Games News

Mets must get out of .500-area limbo to be true contenders

Twenty-one to go.

The teetering-below-.500 Mets lost one and won one in the split doubleheader Subway Series on Tuesday. The Yankees breezed to a 12-5 victory in the sunlight as the Mets played a ragged first game at Yankee Stadium. In the nightcap, the Mets pulverized unsteady James Paxton for a 10-4 over-and-out victory.

After that first loss, The Post asked Mickey Callaway why his team can’t climb above .500, and he offered this explanation:

“I’ve been with a few teams, whether it is the .500 mark or getting above four games above .500,’’ Callaway began. “There are always these marks that seem to be difficult for teams and then once you finally eclipse them, you can finally take off. I remember us doing that a few times [with the Indians], we couldn’t get above four games above .500 mark and then we rattled off I think 22 in a row [in 2017].

“It’s like that mark, you get up to it and you get knocked back down. But we are not going to give up. We are going to get to .500 and we are going to have to take off at some point, we are just going to keep on grinding away.’’

Those Indians were already 13 games above .500 when they won 22 straight, but Callaway was making a point.

The Mets then went out behind Jason Vargas and got a much needed three-run home run from Pete Alonso, his 22nd, in the first inning off Paxton to shift the momentum — and they were on their way to the split and a 33-34 record.

They need a winning streak. The Mets could use a serious dose of Bill Parcells about now: “You are what your record says you are.’’

The Mets have not been over .500 since May 2. They would have needed to sweep the Subway Series to get over .500.

“We need to be more consistent,’’ said Todd Frazier, who made a critical error in the first game. “If we keep battling, eventually this winning streak is going to happen because take a game like earlier today. We’re up 4-1 and end up losing 12-5. We play a game three hours later and jump on them early, that is just the resilience of this team. I just know if we keep piggy-backing off each other we will get that winning streak.’’

Zack Wheeler gave up nine runs in the first game (five earned) over 4 ²/₃ innings. The Mets’ other pitchers could learn something from Vargas, who throws the slowest fastball in baseball, in the mid-80s. The lefty is onto something, throw so softly the batters have to supply the power for this super-lively baseball to go out of the park.

The Vargas Effect.

Vargas got through six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out three and dropping his ERA to 3.68. Jacob deGrom (3.45) is the only Mets starter with a lower ERA than Vargas. Vargas (3-3) has a better record than deGrom (3-6).

Vargas killed the Yankees softly with his song.

Now the Mets need to deal with reality. Get over .500 and you can consider yourselves a little better than mediocre. Put together a string of victories before you pretend to be in any NL East race.

You are not contenders. You are sub-.500 pretenders. Work your way over .500 and then pick up the pace.

“This [win] was huge,’’ Callaway said. “You kind of get slapped in the face, it’s kind of what we’ve done all year. Sometimes we get slapped in the face early in a game and then we come back at the end. That is who this team is, they are never going to give up. To lose like we did in the first one and kind of get beat around a little bit and then to come out in the second one and do what we did, kind of beat them up, got to give it to the players.’’

It will be at least 42 days until the Mets will be over .500. It always seems to be something.

The first step is to hurdle .500, not teeter under .500. That’s reality.

.

Tags

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close
Close