The Mets offered a collective defiant stance and brave words after dropping their fifth in a row Tuesday night.
“We’re just losing. We’re not beating ourselves. We’re coming back, we’re tying games, [but] we just can’t get over the edge. We’re losing baseball games but we’re not doing things that warrant meetings,” Jason Bay said after the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Nationals. The Mets have lost 11-of-12 and fell to 47-50 this season.
“We’re not playing bad baseball,” Bay said. “We’re not winning. But we’re not playing bad baseball. We just hit a rut.”
Last night’s ruts were named Gio Gonzalez and Adam LaRoche. Gonzalez (13-5) limited the Mets to two hits in seven innings. He struck out four and walked two. LaRoche’s two-run, upper-deck home run off R.A. Dickey (13-2) in the sixth inning gave the Nationals an insurmountable 3-1 lead.
The Nationals roughed up Dickey, who lost his first game since April 18. Dickey surrendered five runs (four earned) on eight hits in six innings. Dickey is 1-1 in July with a 6.55 ERA in 26 1/3 innings. He has allowed 39 hits and 21 runs — 19 earned — along with five walks and three home runs.
“I have to make a pitch,” Dickey said of the Nationals’ four-run sixth inning that ended the game for all intents and purposes. “Two outs, the sixth inning and five straight hits. Four runs later, we’re in a hole we can’t get out of.”
What rankles the Mets is that they believe they are close to being the team that ended the first half in contention for the NL East division title or the NL wild card. Bay repeated the theme that the Mets have espoused throughout the losing streak: They’re playing well, just not well enough to win.
“Hopefully you take what you can get from it,” Bay said of the Mets who are 5-13 in July. “‘Yeah, you lost but here’s the positive.’ [But] you can only do that for so long. You just can’t keep losing.”
“It’s tough when things are going on a downward spiral, the tendency is ‘woe is me.’ In order to change it we have to stand up.” Dickey said. He noted that he did not think the Mets were actively engaging in self-pity.
Nor are they publicly stumping for general manager Sandy Alderson to acquire a savior.
“The way we’ve played lately isn’t indicative of a team that is a piece or two away,” Bay said. “We played well early on. Those same guys aren’t doing well right now. I don’t think looking outside and thinking one or two guys are going to [come in] and turn [things] around. If we had been continuing to be on a roll then I think you can look and say, ‘A couple guys can really help push us above.’ The fact is it’s the same guys that we kind of [did] well with here [in the first half].
“These are the same guys that did it in the first half.”
The Mets did make two roster moves yesterday. Lucas Duda and reliever Pedro Beato were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for Matt Harvey and Manny Acosta. The Mets also announced they signed former St. John’s star reliever Craig Hansen to a deal through the 2013 season. Hansen, who has a record of 4-9 with a 6.34 ERA in 95 major league games with Boston and Pittsburgh, will be sent to Port St. Lucie in an attempt to resurrect his career.
Jordany Valdespin set a franchise record with his fifth pinch-hit home run. The eighth-inning leadoff solo shot off Ryan Mattheus cut the deficit to 5-2. It was Valdespin’s seventh homer of the season.
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.