Mets’ free-fall reaches new low after crushing loss to Phillies

PHILADELPHIA — The Mets aren’t going to leave town in first place and they shouldn’t count on being in second, either.

A disastrous week for manager Luis Rojas’ crew turned into a full-fledged raging inferno Saturday, when the Mets lineup hibernated for eight innings and woke up just long enough to create drama.

In another underwhelming performance, the Mets totaled six hits in a 5-3 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park that pushed them 1 ½ games behind Philadelphia in an NL East race they had led for three months before losing Friday. After this latest loss the Mets were tied for second with the Braves, who hosted the Nationals later Saturday.

Michael Conforto, Jonathan Villar and James McCann hit consecutive home runs leading off the ninth against Mauricio Llovera before Ian Kennedy got the final three outs, leaving the tying runs on base.

Tylor Megill receives a new ball after giving up a three-run homer to Odubel Herrera during the fifth inning of the Mets' 5-3 loss to the Phillies.
Tylor Megill receives a new ball after giving up a three-run homer to Odubel Herrera during the fifth inning of the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Phillies.

The Mets lost for the sixth time in seven games, a stretch in which they have averaged 2.85 runs. It won’t get any easier on Sunday, when they are scheduled to face a Cy Young award candidate, former Met Zack Wheeler. The Phillies have won seven straight and made it clear they can be the best in this division of disappointments.

The scary part for the Mets is that after three games versus the Nationals at Citi Field, the difficult part of the schedule awaits, with 13 consecutive games (Aug. 13-26) against the Giants and Dodgers, the NL’s first- and third-best teams by record, respectively.

Brad Miller’s second homer of the game, a solo blast in the eighth inning off Yennsy Diaz gave the Phillies a five-run cushion. Conforto, Villar and McCann then peppered the right-field seats in the ninth to get the Mets closer.

After four superb innings, Tylor Megill imploded in the fifth — an inning in which the Phillies sent nine batters to the plate and scored four runs. Miller broke a scoreless tie with a homer leading off the inning and Odubel Herrera’s three-run blast placed the Mets in what had to feel like an insurmountable hole, given the lineup’s woes.

Megill’s unraveling was methodical following the Miller homer. He surrendered a double to Alec Bohm, then retired Ronald Torreyes, before Travis Jankowski walked and Nick Maton flied out. Herrera then jumped on the first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, and cleared the right-field fence.

Megill retired the first nine batters he faced before allowing a double to Herrera leading off the fourth. But the Phillies never got Herrera any closer to the plate. Jean Segura was retired on a pop-up attempting to bunt and Megill retired Bryce Harper before striking out J.T. Realmuto.

Megill’s double in the fifth — his first extra-base hit in the major leagues — was wasted as neither Brandon Nimmo nor Pete Alonso could deliver behind him. Javier Baez’s infield single the previous inning was the Mets’ only other hit to that point.

The Mets wasted an opportunity against lefty Ranger Suarez in the first, when Nimmo and Baez each drew a walk. But Brandon Drury was retired on a comebacker to end the threat.

New York Post

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