Injury-plagued Mets struggling to find offense

June 15th, 2016

NEW YORK -- The conversation drifted every which direction -- from veterans who might be available for trade, to Cuban free agent Yulieski Gourriel, to the Mets' own cadre of injured players and back again. For more than 18 minutes Tuesday, general manager Sandy Alderson stood in front of television cameras and tape recorders, answering question after question. Nearly all of them hinted at the same sort of thing.

With their offense in pieces, the Mets are going to have to do something.

"Our lineup is what it is because that's what we have," manager Terry Collins said after the Mets dropped a 4-0 game to the Pirates, suffering their sixth shutout in 63 games. "I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. We've got to get it done, and tomorrow night we'll get after it again."

The Mets' lineup is what it is because the team is missing Travis d'Arnaud, David Wright and Lucas Duda, all of whom are on the disabled list, with only d'Arnaud due back soon. On Tuesday, the Mets were also without Michael Conforto, Neil Walker and Juan Lagares, those three nursing minor maladies. Their starting lineup included a trio of players on the Opening Day bench and two who played for other teams.

Afterward, Collins was asked if his offense's shortcomings on Tuesday were due more to those injuries or to Pirates starter Jameson Taillon, a former No. 2 overall Draft pick who made few mistakes.

"If you think I'm going to criticize my lineup, you're talking to the wrong guy," Collins replied. "Obviously, you have to make adjustments, no matter who you face on a nightly basis. Are we doing that? It's hard for me to answer because I haven't had time to really review the at-bats. Obviously, we have a lot of guys hurt, but you have to pick it up and pick up guys who are not in there."

For Collins and the Mets, such comments are becoming a refrain. Since May 1, the Mets rank last in the Majors in runs scored, last in batting average and 27th in on-base percentage and slugging. But they are third in strikeouts, whiffing almost exactly once every four plate appearances.

So yes, Taillon was "very good," as shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera put it. But things have sunk to such a level in Flushing that a spirited crowd of 35,124 all but erupted when Curtis Granderson singled to lead off the seventh, staving off what might have become the Mets' third no-hitter in 166 games.

The Mets simply need more production from more places. And with Duda gone at least until the All-Star break, and Wright possibly out for the rest of the season, Alderson strongly indicated that he'll once again need to look for help outside the organization.

A year ago, facing similar circumstances, the Mets used the acquisitions of Yoenis Cespedes and others to vault to the National League pennant. They may need to dip back into that same magic lamp to do it again.