Are the Mets headed toward Panic City again?
Two years after general manager Sandy Alderson coined that phrase in jest, the 2017 Mets are reeling early, after losing 8-2 to Atlanta at Citi Field Wednesday night, their ninth loss in 10 games to drop to 8-12 on the young season. Manager Terry Collins said after Wednesday’s loss that it was “surprising” his club was in such an early funk, and that the bats have been dormant.
“I thought we were way too good an offensive club to struggle this bad. You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve got to go to work, put your work in, get yourself ready to play,” said Collins.
Asked when surprising might turn to a gloomier feeling, Collins offered a blunt assessment.
“It could happen pretty soon,” he said.
But while the manager sounded a sour tone, second baseman Neil Walker wasn’t ready to put up a white flag. “There is still no panic here,” said Walker in a quiet clubhouse afterward, despite the Mets mustering just five hits on the night and going 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Robert Gsellman, who was originally going to be skipped Wednesday for Noah Syndergaard, got G-shelled in the first inning, giving up five runs (four earned). Gsellman walked Ender Inciarte to open the game and Gsellman didn’t return to the home dugout until after his pitching counterpart, Atlanta ace Julio Teheran, lined out to second to end the inning. It was downhill from there.
“We’ve got a good core. We’ll pick it up,” said Gsellman (0-2). “I’m working hard to pick it back up.” Collins said Gsellman’s velocity was down and his command was off early, which led to a rough outing for the righthander.
Gsellman pitched into the fifth inning, when he gave up another run and failed to record an out before being replaced by lefty reliever Josh Edgin. By that time, most of the 22,819 were heading for the exits.
Met killer Freddie Freeman was originally called out when he tried to score from second on Nick Markakis’ first-inning RBI single to left. But after the Braves (7-12) challenged, the call was overturned. Video replays showed Freeman’s right hand touched the plate just before Travis d’Arnaud’s glove tagged him. Tyler Flowers ripped a three-run double to right to complete the first-inning pounding.
Overall, Gsellman gave up six runs (five earned) in four-plus innings and threw 100 pitches (59 strikes). Teheran, meanwhile, cruised through 6.1 innings, and gave up two runs on four hits and four walks. The Mets scored their first run in the fourth when Asdrubal Cabrera drew a leadoff walk and later scored on a Neil Walker sacrifice fly. Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares singled to open the seventh and scored on a Rene Rivera sac fly for the Mets’ only other run.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Tyler Flowers’ first-inning double. The Braves’ No. 7 hitter tied a career high with four RBI, and he got it started with the three-run double in the first.
Freddie Freeman’s first-inning run. The spindly Braves first baseman challenged Yoenis Cespedes’ throwing arm by chugging home from second on Nick Markakis’ one-out single to left. But Cespedes’ bullet pulled catcher Travis d’Arnaud to the left of the plate, and he had to lunge to tag Freeman. Home plate umpire Cory Blaser signaled out, but the call was overturned after a replay challenge. The Braves went up 2-0 and would add three more runs that inning.
STAR OF THE GAME
Julio Teheran. The 26-year-old Atlanta righthander improved to 2-1, and gave up only two runs through 6.1 innings.
RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 1.73) vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (1-2, 3.86)
10. The number of hits Gsellman allowed Wednesday, which was a career high.
Jay Bruce reached base all four plate appearances – two hits, two walks – but never scored a run.
Curtis Granderson. The rightfielder went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and is batting .141.
QUOTE OF DAY
“It could happen pretty soon.” — Mets manager Terry Collins, when asked at what point does his team’s “surprising” early funk become “worrying.”