The 10½-game advantage the Mets held on June 1 is a distant memory. The 2 ½ game lead the Mets rebuilt as recently as Friday has been demolished.
With seven games to play – three of which are head-to-head – it’s a clean slate in Eastern Newfoundland. The Mets and Braves are all tied, setting the stage for a dramatic final week that manager Buck Showalter’s Mets wanted to avoid.
The Mets dug a first-inning hole they never came out of and lost 6-4 to the Marlins in front of 29,067 at Citi Field on Tuesday, just their third loss in the last 11 games they lost their division lead .
The Mets and Braves have identical records (97-58) heading into the Mets series finale against the Marlins and the Atlanta series finale at Washington on Wednesday. The Braves, who won on Tuesday, are then expected to host the Mets this weekend, although the timing and possibly location of the series is up in the air as Hurricane Ian is expected to pass through Georgia later in the week.
Carlos Carrasco, who is battling with Taijuan Walker to be the No. 4 playoff starter, entered Tuesday as the top pitcher this month. He began to seriously hurt his argument.
The 35-year-old allowed four runs over three innings — and was likely lucky to limit the damage to four — while giving up six hits and a walk and hitting a batter on 67 pitches.
He loaded the bases in both the first and second innings, although he only got burned in the first. Bryan De La Cruz’s sacrificial fly scored a point and a wild throw brought in a second point.
Carrasco escaped a scoreless second-inning jam by inducing a 1-2-3 double play from Miguel Rojas before running over Brian Anderson.
But his brief good fortune evaporated in the third inning, when a four-seam flat fastball – one of many Carrasco pitches that lacked their usual speed – to Garrett Cooper resulted in a two-run home run. points that hid in right field foul pole for a 4-0 deficit.
Pete Alonso tried to get the Mets back in the game with a three-run homer to left field in the fourth inning, becoming the first Met in franchise history to record multiple 40-home run seasons. But Alonso – who increased his RBI tally to 128, overtaking Aaron Judge (125) as the major league leader – couldn’t do it all.
The Mets struggled the rest of the way against Marlins staff. Pablo Lopez, an otherwise solid starter who had struggled against the Mets this season (11.34 ERA in four starts heading into Tuesday), was excellent in six innings, in which his only error came against Alonso.
The Mets didn’t record a hit until the fourth, which was just one of two innings in which they put a runner in scoring position.
The Mets scored in the eighth in a bizarre sequence in which Jeff McNeil singled and was driven home. First base umpire John Tumpane continually called against left-hander Richard Bleier, and the denial resulted in furious Marlins coach Don Mattingly being thrown out after several minutes of pointing and yelling at the umpires.
Bleir forced Alonso out to end the inning, before the pitcher was also ejected after clashing with the referee team.
While the crowd enjoyed it, the Mets were too buried to enjoy it.
The Marlins had extended their lead against Trevor Williams in the fifth inning, when they charged in from Jacob Stallings, who lined up a two-run single to right center to make it 6-3.
From Carrasco to Williams to Tylor Megill — who pitched a scoreless eighth inning but walked two and lacked control — it was a tough night for Mets pitchers trying to secure playoff roles. .
Only David Peterson, who was also wild, but effective, through two scoreless innings, acquitted himself decently as he vied for a job in the bullpen.
The Mets will turn to Walker on Wednesday, which will present a chance for the right-hander to grab the No. 4 spot in the rotation — and for the Mets to try and reclaim the No. 1 spot in the division.
But the Mets have learned they can’t count on the Braves to lose. If the Mets want to win the NL East, they’ll probably have to beat Atlanta themselves.
New York Post