Mistakes holding Mets back as tough June continues

June 24th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- The first popup struck 's glove and fell to the turf. The second popup fell between and Tommy Pham, with the same result. They were routine plays that ended anything but routinely.

Combined, the dropped pops cost the Mets all five of the runs they allowed Friday in a 5-1 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. They also represented a continuation of the sloppy play that has dictated results during New York’s stretch of 14 losses in 18 games.

“We’re a much better team than what we’re showing right now,” Lindor said.

Yet this sort of play is becoming a trend. Nightly, the Mets have found themselves committing defensive errors, making mental mistakes, recording outs on the bases and more. Because they have not been hitting or pitching well as a team -- they recorded just three hits all night against former teammate Taijuan Walker on Friday -- each mistake has carried outsized weight.

“I’m not really sure what to attribute it to,” Nimmo said. “Sometimes, that happens over the course of 162. But it has been happening more often than last year, and I don’t really have an answer as to why that is.”

Nimmo’s error, his first since 2021, was the result of what he considered a poor jump from his position in center field. As he approached the popup that Kyle Schwarber hit, Nimmo debated sliding or staying on his feet. Ultimately, he chose the latter option, but the ball glanced off his glove as he reached it.

Lindor’s mistake came in listening to the crowd as he and Pham converged on a Brandon Marsh pop fly in the sixth. In the moment, because fans had increased the volume of their yells, Lindor believed Pham was close enough to make the play. But Pham never called Lindor off, leaving the shortstop to regret his passiveness.

“It was on me,” Lindor said. “I should have taken full charge of the ball.”

It doesn’t help that Mets pitchers compounded both mistakes, as they have made a habit of doing in recent weeks. After Schwarber’s ball glanced off Nimmo’s glove in the first inning, Kodai Senga uncorked a wild pitch, walked two batters, and allowed an RBI single and a sacrifice fly. Both runs were unearned, as neither would have scored had Nimmo made the catch.

Marsh’s ball technically went down as an RBI single, because nobody touched it before it hit the turf. That added an earned run to Senga’s line, then another when Trea Turner subsequently hit a two-run single off Jeff Brigham.

“Mistakes happen,” Senga said through an interpreter. “If I’m able to recover from that and hold them to a zero, I know that gives the team another boost. That’s the type of pitcher I strive to be.”