Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Handed a three-run lead, Matt Harvey could not record an out in the sixth and Paul Sewald retired one of the eight batters he faced during Pittsburgh's seven-run inning. Pirates rookie catcher Elias Diaz drove in a career-high six runs.
2) Harvey was charged with six runs on five on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts in five-plus frames. Sewald surrendered five runs, five hits and walked in a run, and was saddled with his first Major League loss.
2) Lucas Duda homered twice for the second time this season and drove in three runs. Michael Conforto hit a two-run homer -- his team-leading 14th -- and Neil Walker added an RBI triple, which was played poorly by Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco during New York's five-run fifth. Travis d'Arnaud was the only other Met with two hits.
Post-game reaction from Michael Avallone...
There's not much to be said, believe it or not. The strength of this team coming into the year was pitching, particularly the starters. It's been anything but and it continues to keep the Mets from gaining any sort of traction. Tonight, Harvey looked bad at the beginning, seemed to find himself and then found trouble again. Even given a second chance thanks to a five-run fifth inning, he was unable to record an out in the sixth which helped set the stage for Pittsburgh's seven-run explosion. The bottom line is the pitching -- be it injury, bad luck or whatever you want to believe -- has let this team down night after night.
Sure, I could focus how the Mets' bats went silent after the Pirates delivered their counter-punch, but a team scoring seven runs should A) not lose and B) not even sniff a loss. The Mets are averaging close to six runs per game since the beginning of May...yet they're three games below .500 in that span.
I've commented on Twitter that while I believe the Mets still do have time to turn things around, the days of believing it are pretty much over. I need to actually see it now. The National League is mediocre outside of the expected division leaders and the Mets should be getting key players back from injury...some soon. But here's the issue: since starting the year 7-3, New York has won 16 of its last 43 games, which equates to .372 winning percentage. And that was before any of the injuries really started mounting to help form any sort of excuse. That's not a small sample, and 16 games under .500 is dreadful.
As I said...it's still too early to give up, but it's also way past time to believe a run is coming until I actually see it happen. The Mets keep saying they're a good, albeit streaky team, playing poorly. That just doesn't jive with what we've all seen for the last seven weeks. >> To follow Michael on Twitter, click here.
Highlights from the game...
News and notes...
The Mets' bullpen, which had a 1.52 ERA in the last eight games, is fourth in the Majors in losses (13) and fifth in home runs allowed (29).
Duda has six home runs in his last nine games after the 16th multi-homer game of his career. Over his last 11 games, he's hitting .372 (16-for-44) with four doubles, six home runs, 14 RBIs and nine runs scored. His 118 career home runs are tied for 10th in team history with Ed Kranepool.
Curtis Granderson's second-inning single was the 1,600th hit of his career. He also walked and has hit safely in 16 of his last 21 games, batting .304 (21-for-69) with seven doubles, two homers and nine RBI in that span.
Harvey walked four batters for the fifth time in seven starts. He came into this season having walked four or more batters four times in 92 career starts.
Sewald had struck out 23 batters and surrendered three runs in his last 20 innings (1.35 ERA) before Friday.
What they said after the game...
Terry Collins on Harvey: "I thought he was going to be OK. Then all of a sudden, in inning four, he didn't make pitches. ... We've got to get this guy to a place as we get into the summertime that we feel confident he can get us deep into a game."
Collins on his rotation: "One of the things we've been very lucky and very fortunate to see here in the last couple years…is the consistency of what you're going to get [from your starters]. And right now, it seems like when we start a game, we're not sure what we're going to get. And that's not a real good feeling."
Harvey on his outing and the sixth inning: "We're not going out there trying to give up runs. That's not the case. ... You have to be able to put up a zero and I wasn't able to do that. ... I needed to do a better job."
Losers of three straight, the Mets (23-30) play the second of three against the Pirates (25-31) at Citi Field on Saturday at 7 p.m. on FOX.
Robert Gsellman (3-3, 5.75 ERA, 1.52 WHIP) looks to make it three consecutive solid starts coming off his best outing of the season on Monday against the Brewers. The right-hander allowed an earned run on three hits while matching his career-high with seven innings in New York's 4-2 win. Gsellman has never faced the Pirates
Tyler Glasnow (2-4, 6.95 ERA, 1.90 WHIP) gets the call to face the Mets for the second straight outing. The 23-year-old surrendered five runs and eight hits in five innings during last Sunday's 7-2 loss in Pittsburgh. It was the sixth time in 10 starts that Glasnow allowed at least four runs.