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Veteran Mets not getting caught up in 0-4 start: ‘Know we’re better than’

On one side of the clubhouse, a few hours before Tuesday’s game rained out, a few veterans faced off in a game of pool.

On the other side, several players were shooting baskets on a hoop that Francisco Lindor helped popularize.

If the fans were tense, the players were relaxed.

Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor looks out of the dugout during the eighth inning of their loss to the Tigers. Noah K. Murray-NY Post

A mostly veteran Mets club is accustomed to the fickle nature of baseball. Teams go through runs and ruts.

That the Mets got off to a slow start — still searching for their first win in the fifth game of the season, a search that will be extended for at least another day — was noted and not appreciated, but it didn’t There was no trace of panic yet.

“I’m sure no one’s happy,” Adam Ottavino said before a Mets-Tigers game at Citi Field was canceled due to an unrelenting storm. “But at the same time, there are a lot of baseball games, so I don’t think we can worry too much about it. We must forget that. »

This is the sixth time in the organization’s history that it has lost the first four games of its season and the first since 2005, when the Mets finished 83-79. The Mets lost at least the first four games of every season from 1962 to 1964, all of which ended in 100 losing years.

A bad start isn’t always a bad omen, as demonstrated by the 2023, 0-4 Phillies (who reached the NLCS) and the 2021, 0-4 Braves (who won the World Series).

But after a disappointing 2023 season that led to the firing of Buck Showalter and a regime change, the Mets wanted to start the David Stearns/Carlos Mendoza era on the best foot — or at least with a win.

Instead, the offense has been largely non-existent and has scored one or zero points in three of the first four games.

The starting pitching was disappointing with the exception of Sean Manaea. The defense — which was considered a strong point — faltered, and the bullpen couldn’t make up for the defensive miscues in Monday’s loss.

Every sector of the Mets disappointed at the end of March and at the very beginning of April.

“You hate going through this. You hate to see that, especially the way we play,” Mendoza said. “They know – they know we’re better than that. But at the same time, this is not the first time that they (experience) this. It happened to be the first four games of the season.

“I’m pretty confident that the guys we have in this room are going to turn things around very soon.”

But not immediately, with rain falling across much of the Northeast on Tuesday and expected to continue through Wednesday. The Mets may have to wait until Thursday to face the Tigers again, a team they aren’t expected to see for the rest of the season, so the make-up days would be tough.

Mets relief pitcher Michael Tonkin reacts Monday during the 10th inning of the Mets’ loss to the Tigers. Corey Sipkin for NY POST

This Mets team should be used to ups and downs.

The Mets’ average hitter age through four games was 29.7, the second oldest in MLB over that span. The Mets pitcher’s average age through four games was 31.8, also the second oldest.

Maybe younger teams would struggle more with a slow start, but veteran leaders such as Lindor, Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo have been here before.

“We lean on everyone,” said Zack Short, a first-year player for the Met but fourth year in the major leagues. “It’s not like we’re in the dumps, but there’s obviously a sense of urgency.” You need to get off to a good start in April or things could go south.

DJ Stewart had a tough time getting out for the Mets. Corey Sipkin for NY POST

“But there are a lot of veterans in this clubhouse who have been through much worse. …We’re going to get one.

Showalter’s ’23 Mets won their first game and got off to a 13-7 start before injuries and underperformance began to take hold.

Short’s first three seasons were spent on Tigers clubs that all finished below .500.

The reserve infielder felt a sense of acceptance of defeat. The expectations for the Mets are higher and so he now sees a team that isn’t panicking but isn’t happy either.

“Last year we lost nine games in a row in Detroit, and we don’t get discouraged, it just makes it worse,” Short said. “It’s not like you’re running away from reality. But it’s a new day. You have a new game.

“It’s hard especially to lose four in a row to begin with. But if we win four times in a row, we’re back.

New York Post

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