NEW YORK — Is it really responsible for the New York Mets to be aggressive buyers at the trade deadline?
Gifted the bases loaded thanks to a pair of walks from Tyler Chatwood in the second inning, the Mets stranded the three runners on a Curtis Granderson popup and ultimately lost to the Colorado Rockies 6-1 Friday at Citi Field.
With their third consecutive loss, the Mets dropped to 53-49. That’s the closest they have been to .500 in a month.
The Mets’ futility with runners in scoring position has reached an epic level. After going hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position Friday, the Mets are hitting .202 (148-for-732) in those situations for the season.
Not only is that the worst average in MLB by far, it’s also historically bad. No team has finished a season with such a poor performance with runners in scoring position since the 1969 San Diego Padres hit .201 during a season in which they went 52-110.
The Mets’ average with runners in scoring position is actually the worst mark in franchise history for a season, below a .204 mark in 1968.
For the Mets, it’s basically either home run or bust. That again was the case Friday as James Loney‘s second-inning homer accounted for the team’s lone run.
Manager Terry Collins acknowledged that the run-producing futility has put undue pressure on the Mets’ pitchers.
Steven Matz (8-7) proved the hard-luck loser this time. Matz did surrender 10 hits and a walk in six innings, but he also limited the Rockies to two runs and departed with the Mets trailing 2-1.
And that brings us to the trade-deadline topic. Although they are interested in Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who is under control through next season and therefore makes sense at the right cost, the Mets’ primary objective has been relief pitching, perhaps on a rental basis.
And the question then arises: Is acquiring any rental player by Monday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline really a responsible course of action?
Pending the outcome of the Washington Nationals’ late-night game at San Francisco on Friday, the Mets have dropped a season-high-matching seven games out of first place.
And while, yes, the Mets did once witness a team overcome a seven-game deficit with 17 games to play, the odds that the Mets will reach the postseason via a division title are becoming slimmer and slimmer.
As for the wild card, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Miami Marlins on Friday night to drop the Mets 2½ games out of a playoff position.
The Mets still have 60 games remaining in their season. But the ineptitude with runners in scoring position will not be remedied by one acquisition.
What’s next: Bartolo Colon will pitch on short rest as the Mets try to snap their skid. Colon (9-5, 3.35 ERA) opposes left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (6-7, 5.70) on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. ET. The Mets will retire Hall of Famer Mike Piazza’s No. 31 in a pregame ceremony.