Mets feeling the urgency to get Mendoza first win

New York drops third straight after Megill departs with shoulder soreness

March 31st, 2024

NEW YORK -- The Carlos Mendoza era is off to a slow start. The Mets lost again to the Brewers on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field -- this time by a score of 4-1.

To make matters worse, the skipper had to watch the game from his office. He was suspended for a game after his reliever, Yohan Ramírez, received a three-game suspension and an undisclosed fine (both of which he is appealing) for intentionally throwing at Brewers first baseman Rhys Hoskins during Saturday’s 7-6 loss.

With Mendoza unavailable, bench coach John Gibbons managed for the first time since 2018, when he was at the helm with the Blue Jays. He learned around noon that he was going to take the reins.

“I’ve done it for 10 years. I didn’t think much of it, to be honest with you. I’ve been through it,” Gibbons said. “Naturally you get butterflies. I had butterflies Opening Day as a bench coach, too. It would have been nice to get a win. Hopefully, [Mendoza] doesn’t get suspended anymore.”

After the game, Gibbons announced that starter left the game with a sore right shoulder. Megill went to get a precautionary MRI, and the results were not known as of Sunday evening.

Megill let the Mets know that something was wrong with the shoulder after allowing two runs -- one earned -- in four innings. He would have gone back to the mound for the fifth inning had he felt healthy.

“He felt discomfort. Something was out of the norm,” Gibbons said. “That’s why he came out.”

New York is 0-3 to start the season. It’s the first time since 2014 that the Mets have lost their first three games. They begin another three-game series against the Tigers on Monday night.

“It’s definitely not ideal. … We’ll just get right back at it tomorrow,” first baseman Pete Alonso said. “Honestly, we just need to keep playing hard and come ready to go tomorrow.”

The Mets have more than just one problem on the field. First, the starting pitchers haven’t given the team length. Only Luis Severino gave New York five innings, but he was hit hard on Saturday, allowing six runs on 12 hits.

The team has also had problems in the batter’s box, going 20-for 99 (.202) over the series. Take Sunday’s game: the Mets’ best chance to make noise came in the fourth inning, trailing 2-1. After two quick outs, New York loaded the bases against Brewers right-hander Colin Rea. But Rea escaped the jam when Omar Narváez flied out to right fielder Jackson Chourio to end the threat. Overall in the series, the Mets went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

“They shut down our offense a couple of those days,” Gibbons said. “We did hit some balls hard, especially [Brandon] Nimmo and a couple of other guys. We had nothing to show for it. But that’s baseball. Three games to start the season. It looks worse to start a season. That’s part of it.”

Gibbons doesn't feel that anything needs to be fixed after just three games.

“We have a good ballclub. We like our ballclub. … We're better than that,” he said. “We’ll just move on tomorrow.”

But the Mets still need to get that first victory for Mendoza.

“I want to win for the New York Mets and definitely for Carlos. You want to get the first one out of the way for him,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. “We all try to win for each other here. From 1 to 10, it’s a 10. We have to have a sense of urgency to play for each other … and the organization. It’s going to be good to get the first win out of the way.”