NEW YORK -- Pete Alonso closed his eyes and tipped his head back, the exasperation plain to see on his face. Patrick Bailey had just finished rounding the bases as the go-ahead run in a game the Giants would go on to win, 5-4 at Citi Field on Friday night. A game the Mets once had in hand. A game that turned at least in part on Alonso’s error, which gave him license to feel at fault for all this.
Earlier in the evening, Alonso had snapped his bat over his leg in another outward sign of frustration. Objectively, he knows this does not all fall upon his shoulders. The Mets have lost 46 games this season because they’ve found 46 different ways to lose. Alonso is no more at fault than anyone else on the roster.
But as the losses pile up, so too does the discontent. Finding scapegoats is not as important as figuring out when this team might actually hit rock-bottom. It wasn’t during a sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays to open June, nor during the three crushing losses in Atlanta that followed. It wasn’t during a tough series in Pittsburgh or an ugly one against the Cardinals. The Mets can only hope it’s right now, at the end of June -- a clean calendar break for a team in need of one.
“We’re glad to see the month behind us now,” manager Buck Showalter said.
- The Mets finished June with a 7-19 record, last in the National League. Only the Royals (6-20) were worse.
- It was the fifth-worst June in franchise history, not including the 1981 strike-shortened season.
- The Mets held a lead in 13 of their 19 June losses.
- They dropped 14.5 games in the standings to the Braves, going from 4.0 out to 18.5 back in the NL East. They're one of four teams this decade to drop that far in a calendar month.
- They have not entered July this far out of first place since they were 28 back in 1993.
Add in the context of the most expensive roster in Major League history, and it becomes the type of nightmare that no one in Flushing wants to relive. Yet the Mets are experiencing it night after night after night.
Only the names and details change. Alonso’s error in the eighth inning Friday provided the tinder for another loss, which became official shortly after Bailey hit a three-run homer off Mets closer David Robertson. On a night when Carlos Carrasco pitched passably, Tommy Pham homered and collected three hits and the Mets took leads on three different occasions, the team still could not win.
“I mean, it sucks,” Robertson said. “There’s no other way to put it. We’re trying. It just seems like nothing’s going our way. We don’t get the big outs when we need them. We don’t get the big hits when we need them. We don’t make quality pitches when we need to. There’s a lot of things that are just going wrong.”
Earlier this week, setup man Adam Ottavino put it more succinctly: “Good teams overcome stuff. We’re not overcoming stuff.”
Even Alonso, who once implored Mets fans to believe in the team despite a similar string of failure in 2021, struggled to summon similar optimism on the eve of July -- a time of year when nearly every team is technically still in contention.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Alonso said. “I just want to help the team win. And we haven’t been able to win ballgames.”
For a team that went 0-7-1 in the eight full series it played in June, positive signs are difficult to find. Max Scherzer is pitching consistently -- that’s one. Pham has been a bright spot in the lineup. Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Brett Baty have all emerged from slumps.
“You know, tougher things have been overcome,” Showalter said in his nightly appeal for hope. “I’ll tell you one thing: I wouldn’t doubt these guys. I’ll tell you that. Somebody’s going to make a mistake if they do.”
To date, the Mets have offered little reason for such proclamations to carry weight. But at least there’s this: June is over. July has begun.
At this point, the Mets can’t ask for much more.