LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig was never really the problem, the Mets clarified Thursday afternoon. Sure, Puig irked them with his slow trot around the bases Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. But when asked about Puig the following day, Mets manager Terry Collins echoed the more pressing sentiments of his clubhouse
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig was never really the problem, the Mets clarified Thursday afternoon. Sure, Puig irked them with his slow trot around the bases Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. But when asked about Puig the following day, Mets manager Terry Collins echoed the more pressing sentiments of his clubhouse when he said: "How about us hitting the ball over the stinkin' fence?"
The Mets were frustrated; they freely admitted it, and no amount of vigilante justice against Puig was going to change that. Their goal was to exact revenge the old-fashioned way, with a much-needed victory Thursday to stanch their three-game losing streak. Instead, the Mets allowed three more homers and a pair of bases-loaded walks in a 6-3 loss to the Dodgers, who swept them in four games at Chavez Ravine for the first time since 1979.
"That's one thing we have never done here in years," Collins said. "We don't walk guys and we don't give up a lot of home runs. And right now, we're doing both."
All told, the Mets allowed 15 homers in four games at Dodger Stadium, their highest total in a single series in franchise history. Two came off starting pitcher Steven Matz, who said he was stunned to see Enrique Hernandez redirect his first-pitch, outside-corner curveball over the fence.
"We've just got to leave it behind us," Matz said. "We can't change the past now."
Added shortstop Jose Reyes: "We know the way we're playing right now, it's not the way that we're supposed to play. I feel like we're better than that."
Unless the Mets right things dramatically in the coming days, they will enter the All-Star break with a losing record, far removed from the playoff picture. They jetted away from Los Angeles early Friday morning a dozen games out of first place in the NL East, and 14 1/2 back in the Wild Card -- trailing seven teams.
Even a miracle run such as those the Mets engineered in 2015 and '16 might not be enough this time around. And those followed splashy trades for Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce; the Mets are unlikely to add to their roster in such a meaningful way this summer.
To the contrary, every loss makes the Mets increasingly likely to sell at the Trade Deadline. With another year of team control on his contract, lefty specialist Jerry Blevins would fetch a significant haul, as would setup man Addison Reed. Bruce, Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson, Asdrubal Cabrera and Reyes can all be free agents after this season, making them potential trade bait.
It's hardly the situation the Mets expected to be in when they broke Spring Training as one of the National League's marquee contenders. Injuries to stars such as Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia haven't helped. But the Mets also haven't taken advantage of the few opportunities they've had to work back into contention.
As if to prove the point on Thursday, they put the tying runs on base in the eighth inning against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, only to watch Michael Conforto pop up in foul ground. The Mets did not threaten again.
"Every time we seem like we get something going, something spins in the wrong direction," Collins said. "Nobody feels sorry for us, but the realistic part of it is things are happening that are out of our control. Yeah, it beats on you. We love our fan base. We're trying to give them something that's fun to watch, and compete. And every time we think we've got it going, something's come up to bite us."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.