With Frantic Stretch Looming, Mets Try to Regroup

With Frantic Stretch Looming, Mets Try to Regroup

After two wins and a rainout against the last-place Miami Marlins at Citi Field over the weekend, Mets Manager Mickey Callaway on Sunday acknowledged he was not out of the storm yet as his team prepared for a six-game road trip.

“We’ve been disappointed in the way we’ve played,” he said. “We need to play better.”

For the middling Mets, who are now 19-20, frustration had built up as they went 1-5 during their previous road trip through San Diego and Milwaukee. Upon returning to Queens on Friday, Callaway met with General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen and the co-owner Jeff Wilpon before players reported to the stadium to discuss how to get the team back on track.

On the field, the Mets responded immediately with an impressive 11-2 victory over Miami, but Callaway knew management’s message was not just about a single weekend.

“I’m not trying to rain on the parade, but it’s one game,” Callaway said. “We have to continue to focus.”

The Mets will get another opportunity to reset as they visit the Washington Nationals beginning Tuesday. Neither team has taken off in the National League East after expressing an expectation to win now. The Nationals are 16-24 and in fourth place, three and a half games behind the third-place Mets.

If the Mets do not right themselves quickly, they know that it will be a long time before they get another breather. Following Monday’s off day, the Mets have a stretch of 20 games in 20 days that will take them to Washington and Miami before button-hooking back to New York and then to Los Angeles and Arizona.

“We’ve got to keep it going,” Callaway said. “We’re better than we’ve shown.”

The problem is not so much that they haven’t shown it, but that they’ve only shown it on one side of the ball at a time: When the Mets have hit, the pitching has been subpar, and vice versa.

But in beating the Marlins, the Mets relied on a grand slam by shortstop Amed Rosario one night and the all-around talents of Jacob deGrom, the National League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner, the next. DeGrom provided support for himself, as well: In addition to allowing one run over seven innings, he posted two hits and drove in a run to win, 4-1. He recognized the need to rebound quickly.

“We had a rough road trip, and we’re out there battling every day trying to win baseball games,” said deGrom, who improved to 3-4. “We weren’t able to do it on the road, so to come out and take two early in a short home stand is a big plus for us.”

DeGrom’s return to normalcy over his last three outings has been a huge encouragement for the Mets. He has surrendered a total of three runs in that span, and his E.R.A. is down to 3.26 after a stretch in which he went 0-3 with a 9.69 E.R.A.

“I had a couple of bad ones in a row, but I wasn’t too worried,” deGrom said.

The Mets’ arms remain the roster’s strength, but there are issues they hope will be sorted out sooner rather than later. Noah Syndergaard will start the series against the Nationals, but he will be followed by Wilmer Font, the pitcher the Mets acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays last week. The left-hander Steven Matz was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday morning, but he remains under close watch with a nerve issue. Jason Vargas, the fifth starter, is on the mend with a hamstring injury after starting to string together solid starts.

Even with the interruptions, the pitchers have started performing more efficiently and aggressively.

“It has stabilized for sure,” Callaway said of his rotation’s performance. “This is the way these guys are capable of throwing.”

The bullpen is also in flux. Reliever Jeurys Familia is scheduled to rejoin the active roster after battling shoulder inflammation. He had struggled to find a rhythm as the setup man before being placed on the injured list. In his previous 10 appearances, he allowed 11 walks over 10⅔ innings while posting an 8.44 E.R.A. In his place, relievers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo have excelled, and Callaway allowed that he would be selective in deploying Familia.

“It’s not that we don’t feel confident in him at that point,” Callaway said. “We do feel like there’s going to have to be a little bit of an easing him back in to fit back where he should in the bullpen.”

Callaway knows he can only be so patient. After his lengthy meeting with Van Wagenen and Wilpon, he was asked if he felt added pressure moving forward.

“No, not at all,” he said. “I already felt that way.”

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