PHILADELPHIA - Following a recent start, Rick Porcello made an observation about the Mets.
They had been beating themselves.
While it stung, Porcello said it also represented some hope for brighter days ahead. In other words: The Mets were not losing because they were overmatched or outclassed. If they could clean up a few mistakes, they would win more often.
It's a reasonable thought.
The issue is that the Mets are still killing themselves. We have not seen them string together multiple days of quality baseball.
The Mets (21-27) lost to the Phillies, 4-1, at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, dropping the opener of a crucial series for two clubs fighting for postseason spots. The Mets trail the Phillies in the stands, and dug themselves a deeper hole with this loss.
Let's go through the situations in which the Mets beat themselves.
With two outs, Alec Bohm smoked a grounder to third base. J.D. Davis, going to his left, dropped his glove down - only for the ball to hit the glove and the glove to fly into the air. Davis quickly turned, found the ball in mid-air and barehanded it before chucking it to first.
Bohm was safe (Davis was not charged with an error).
On the very next pitch, Didi Gregorius took Porcello's 81 mph changeup at the bottom of the zone and launched it over the right-field wall.
Porcello, who is from Chester, knew it was gone, too. Right as Gregorius connected, Porcello crouched and popped back up in frustration.
The Mets, who had trailed by a run, were now down three.
Multiple times, Porcello allowed damage with two outs (more soon on the other situation). Davis, who made a couple good plays at third in this game, might have been partially to blame for the two runs that scored in the fifth. Had he made the play, the inning would have ended.
Porcello had cruised. His counterpart, Jake Arrieta, required 68 pitches to complete three innings. Porcello only needed 43.
In a scoreless game, Porcello continued rolling in the fourth inning. He retired the first two Phillies on groundouts as he looked to get the bats back to the plate.
He then issued a walk. And allowed a double. And walked another.
Suddenly, the bases were loaded for pinch-hitter Adam Haseley. You can probably guess what happened next, as the Mets have been a mix of unlucky and bad this season.
Haseley drove in two runs with a single.
The Mets had made Arrieta work, but hadn't scored. Porcello had dominated to this point.
Yet, the Phillies led.
On his 97th and final pitch, Arrieta hit Andres Gimenez and injured himself. He immediately pulled up and then walked gingerly off the field.
The Mets, down 4-1, had the bases loaded with one out. They faced newly entered reliever JoJo Romero.
This seemed like their opportunity to punch back and tie the game.
Instead, Wilson Ramos, who has struggled this season, hit into a 6-4-3 double play that ended the inning.
An inning later, J.D. Davis hit into an inning-ending double play with a runner on.
On this topic, we could go back to the beginning of the game.
In the first inning, Michael Conforto singled before the next two batters made outs behind him. In the second, the Mets hit consecutive singles but couldn't get a man home. In the third, the Mets loaded the bases before Pete Alonso flew out to end the inning.
The Mets on Tuesday were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base. They collected 11 hits, but only had one run to show.
In the eighth inning, the Mets had runners on second and third with two outs after Scott Kingery's throwing error gave them life. Instead of the inning ending, they had a legitimate shot to claw back.
Gimenez rolled a ground ball to third base, but Jean Segura had to go to his right to field it. Gimenez would have been safe, allowing a run to score.
McNeil, however, had taken off from second. Segura saw this and simply tagged out McNeil at third, ending the inning and a potential rally.
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