Nimmo's HR in 9th all Mets muster in defeat

Wheeler not same pitcher after 18-minute rain delay in 3rd; Lagares OK after catch

May 16th, 2018

NEW YORK -- When the Mets walked off the field on April 13, winners of nine straight, they knew they could not continue playing with such gusto forever. Defeats would come. Bad streaks were inevitable. But even the foremost pessimists among them could hardly have envisioned this: the Mets' 12-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday ensured they will go five full weeks without winning consecutive games.
"We haven't been able to make the pitching and the hitting click together on a consistent basis yet," said outfielder , whose homer with two outs in the ninth inning provided the Mets' only run. "It's really tough when you're not putting those together."
Their May malaise continued Wednesday amidst cold, wet conditions at Citi Field -- a fitting backdrop for what unfolded between the foul lines. Zack Wheeler allowed six runs in four-plus innings, all but one of them coming after an 18-minute delay to dry out a soggy infield in the third.

The Mets' offense was significantly more modest; a infield hit in the second and a one-out double in the fourth was all they could muster against Jays lefty J.A. Happ, who struck out 10 in seven innings.
All told, the game was the inverse of the Mets' 12-2 drubbing of the Jays on Tuesday, which made it fit in snugly with their monthly tendencies. Since winning nine straight from April 3-13, the Mets have not mustered consecutive victories. For a brief while, they alternated wins and losses, before even that trend began eroding. Since the start of May, the Mets are 3-10.
It is reminiscent of 2015, when the Mets shot out to an 11-game winning streak and one of baseball's best records, only to spend May, June and most of July mired in an offensive slump. Only the promotion of and a series of trades, including a blockbuster deal for , saved the Mets that summer.

But things are different this year for the Mets, who placed Cespedes on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right hip flexor before Wednesday's game and boast a weaker farm system and a more veteran team. The division around them has also evolved, with the Nationals, Phillies and Braves all fielding competitive clubs -- challenges that the Mets remain keen to embrace.
"I just don't foresee this staying this way," Nimmo said. "We have way too much talent. I've played way too much baseball, even in my short lifespan, to know that it just does not stay like this. You end up coming out of it and you end up hitting a hot streak. We're just waiting for that all to click."

Rain, rain, go away: A bizarre scene unfolded in the third inning, when the steady rains that pelted Citi Field all afternoon grew strong enough for umpires to call out the grounds crew. But the tarp stayed furled along the left-field line while crew members used approximately 80 bags of Diamond Dry to dry out the field. All told, play stopped for 18 minutes.
Because the Mets were on offense at the time, it was a much longer delay for Wheeler, who threw some pitches in an indoor batting cage to stay loose. That didn't seem to help much; Wheeler -- who retired nine of 10 batters before the delay, including six strikeouts -- walked the leadoff man in the fourth inning and allowed five of his six runs from that point forward.
"That was a long time sitting down," Wheeler said. "But I don't want to make excuses. My ball was running a lot today, and coming back over the middle. I was good early on, but I sort of fell apart there. I need to do a better job of shutting it down."

New pitch: The final hit that Wheeler allowed in the fifth inning -- a two-run double by -- came on a split-fingered fastball, one of eight he threw in the game. Recently, Mets first baseman approached Wheeler, encouraging him to watch video of Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and other standout pitchers who relied on splitters throughout their careers. Wheeler hopes to incorporate the pitch, which he's thrown about 11 percent of the time this season, more heavily into his repertoire going forward.

"I haven't necessarily had a putaway pitch," Wheeler said. "My slider's been crappy this year, and my curveball's not really a putaway pitch. It is from time to time, but I'm still trying to figure out the split-finger. It's a good pitch for me."
Welcome to the big leagues: With an infield single in the second inning, Guillorme improved to 3-for-3 on the season, becoming the first Mets player to begin a career that way since in 2015. Guillorme made outs in his next two at-bats to snap the streak, finishing 1-for-3 in the game.

Mets outfielder slammed his left big toe into the center-field fence after making an impressive running catch on Gio Urshela's deep fly ball in the ninth.

Visibly shaken up, Lagares stayed in the game. But he underwent X-rays afterward, which came back negative, ruling out a broken bone. The Mets labeled Lagares' injury a sprain and consider him day to day.
"I just hit the wall," Lagares said. "In the moment, I felt like I couldn't run. But now, I feel better."

Despite three off-days in an eight-day span, the Mets have taxed their bullpen in recent weeks. The team will look for significant length from , who pitched only one inning last time out, when he opens a three-game series Friday against the D-backs. The Mets pushed deGrom forward in the rotation because he threw only 45 pitches in that outing. He'll oppose right-hander in the 7:10 p.m. ET game at Citi Field.