Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez reacts after the Blue Jays' Matt...

Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez reacts after the Blue Jays' Matt Chapman scored during the third inning of an MLB game at Citi Field on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Maybe the Mets were doomed the moment they chose to allow Kodai Senga to take the mound Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays on short rest (by his standards, anyway). Or was it sticking with the slumping Francisco Lindor, whose weary swing looks as if he’s holding a telephone pole in his hands?

There were plenty of other fateful decisions, too, such as pushing low-leverage reliever Dominic Leone into the heart of the Blue Jays’ order for the seventh inning. Brandon Belt promptly hit a tiebreaking two-run homer for a 6-4 victory that completed Toronto’s three-game sweep at Citi Field.

Even Francisco Alvarez, suddenly appearing more rookie-ish lately, could be second-guessed for flinging a pickoff throw into centerfield, a two-base error compounded by the Mets’ subpar effort to retrieve the ball. That allowed Matt Chapman to score from second on the play.

“It’s a constant chase for having perfection in every phase of the game,” Buck Showalter said. “We know it doesn’t happen, but we’re capable of better.”

Four solo homers, including a pair by leadoff man Tommy Pham — a move that did work out quite well — wasn’t enough. Decisions, decisions. Nothing like a weekend sweep to highlight them all in neon-yellow marker, and with the Mets back down to .500 (30-30), there’s at least one more big one on the horizon for this week’s NL East showdown in Atlanta.

That has to do with the aforementioned Alvarez, as Omar Narvaez — who was packing up in the postgame clubhouse for the trip — is expected to be activated from the injured list for the opener.

Narvaez’s return would appear to be the only given. As for the other two catchers, Alvarez has options, but his monster May should keep him around (not to mention the ringing endorsements from the pitching staff). That would seem to put Tomas Nido (and his $3.7 million contract) in serious roster jeopardy, but the Mets could always punt on that decision by demoting Mark Vientos to make room instead, with Alvarez getting those DH at-bats.


When Showalter was asked before Sunday’s game if they could carry three catchers, the manager replied, “We can carry four. We can do anything.”

For a team desperately seeking offense lately, sacrificing Vientos’ bat for the feather-light-hitting Nido (.125) — if that’s on the table — makes zero sense. Vientos went 1-for-3 Sunday, but he smashed one of the hardest-hit balls off Jays lefty starter Yusei Kikuchi, a 409-foot blast (105.7 mph) that Daulton Varsho reeled in at the centerfield warning track. According to Statcast, it was a home run in 15 of 30 ballparks, including Atlanta’s Truist Park, by the way.

Even on a day when the Mets did clear the wall four times, they were left wanting at the plate, with Lindor (1-for-4, three strikeouts, more boos) again a primary culprit. Alvarez, inexplicably back in the No. 9 spot despite facing a lefty, went 0-for-3, struck out and hit into a double play. That dropped him into an 0-for-11 skid, along with that aggressively errant throw to second.

That’s baseball, of course. These dips happen, especially with rookies. But it was interesting to hear Narvaez’s take when asked postgame for a scouting report on Alvarez.

“He’s coming along pretty good,” Narvaez said. “He still has a lot of things he has to learn.”

How the Mets truly feel about that, and where they believe that education should continue, will be revealed in the coming days. Narvaez said he’s 100% healthy and won’t require any limitations on his usage, but he didn’t make any predictions regarding his playing time.

“I really don’t know,” Narvaez said. “It’s out of my hands. I’m not the one making the lineups.”

Showalter & Co. didn’t have much luck in that department this weekend, and they came up short again on Sunday. Senga sticking around for only 2 2⁄3 innings certainly didn’t help matters,   and it probably wasn’t a coincidence that this was his first try going on MLB-style four days’ rest rather than the NPB once-a-week routine he was used to in Japan.Without the Blue Jays biting on his signature ghost fork, Senga allowed five walks, four hits and four runs, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s homer in the third inning.

“There were a lot of times when their lineup would be taking my off-speed offerings,” Senga said through an interpreter. “There were obviously adjustments I needed to make in-game and I wasn’t able to do that.”

That doesn’t apply only to Senga. The Mets as a whole have to make some serious adjustments for the upcoming Atlanta series. Whether they come up with the right ones or not remains to be seen.

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