After the Mets' 4-1 loss at the hands of the Chicago Cubs on Thursday night, a series sweep that brought New York's skid to six games, manager Mickey Callaway put the latest result into perspective.
"Things have snowballed," Callaway said. "That's six in a row. That's a big snowball. We've got to start (Friday), get a win and start the snowball in the opposite direction."
The latest defeat for the Mets (67-66, 13.0 GB in NL East, 5.0 GB for second Wild Card) marked the first time since they were swept in consecutive series since their May 31-June 6 stretch last season.
Mets ace RHP Jacob deGrom (8-8) went 7.0 innings for his third straight start, striking out seven and yielding five hits, but he allowed a pair of home runs to 1B Victor Caratini and the three-run gap was all the Cubs needed.
On the other side of the spectrum, LHP Jon Lester (11-9) logged 6.0 innings with four strikeouts to three walks, surrendering one run while the Mets managed five hits -- an area Callaway saw the need to improve after his team stranded eight runners.
"We have to have more traffic," he said. "The traffic we got tonight against Lester was all, basically, with two outs. We get two outs and we get a couple guys on and then you have to get a hit -- and we didn't. If we get a hit in one of those spots, maybe we have a chance to put a second run on the board and build some momentum. But it comes down to baserunners. We've got to have more baserunners, we have to have more chances. And when we have those chances, we've got to knock them in."
Mickey Callaway on the offense over the past six games:- SNY (@SNYtv) August 30, 2019
"We have to have more chances and when we have those chances we have to knock them in" pic.twitter.com/qS08Ebukwj
Through the highs and lows of the Mets' streaky past two weeks, which included last Thursday's three-game sweep against the Cleveland Indians, Callaway has seen some constants in the lineup.
Callaway cited LF J.D. Davis, 1B Pete Alonso and C Wilson Ramos -- whose career-best hitting streak actively remains an MLB-best 22 games -- among the Mets' consistent hitters.
Elsewhere, though, the Mets' contributions have come and gone.
"Nothing stands out to me, like, 'Oh, we're having terrible at-bats,'" Callaway said. "J.D. Davis is hitting three homers in three games, Wilson Ramos continues to kill the ball. And during this streak, Alonso's hit some big homers. It's just we're not putting it together as a team, for whatever reason. But I don't think the at-bats have been terrible terrible. It's just we're not syncing it all up to where it ends up in runs. It's kind of spread all out where there's a couple runs in between, you're not getting stuff going and keeping the wheel in motion."
With the start of their six-game road trip on deck in three-game sets against the Philadelphia Phillies (69-63, 10.5 GB in NL East, 2.5 GB for second Wild Card) Friday through Sunday and Washington Nationals (74-58, 5.5 GB in NL East, 2.5 GA for first Wild Card) Monday through Wednesday, the Mets have to turn the page quickly.
"Like I've said all season, we've got to continue to grind it out," Callaway said. "These guys can do something special. I know they believe that. They show it every day. Even when we lose, they don't give up. I definitely believe it, our front office believes it and the 40,000 fans out there -- I think they believe it, too. So we're going to continue to push and push and push until the end and see where we're going to come out."