Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Cardinals was difficult to swallow, especially since the Mets are now 2-4 on this road trip -- 4-7 during their last 11 games -- and have dropped three consecutive series.
Closer Jeurys Familia has blown three of his last five save opportunities. The thing is, had Juan Lagares not lost Jose Martinez's fly ball in the sun, the Mets win the game, 3-2. Instead, Tommy Pham scored to tie the game, Paul Sewald ran out of gas in the 13th inning and the Mets eventually lose.
Familia has not looked consistently sharp this entire season. There have been games when his sinker and slider are heavy late and getting the exact out he wants. Then there are games when he starts hanging pitches and needing his fielders to be on point.
Unfortunately for Familia, his fielders have been a collective mess the last few days. In particular, the team has committed four errors in the last two games. To be fair, some have occurred on difficult plays, but they're plays that were being made earlier in the season, so the defense is capable of completing them.
Both Todd Frazier and Amed Rosario were eaten up by hard, awkwardly hit ground balls on Thursday; Yoenis Cespedes couldn't catch up to a fly ball that dropped on the left field foul line; and Lagares, who is typically a vacuum cleaner in center, lost a ball in the sun. Literally, had the day of the game been different, or the time of sun rise, or an extra cloud, and Mets fans are most likely having a different conversation this morning. But in the words of John Sterling: "That's baseball, Suzyn."
However, while things feel bleak, there should be hope on the horizon.
The Mets are about to begin a three-game series in San Diego against the struggling Padres (9-17), who have actually played worse this season at home than on the road.
To help the situation further, Jacob deGrom, who has a 2.53 ERA, has limited opponents to a .214 batting average and has 40 strikeouts in 32 innings, will start the first game against the Padres, who have been striking out at a record-setting rate this season (273 times in 26 games), are hitting .221 as a team and are averaging just 3.8 runs per game.
Afterward, the Mets return to Citi Field for six games against the Rockies and Reds.
The last 11 games have been disappointing given the team's 11-1 start. However, win the majority of these next 12 games, which is a reasonable goal, and the Mets roll in to Philadelphia on May 11 with 25 or 24 wins and roughly 25 percent of the season behind them.
This is more than fine, way better than expected when leaving St. Lucie. So I'll take it.
By the way, Bobby Valentine, John Harper, Bob Heussler and I will be talking Mets on Monday, May 14, at the Fairfield Theatre Co. helping to raise money for The Bridgeport Field of Dreams Foundation...
The event will include a live panel discussion, audience Q&A, meet and greet, and raffle prizes, which includes Mets memorabilia, game tickets and more.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!