ATLANTA — Only five teams in baseball have a worse record than the 25-33 Mets, and four of them are in the National League.
If these Mets can come back from such a deficit, they will bring new meaning to the term Miracle Mets.
But you have to make miracles happen. The Mets don’t make anything happen, except finding ways to lose.
It’s going to take much more than the return of Yoenis Cespedes on Saturday to make these Mets whole and successful, especially after the 3-2 loss to the Braves on Friday night at Sun Trust Park. The Mets return home Monday to play the Cubs for three games and then the Nationals for four before heading to the West Coast for a four-game series with the Dodgers and three more against the Giants.
Playtime is over. And, probably, so is the season.
The Mets were walked off by the Braves after a one-out hustle double to center by Dansby Swanson in the ninth as Curtis Granderson took the long way to field the ball. Pinch-hitter Rio Ruiz followed with a single to left that scored Swanson to end the game.
The Mets sure could use the kind of game shortstop Swanson gave the Braves, but their young shortstop, Amed Rosario, remains in Las Vegas for now.
Ruiz’s single was your standard ground ball to shortstop, but the shift was on against a lefty hitter who was just trying to make contact against lefty Josh Edgin.
The Mets lost this game in a way they never seem to be able to win, a hustle double and a clutch single. The Mets’ offense is a home-run-or-nothing offense. They had two solo home runs Friday, one by Granderson and another by Travis d’Arnaud.
Other than that, it was nothing against Julio Teheran and the Braves’ bullpen.
Terry Collins said he could never envision being eight games under .500 at this point in the season
“What’s happened is it just seems like every day it’s something happens that has kept us from getting going,’’ the frustrated manager said. “Be it an injury, be it a hanging slider or something, whatever it might be. We can’t seem to put it together right now.’’
Granderson could have been more urgent on Dansby’s double, but wasn’t.
“It probably caught us off guard a little bit,’’ Collins said.
Noted Granderson: “It wasn’t necessarily getting caught off guard, it was trying to secure the ball. I’d rather secure it with the hopes of keeping him at first base versus making the aggressive play.’’
Granderson played it safe and paid the price as the Braves’ bench went wild over Swanson’s hustle. Swanson also doubled in two runs in the sixth.
The rebuilding Braves (27-32) have a better record than the Mets.
The Mets went into the night tied for dead last in the majors with the Phillies with a 4.98 ERA.
Collins still can’t believe the Mets have pitched this poorly.
When Collins was asked how big it will be to get Steven Matz and Seth Lugo back this weekend, he said: “It’s big if they pitch good. That’s the biggest key, it’s nice to have them back but I’m just hoping they are ready to go. [The Braves] can really hit. We’ve got to pitch well here.’’
On a night when the Mets needed Matt Harvey to excel, he did not allow a run, which was good, but only went five innings, which was bad with a doubleheader staring the Mets in the face Saturday.
It’s amazing that a pitching staff could go south so quickly, but that is the life the Mets are living on the mound.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen’s crew has completely fallen apart — top to bottom — and if the Mets are to make any progress, it will have to start on the mound. But is that even possible with this staff?
The Mets will have to question how they groomed this pitching staff going into the season to avoid future pitfalls. Too many injuries, too many bad plays and setbacks, that is the story of the 2017 Mets.
The Mets keep looking for miracles. They sure aren’t making any happen.