NEW YORK -- Whatever good vibes the Mets felt Thursday morning upon learning that Jacob deGrom's right elbow injury was not serious evaporated in the midafternoon sun. By the time the Mets came to bat in the first inning of their series finale against the Braves, they were trailing by
NEW YORK -- Whatever good vibes the Mets felt Thursday morning upon learning that Jacob deGrom's right elbow injury was not serious evaporated in the midafternoon sun. By the time the Mets came to bat in the first inning of their series finale against the Braves, they were trailing by three runs. By the time Matt Harvey entered to a chorus of boos in the fifth, they were down half a dozen. By the time they recorded their first hit off Julio Teheran in the seventh, skepticism was growing that they would get one at all.
The final tally was an 11-0 loss at Citi Field, accelerating the Mets' tumble down the National League East standings and underscoring the areas at issue throughout their three-game sweep to the Braves. Jason Vargas, whom the team signed to be a stabilizing force for their rotation, could not escape the fifth inning. Mets hitters went scoreless for a second straight game, and the relief corps denied them a realistic chance at a comeback, anyway.
As a result, the Mets suffered their second consecutive shutout. Atlanta outscored them, 21-2, in the three-game series. Since waking up April 14 with the Majors' best record, the Mets have posted the second-worst mark in the NL.
• deGrom could make next start after clean MRI
"Things have not gone well lately," manager Mickey Callaway said. "That's part of a long baseball season to have ups and downs. The main thing we have to do is continue to do the same things we did when we were going well, and eventually we'll come out of it."
Allowing multiple first-inning runs for the second straight start, Vargas fell into a hole when Nick Markakis doubled home Freddie Freeman and Kurt Suzuki followed with a two-run homer. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Markakis both homered as part of a four-hit attack in the fifth against Vargas.
"When you're between the lines here, it really doesn't matter -- you can't have an excuse for why things might not have gone right," said Vargas, who fell to 0-2 with a 16.20 ERA. "You've just got to take what comes to you, and then try to get better."
Harvey gave up five more runs in the seventh inning, bloating his ERA in four relief appearances to 10.50.
By that time, the Mets were well beyond striking distance. Teheran retired the first 11 batters he faced in succession, allowing nothing more than a walk before Asdrubal Cabrera doubled into the right-field corner with two outs in the seventh.
"There's nothing you can do," Cabrera said. "We've got to forget about this series, and come back to win another game tomorrow."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Harvey actually retired the first four batters he faced in relief before things fell apart in the seventh. Two walks, a single and a sacrifice fly resulted in a pair of runs for the Braves, who kept the rally going with yet another walk. Albies followed with a three-run homer to center field, on a 94-mph fastball that buzzed through the heart of the strike zone.
All told, Harvey allowed five runs in two innings on three hits and three walks.
"It's been tough," Harvey said. "It's been hard going out there and not being able to help, and do what I know I can do. I've just got to keep working."
Mets hitters went 1-for-10 on offspeed pitches in the game, decreasing their slugging percentage to .267 on such offerings this season. That's second-worst in the Majors, behind only the Marlins. By contrast, the Mets are slugging .428 against fastballs, roughly middle of the pack.
HE SAID IT
"This is part of a long season and that's where processes come in, and routines, and making sure that you're taking care of everything you can possibly take care of, so you can go out there and have confidence whether you're going good or bad. I've seen that from these guys. They're still playing the game the right way. We're just not on the winning side right now. And if we keep on doing that, we're going to be just fine." -- Callaway
Zack Wheeler will make his fifth start Friday when the Mets welcome the Rockies for the first of three games at Citi Field. Wheeler submitted one of his better performances his last time out, striking out nine Padres in five innings of two-run ball. He'll oppose Colorado right-hander German Marquez in the 7:10 p.m. ET series opener.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.