Jon Niese and a succession of relievers prevent the Nationals from scoring more runs. This proved academic, since whether they allowed one run or six runs, the Mets still would have lost the game, since their offense, which has completely tanked, scored a grand total of no runs. Apparently, the Mets seemed to feel comfortable putting forth this sort of a performance, because they went out on Sunday and did the exact same thing. Dillon Gee gave up a 1st inning run on a dinky little hit, and then he and Alex Torres did a pair of magical Houdini acts to prevent the Nationals from scoring any more runs, and the Mets offense went out and once again scored a grand total of no runs.
Any questions on where the problems lie with this team? Yeah, I didn't think so.
I suppose you could take some solace in the fact that the Mets have advanced to the point that they can play the Nationals at home and simply lose 1-0 instead of 11-0, which is how things used to go. Their pitching has been that good. But when you allow a team a total of two runs over the course of three games, the odds ought to be that you probably would win all three of them. The Mets only won once, and again, this is in spite of the fact that they actually outscored Washington 4-2 over these three games, but they had the poor foresight to bunch all their runs into a single game. This worked fine on Friday night, but not so much when even half that output would have been enough to best Gio Gonzalez or Doug Fister. Instead, the Mets treated the audience that came out for free Gnomes on Saturday, and free Tote Bags on Sunday to a lot of ground ball outs and hits that came with 2 out and nobody on.
Obviously, it's in stark contrast to how good the Mets offense looked during the winning streak. Logically, we had to keep our optimism in check, I know it's difficult given the period of wilderness the Mets have been in, but this is still a team that has some holes. Some of it, obviously, has to do with the fact that they're playing without two of their better hitters which leaves some pieces of the lineup exposed. Lucas Duda's been hitting, but he's been the only one doing so with any kind of consistency. Daniel Murphy's gone back in the tank. Michael Cuddyer's scuffling. Kevin Plawecki plays like what he is: a guy with 2 weeks of Major League experience. Eric Campbell and Wilmer Flores have gone so far south that they've been benched altogether, Campbell for the returning Dilson Herrera (a move that needed to be made) and Flores probably temporarily for Ruben Tejada (who shouldn't be replacing anyone). In the case of Campbell, it's just a matter of overexposure; he's simply one of those players that isn't cut out to be an every day starter. As a utility guy, he's fine. But as has been the case with players of his ilk, too many ABs tell the true story. Flores, on the other hand, probably hasn't recovered mentally from his error on Thursday, and his defensive woes have bled into his offense. He hadn't been hitting badly (and in fact leads the team in Home Runs with 3), but for a young player such as he is, these things can carry over. Keith Hernandez's stance that defensive slumps don't exist notwithstanding (and it's rather difficult to measure a normal player's defensive ability against someone with a full set of Gold Gloves).
As with most things in Baseball, this too shall pass. An off day today, and another one Thursday sandwiching two games against the Baltimore Orioles should help clear everyone's heads, and maybe a trip down the Jersey Turnpike to Steroid Field I in Philadelphia might help things as well. Hopefully...