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Decline on D contributing to Mets' struggles

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Mets have struggled of late, and not all of it can be attributed to a pitching staff that has the highest ERA in the Majors (5.01).

It's a steep dropoff for a pitching staff that ranked fourth and third, respectively, in the Majors in the same stat in 2015 and '16. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, two of the Mets' three-headed monster that carried them to the World Series in 2015, have career highs in ERA. Noah Syndergaard, the third member, is likely out until August with a torn lat muscle.

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ARLINGTON -- The Mets have struggled of late, and not all of it can be attributed to a pitching staff that has the highest ERA in the Majors (5.01).

It's a steep dropoff for a pitching staff that ranked fourth and third, respectively, in the Majors in the same stat in 2015 and '16. Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey, two of the Mets' three-headed monster that carried them to the World Series in 2015, have career highs in ERA. Noah Syndergaard, the third member, is likely out until August with a torn lat muscle.

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The problems carry over to the defense as well. Per Fangraphs, the Mets rank 27th in the Majors with minus-20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). Six position players who have logged at least 160 innings at a position hold negative DRS differentials -- Jose Reyes qualifies at both shortstop and third base -- and Asdrubal Cabrera's minus-9 at shortstop is the lowest. Meanwhile, four players have positive DRS differentials with that same minimum requirement, led by Lucas Duda's plus-3.

Mets manager Terry Collins acknowledged that his team's collective defense is down compared to a year ago, but he wasn't willing to blame that for the team's poor pitching.

"I'm not going to analyze the playing. ... I've said it before, last year, when the ball was hit to Asdrubal Cabrera, you were out. You were out," Collins said. "I think there are slumps defensively just like there are offensively. This guy has the same approach he's had forever. They don't miss a day doing their defensive drills, they're just not making some plays."

Collins emphasized that the team can't let poor pitching performances dictate how they play in the field. And while it's still early, if the Mets want to climb out of the hole they're in and get back in the postseason picture, it's something they'll need to embrace.

"This is a game that's played by a team, and every individual guy's got to go and do his job. If it means if we give up five, we've got to score six," Collins said. "Last night we gave up 10, looked like in the ninth inning we had a chance to score 11. That's the only way I know to approach the game.

"I don't get deflated. If a guy's having a bad night, someone else has to pick it up. It's just the way the game is at this level. Nobody feels sorry for you, nobody's disappointed that your mechanics are off. Hey look, you've got to grind it out. It's what the game's about."

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas. He covered the Mets on Wednesday.

New York Mets