It’s a scenario that has befuddled even the Mets manager and one of the team’s most consistent hitters.
With a starting pitching staff featuring baseball’s ERA leader (Jacob deGrom, 1.79), an improved Steven Matz, pitching to a 3.31 ERA — including allowing one run or fewer in three of his last five starts — and Zack Wheeler allowing two runs or fewer in three of his last four starts, the Mets have failed to win any of their last 14 series.
Their last series victory came in a three-game home sweep of the Diamondbacks May 18-20.
“Our starting pitchers have been tremendous,” said manager Mickey Callaway after the Mets’ 9-0 home loss to the Rays Sunday afternoon. “You almost get lucky and win a series, but it just hasn’t happened for us.”
The Mets entered the weekend trending in the right direction, scoring at least five runs in their first four July games, resulting in three victories including Jose Bautista’s walk-off grand slam Friday night in a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay. But the Mets were shut out in each of the series’ final two games, dropping to 35-51 on the season and 15-28 at home.
“They say pitching wins championships and same with defense, so we’re strong in the starting pitching, so it is pretty unbelievable,” said outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who had one of the team’s two hits Sunday, about the series streak. “But I think it just shows again just how much of a disconnect we’ve had with good starting pitching and poor offense and then good offense and then (the starting pitchers) just happen to have one bad day.”
The Mets entered Sunday ranked tied for third in baseball with the most games a starting pitcher left with the lead, but failed to record the victory (11). The Mets also ranked tied for third with the most tough losses (10), which means the starting pitcher received a loss despite throwing a quality start. The starters have thrown quality starts in 45 percent of their outings, with the league average being 43 percent.
But offensively, the Mets entered Sunday ranked 28th of 30 teams in runs scored (336) and 25th in runs per game (3.95).
“It’s been a little bit of a disconnect I think,” Nimmo said, “but our starting pitchers are fantastic so it’s definitely no fault of theirs.”
Callaway said despite the team facing tough pitching matchups over the weekend in Blake Snell and Nathan Eovaldi, the team needs to improve getting and then scoring players on base.
“The bottom line is we have to do a better job with runners in scoring position,” Callaway said. “We need to get more baserunners in general than we have for the majority of the season.”