MIAMI – It’s weekends like these, when the Mets were swept and outplayed all weekend long by the woeful Marlins, that costs people their jobs.
Embarrassing. Pathetic. Listless. Lethargic.
Insert your favorite negative adjective, and it properly sums up the Mets’ weekend in Miami, which ended Sunday with a 3-0 loss.
“It was terrible,” said Mets manager Mickey Callaway, whose seat is hotter than the Miami weather. “We’re better than this.”
All eyes are now on Callaway, and whether he will be the fall man for this underachieving, flawed team that has faded after a hot start for the second time in his two years as the manager.
One Mets source said Callaway is still set to be the manager Monday night against Washington, although in situations like this, plans are always subject to change.
Callaway is not concerned that the sweep may cost him his job.
“No,” the manager said.
This three-game set against the Marlins showcased the flaws of this Mets’ roster, and also may be what ultimately leads to Jim Riggleman or Luis Rojas managing this team.
At a time when the Mets were supposed to fatten up on the easy part of their schedule, they have looked the part of the pushover opponent.
Miami entered this series with only 10 wins –yes, 10 – in 41 games, and they tallied 30 percent of that amount in these three days.
At times this weekend, the Mets (20-25) looked like a team going through the motions, especially Sunday when they forced Sandy Alcantara to throw only 89 pitches in his complete game.
They were beat in just one hour and 59 minutes, and have just three hits over their last 18 innings while failing to score in their last 19.
“Overall, we didn’t have quality at-bats. I don’t think it was lack of concentration or focus,” Callaway said. “We had terrible at-bats and we hit into a bunch of double plays.”
Callaway’s players aren’t even hustling all the time, which is about as simple a task as there is in baseball. Somehow, for the second time this series, veteran Robinson Cano, one of the pricey offseason offseason acquisitions, failed to run out a grounder.
Friday night, Cano thought there were two outs because he claims the scoreboard showed there were two down. The internal cameras at Marlins Park showcased that the scoreboard had the proper outs displayed when Cano was hitting. Whether the scoreboard was right or wrong, Cano did not know how many outs there were at critical juncture in the game.
He then claimed Saturday that he runs hard on every ball.
One day later, Cano hit a ball into the dirt that bounced behind the plate, and then rolled in front of the plate and toward the foul line. Marlins catcher Chad Wallach picked up the ball, fired to second, and the Marlins had an easy double play because Cano didn’t run.
“I see the ball hit, not even the plate, behind the plate and then to the umpire it’s not a foul ball. That was what happened," Cano said. "Thought it was a foul ball.”
Callaway declined to pull Cano from the game, saying it was “common sense” that Cano did not purposely choose to not run.
“I don’t want to say it’s a bad look,” Cano said.
Cano’s lack of effort ultimately reflects poorly on Callaway, just like the team’s shoddy defense. The Mets are the worst defensive team in the National League, which also is an indictment of the team's decision makers who assembled this roster.
The Marlins first run off Noah Syndergaard on Sunday was manufactured in the sixth inning with a bunt that dropped in between Syndergaard and third baseman, J.D. Davis, who hesitated. Curtis Granderson followed with a double play that plated a run.
Syndergaard (3-4) pitched well, allowing just two runs in seven innings, but the Mets hitters failed to take their talents to South Beach and back him up.
The righty offered his support for Callaway.
“As far as the manager goes, I respect the hell out of Mickey,” Syndergaard said. “Mickey has tremendous leadership values, I think it’s bull(crap) what’s gone on now with the speculation there could be a change because we’re still so early in the season. Maybe a small step from putting this all together.”
Syndergaard added that the Mets need to stay positive, pointing to the 2015 team that overcame some early struggles to reach the World Series.
However, a healthy and in his prime Yoenis Cespedes isn’t walking through that door, and this Mets roster has noticeable flaws.
The rotation is not as dominant as it once was, the lineup has regressed and has several underachieving veterans, and the manager can’t find a way to inspire his team.
As Yogi Berra said, it’s getting late early for the 2019 Mets.
“I believe in this group. Same group we left spring training with that we believe in. We have to get these guys rolling,” Callaway said after a fifth straight loss. “I understand everybody is disappointed –fans, ownership, myself, the team, because this is not who we are. ...We have to go out there and show it.”
He added: "It’s on our whole organization. We failed so far to this point, and we have to be better.”