Lately, it seems the only thing the Mets excel at is finding ways to lose.
Shaun Marcum had his first quality start as a Met, going 6.2 innings allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while walking one and punching out three. He threw 96 pitches, 65 of which for strikes, however fell to 0-4 on the year in easily his best effort for the Amazin’s this season.
After matching goose eggs with the Cardinal’s young phenom Shelby MIller, things got rocky in the bottom of the fourth. With Matt Holliday on first and two out, Jon Jay roped a double to Mike Baxter in right that went to the wall. Seeing that he didn’t have a play on Holliday, who came around to score, Daniel Murphy threw to third and pinned Jay in a run down. Apparently giving up, Jay stood almost still in front of Wright for a routine play to tag him. Wright went to lay the tag on, but dropped the ball. As it skidded into the infield, Jay was able to safely make it to third base, costing Wright just his third error on the year. Tony Cruz would follow up with a knock to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
Looking overmatched at the plate, the offense was completely anemic against Miller who did not have his best stuff today. He held the Mets off the board through 5.2 frames before being relieved by Randy Choate for the last out of the sixth. In the seventh against Seth Maness, John Buck got himself on base with a one out single, setting the table Rick Ankiel. On the seventh pitch of the at bat with a full count, Ankiel took a 90mph sinker deep to center to tie up the ballgame at two. Maybe the Mets luck is finally starting to turn around right?
Wrong. In the bottom half of the frame, Marcum got the first two outs but got himself into trouble with runners on first and third. After which he was lifted for this year’s go-to lefty, Scott Rice. Rice came on to face the former-Met Ty Wigginton, and on the first-pitch of the at-bat, threw a breaking ball that careened off John Buck and to the backstop, scoring the lead run in Daniel Descalso.
After the end of the seventh, the life was sucked out of the Mets. Carlos Beltran walked to lead off the eighth. Matt Holliday grounded into what would be a routine double-play, but the throw from Murphy sailed into the home dugout, allowing him to go to second. Allen Craig would also be walked to create a nice opportunity for Yadier Molina, who came through with a base hit to drive in the insurance run and make it 4-2.
After the wild pitch from Rice, the offense showed little fight as they went down 1-2-3 in both the eighth and ninth to end the game.
John Buck had a nice day at the plate, but a horrible one on the basepaths as he was doubled off on a Ruben Tejada liner that was caught, then made a boneheaded steal attempt, resulting in the slow-footed backstop being picked off at second. That plus the key wild pitch, and it was overall a night to forget for Buck.
The Mets just aren’t playing good baseball, it is as simple as that. They are giving opposing teams extra outs with sloppy D and giving away at-bats with an inept lineup.
Two positives to take away from this one however was the encouraging start from Marcum, and the solid offensive effort by Rick Ankiel.
The Mets have now lost six-games in a row for the second time this season and are 8-18 in their last 26 games. They now have the third worst record in baseball at 14-23, nine games under .500. Only Houston and Miami are worse.
Jonathon Niese (2-4, 5.93 ERA) opposes right-hander Adam Wainwright (5-2, 2.30) in the series finale on Thursday at 1:45 PM. The Mets look to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Cardinals which last happened in 1982 when Keith Hernandez played for St. Louis.