A bad week got even worse for the New York Mets on Friday. The Mets were blown out by the Pittsburgh Pirates -- the 14-7 final score is deceiving because the Mets scored five runs in the ninth inning to make the game seem closer than it really was -- for their seventh consecutive loss. At 30-34, the Mets are 9.5 games out in the NL East and four games out of a wild-card spot.
New York came into the season with the highest payroll in baseball history and enormous expectations, and to say they're falling short of those expectations would be an understatement. Mets fans waiting for owner Steve Cohen to show his inner George Steinbrenner shouldn't hold their breath, however. Cohen won't fire people for the sake of firing people.
"When things get really bad, I'm not going to blow up," Cohen said. "I don't think that's the proper response. I don't think it solves anything, other than it gives people a one-day story. But it doesn't really solve anything. There's plenty of blame to go around from a performance point of view. So blowing up, I'm not sure it solves anything. It would demonstrate, 'Oh, he really cares. He's one of us.' But the reality is it's not going to solve our problems. And I think in some ways it can be demotivating.
"I'm trying to be thoughtful about this. And not reactionary. Because I've got enough experience, whether in my business or even in baseball now, to know that when things are going great, you are never as great as you think you are, and when things are going really bad, you are not as bad as you think you are. Things can turn around fairly quickly.
Cohen called the seven-game losing streak "sort of unimaginable" but said everyone is on the same page, meaning himself as well as manager Buck Showalter and GM Billy Eppler. Their priority is understanding why so many players are underperforming, from co-aces Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander to lineup stalwarts Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil, and getting them on the right track.
Getting on the right track will be a little more difficult now with Pete Alonso, the MLB home run leader, . He was hit by a pitch earlier this week. The Mets have underwhelmed offensively this season and are short on power even with Alonso. Now he'll miss a month or so. It's just another problem a struggling team must overcome.
The Mets have played 64 games and they only need to look at their own division to be reminded there is plenty of time to right the ship. The 2021 Atlanta Braves were 30-34 through 64 games, and the 2019 Washington Nationals were 29-35. Those clubs rallied to make the postseason and win the World Series. Why can the 2023 Mets? They're not lacking talent.
For now, the Mets are struggling mightily -- this is their first seven-game losing streak since 2019 -- and they are underperforming in every phase of the game. Offensively, defensively, on the mound, you name it. Cohen may not be ready to fire anyone, but if this team falls short of expectations all season, changes are all but certain to be made after the season.