t trailed at all.

“The biggest thing [is] no matter who the opponent is, we go out there and we play the same way every single time,” said righthander Taijuan Walker, who allowed two runs in six innings. “We could easily get distracted coming off a big five-game series against the Braves. We could get distracted playing someone like the Reds. They’re a big-league team. Their record is not very good this year, but we still have to go out there and handle business. And that’s what we did.”

The Mets are rolling, and their lineup has been a machine. They have averaged 5.63 runs per game since the All-Star break. That is up from an already-strong 4.70 in the first half of the season.

In addition to the usual suspects like Pete Alonso (3-for-5, RBI) and Francisco Lindor (2-for-3, two RBIs, three runs scored), the Mets’ trade-deadline additions had big impacts again. Daniel Vogelbach drove in three runs and scored another, and Tyler Naquin added a homer and a double.

“Even when we do get out, I feel like we don’t have any easy outs. It makes it hard on the pitcher,” Vogelbach said. “Everybody is in it from the start to the finish. Everybody cares about each other’s at-bats. That’s fun.”

 

In 10 games with the Mets, Naquin has more extra-base hits (seven) than singles (four).

“We miss J.D. Davis [who was traded for Darin Ruf], but the guys that came in are helping us win ballgames as well,” Lindor said. “I’m happy that they’re here. The front office did an amazing job of bringing the right group of guys that are going to fit in and help us win.”

It helped, of course, that their primary victim this time was righthander T.J. Zeuch, a 27-year-old rookie who gave up six runs in four innings in his season debut for the Reds (44-66). The first red flag popped up in the first inning, when Zeuch got ahead of Brandon Nimmo, 0-and-2, but wound up hitting him with a full-count pitch.

Zeuch threw more pitches to his first batter (seven) than Walker threw in the first inning (six).

“It kind of sets the tone for whole games sometimes,” manager Buck Showalter said of Nimmo making a pitcher work hard. “The pitcher may win the at-bat with the out, but you’ve heard me say, he wins some things for the team.”

The Mets plated two runs in that opening inning, on Alonso’s single (for RBI No. 96) and Jeff McNeil’s sacrifice fly. The latter brought in Lindor, who matched David Wright’s franchise record set in 2008 by scoring a run in 13 consecutive games.

By the time the Mets scored thrice more in the second — two on Lindor’s single, one on Vogelbach’s single — the game was basically over.

Now the schedule gets hard again: Philadelphia for three, then a road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia, then a two-game Subway Series in the Bronx.

“Be at peace with the way you approach it,” Showalter said. “Don’t go back and let the games sneak up on you."