The team with the highest payroll in baseball has underachieved and now sit at 34-41, and a season-worst seven games below .500. Friday’s loss was more of what has brought the Mets to this point: fielding errors, mental mistakes and poor offense.
Francisco Lindor was at the center of it with a fielding mistake that took the Mets out of any chance of making a comeback.
In the sixth inning, with men on the corners and the Mets down just 2-1, reliever Josh Walker got Brandon Marsh to fly out to shallow left field. Lindor had a beat on it and Tommy Pham gave the play to the shortstop, but some miscommunication caused Lindor to back off at the last second and the ball fell between them, allowing a run to score.
The inning would continue and the Phillies wound up scoring three in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
“That one’s on me,” Lindor said after the game. ”I usually tell my outfielders I’m going until I hear. them. I went back, he never said anything. I heard the crowd get louder and louder so I assumed he was getting close. It was on me, I should have taken full charge of the ball. It’s a pop up that I made many times. Today, that one was on me. I should have taken charge of the ball and I take full responsibility for it.”
While not an error, the play was one of those mental mistakes that has plagued the Mets for weeks now. Whether it’s been miscommunication on the field, base-running errors or batter interference, these mistakes have oftentimes cost the Mets.
It’s an odd sight considering how fundamentally sound the team was last season, but no one in the Mets clubhouse could pinpoint why they are happening more now.
“It’s not like we’re doing things differently this year,” Brandon Nimmo, whose error in the first allowed two runs to score in the inning, said. “It’s a new year and some things are standing out more. Not sure what to attribute it to.”
“We’re a much better team than what we’re showing right now,” Lindor said. “I have to do everything better. From my preparation at night, on the field and playing the game better. I’m working as hard as I can, but there’s always room for improvement… Hopefully we turn the corner at some point. We have said it enough times, we just gotta do it. We have to get it done and I put myself on the top of the list.”
The Mets have time to right the ship. The 2023 season isn’t half over, and there are recent examples of teams turning their fortunes around in the second half. But there are problems with the way the team has performed that even the players can’t change.
General manager Billy Eppler and the organization made their first of presumably many transactions on Friday by trading infielder Eduardo Escobar. The veteran infielder was well-liked in the locker room but his performance at the plate left a lot to be desired. And with the emergence of Brett Baty, he became expendable.
Lindor was asked after Friday’s loss if there is fear amongst the players if they don’t play better that more trades are coming and the shortstop was very honest yet optimistic about this team.
“When you don’t play well people lose jobs. I don’t see us as a team that’s going to sell out. I see us as a team that’s going to contend,” he said. “We’re built to be contending. We’re not playing like it right now but we’re built for it. Overall, we gotta do a better job, I have to do a better job. I don’t fear nothing, but we just gotta do better.”
The Mets continue their three-game set with the Phillies on Saturday. New York has had the Phillies number in recent seasons. The Mets were 14-5 last season and swept Philadelphia in late May — the last series the Mets won — before their loss Friday. Perhaps they can unlock something against their division rival.
If things don’t change, however, more changes could be coming by the trade deadline.
Source: Yahoo Sports