Outside of Pete Alonso breaking the Mets single-season record set by Todd Hundley (1996) and Carlos Beltran (2006) for most home runs by hitting his 42nd of his rookie season on Tuesday night, the Mets offered nothing to celebrate.
They played uninspiring in their 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in a battle of two wild-card contending teams. They extended their losing streak to four games.
They could not get the big hit by stranding five men on base. They failed to get Michael Conforto home three times after he started the second inning with a triple. Conforto also butchered on defense a couple of times that helped the Cubs score some of their runs in the game. They scored only 10 runs in the last 46 innings.
But what stood out the most was Marcus Stroman failed to give the Mets a lift that they needed the most. His body language left so much to be desired. He could not go deep in the game. He struggled facing the Cubs the second time around in the game.
The relatively new Met finished the night by giving up four runs on six hits in six innings while striking out seven. He also gave up a couple of two-run home runs to Addison Russell and Javier Baez.
As Stroman would wear on his T-shirt, hype doesn’t measure heart. At least on that night for him.
Good for him that he admitted he should have done a better job.
If the Mets are going to be a playoff team, Stroman has to do more than what he did last night. With Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz being so inconsistent and mediocre, he can’t afford to put on a performance like he did against the Cubs. They need dominating starts from him like he usually does. This is a staff built on him and Jacob deGrom to win every fifth day.
He has to be a stopper when it’s his turn to start. Tuesday night should have been the night after the Braves swept the Mets over the weekend.
In his five starts as a Met, he pitched to a 4.91 ERA to go with him giving up five or more hits in four of his five starts, and he struggles to face hitters second time around when he starts by constantly nibbling around the plate. It showed against his first home start against the Washington Nationals and Tuesday night. He has been okay at best if we are being honest.
Okay won’t cut it for the Mets fighting for their playoff lives. Not when the Mets acquired him to show they were serious about winning.
When Alonso homered to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, Stroman should have stepped up even more in pitching with a lead. His intensity should have been ratcheted up. He should have been zoned in. Stroman mentions he feeds off the energy from the crowd. With Alonso homering and taking a curtain call, this is where Stroman had to take charge.
Once he gave up a two-run home run to Russell in the fifth inning, he had nothing after that. The Cubs took at-bats against him, and he imploded. When he gave up another two-run home run to Baez in the sixth inning, it was all over for him and the Mets.
The Mets lost because of him.
The former Blue Jays ace has to get better as the game goes on. For some reason, it hasn’t happened for him as a Met yet. He has no answers to that other than he has to keep working.
With the Blue Jays, it wasn’t a problem for him, so this is surprising in that aspect.
The last thing the Mets want to hear is that it’s a mental roadblock. This isn’t a rookie finding his way. Pitching is pitching. It shouldn’t matter if he is in a new league. If anything, pitchers should have an advantage over hitters because hitters don’t know much about Stroman.
The former Blue Jays ace still has time to show he can be the guy that has an impact on the Mets in the NL Wild-Card race, but it’s getting late. If the Mets don’t have a good week this week, they may be out. Their margin of error is slim being that there are many teams contending in that race.
That’s why Tuesday night was disappointing for him and the Mets.
Stroman came up lame at the worst possible time.