I spent all day looking forward to Steven Matz’s first start of the season. Within two innings, I had turned off the game and gone out to get food.
Not to say that the game stayed off for the rest of the night; even in a loss far worse than this one, Gary, Keith, and Ron are more than worth listening to during a blowout. But the constant, endless specter of line drives landing in opposing gloves, bloops falling beyond our fielders’ reach, and popups inexplicably carrying for home runs takes a toll. In my case, the toll was two or three innings of baseball that, to be honest, I didn’t mind missing.
The Mets suck right now; there are no two ways about it. Sure, they’re hitting the ball as hard as ever, and eventually, the six or eight line drives that turned into outs today are going to become hits instead, but purely in terms of numbers, they’re pretty damn bad. Twelve hits in their last three games. Five runs scored, sixteen allowed.
Steven Matz sucked tonight as well. It happens: he looked good enough in the first inning to convince me that he hasn’t completely vanished from this earth yet, and frankly, although the second inning looked bad, he was victimized by a tight strike zone and multiple infield hits of the kind that the Mets never seem to come up with. He didn’t pitch well, but he didn’t pitch blowout-badly.
We rallied a few times, and every time, it seemed, our rallies died on line drives straight to Dee Gordon. The same Dee Gordon who recorded two hits on infield ground balls. Much like Jacob deGrom, you would hope, we’re just not getting lucky right now. Teams go through bad patches. It happens.
But does it, though? I’ve seen bad patches, but I can’t remember every seeing anything like this before, with almost every player in the lineup simultaneously A) striking out every time at-bat and B) smoking the ball every time he swings, but getting ridiculously unlucky. I’m not even sure how it’s happened, and I can only hope that it means we’ve got some luck coming our way when this is over, but for now, we’re just not getting the luck we need.
Don’t call it inexcusable; it’s entirely excusable. Here’s one: all our line drives tonight happened to fly right at Marlins’ fielders. Here’s another: it’s been only six games, and despite popular sentiment of doom, we can still, quite easily, take the final two games of this series, and just like that, be back at .500 and ready to get going again. And here’s another: sometimes, teams play badly. Sometimes, it happens multiple games in a row. Sometimes, you lose three or four or five games in a row, and in many of those times, it’s not the end of the world.
The 2015 Mets lost five games in a row. This was after they’d clinched the division; those games didn’t matter much. The 1986 Mets got swept in four straight before clinching the division; those didn’t matter much either. We’ve hit a rough patch; teams hit rough patches. It’s just something that happens, just as natural as the Marlins or Royals getting luck they don’t deserve, or the ESPN broadcast booth causing severe depression and anger issues in viewers.
And guess what? We’ll get out of it. Even if you’ve used these six games to convince yourself that we’re doomed, that we’re nowhere near as good as everyone thinks, and that our season is already over, we’re not going to lose 100 games. We probably won’t even lose 75, but if you think all is lost, you probably think we will. But we won’t continue losing, especially like this: eventually, our luck will turn. We’ve convinced ourselves before that we were simply done, out of luck and ready to quit, and our luck has always turned.
Hell, maybe it’ll turn tomorrow, when Thor returns to the mound. He’s the kind of pitcher who just doesn’t seem all that affected by whatever general malaise has gripped the team: one high hard one that sends Dee Gordon falling backwards should be enough to get this group going again. It won’t take much: Wright is swinging a hot bat, as is Cespedes, Duda looked more comfortable tonight, Walker is bound to hit sometime, Conforto is better than a .250 hitter, d’Arnaud is a legitimate hitter who hasn’t found his groove yet…even Asdrubal Cabrera will hit. Just give ‘em time; they’ll get the job done.
And no, six games, miserable as they’ve admittedly been, is not nearly time enough.