Among the myriad issues that have risen to the forefront during the Mets’ annual second-half fade has been their inability to win at Citi Field.
Despite an overall 26-28 record at Citi Field this season, the Mets entered last night’s game against the Marlins having lost eight straight at home, including seven in a row following the All-Star break. Dating back to July, the Mets have only won 3-of-11 games at Citi Field.
“You want to win for [your fans]. That’s why we take the field each and every night,” Terry Collins said during an expanded pre-game press conference prior to the Mets’ 13-0 loss to the Marlins Wednesday night. “You want to have a good feeling when you come to the ballpark every day. Guys were talking about it the other day. We have to reclaim that fun, that air of confidence when you walk in the clubhouse that we’re going to win.’”
What makes this season’s home freefall so disconcerting is that Citi Field was one of the few positives in the last three years for the Mets. Although the Mets compiled an overall record of 226-260, they went 128-115 at home.
So what has gone so drastically wrong in such a small window of time? It is a combination of the Mets’ inability to make a clutch play while hosting the Dodgers and Nationals — along with the Cubs and Marlins — during the eight-game stretch. The collective record of those four teams is 219-220.
The Mets have been outscored 65-22 in the eight games, although two games were blowout losses in extra innings.
“I told them, one of the last meetings we had, ‘Find me a game the last few weeks we’ve been blown out of. Find me one. There isn’t any. We’ve been in every game. We just haven’t done the little thing to get us over the hump.’ So that’s what I told them. I know losing’s not fun, but what we’ve got to do is grind it out and eventually come up with the big play or the big hit or the big pitch. That’s what the game’s about at this level. We’ve stayed in game after game after game and had many opportunities to win some games,” Collins said.
“When you’re in the situation, you have to only look at yourself. But we’ve played some pretty good teams, too. They’re playing pretty [well],” Collins said. “So you realize when you take the field that you have your work cut out for you because the team on the other side wants to win, too. It’s not always our fault that we lost.”
The culprits in Wednesday night’s loss were Chris Young (3-6) and Giancarlo Stanton. Young was pulled after being pounded for seven runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Much of the damage inflicted upon Young was done by Stanton, who finished 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs, four RBI and two runs scored.
“It’s tough. You don’t want to get your butt beat like this,” Young said. “[My plan of attack] wasn’t well executed tonight. Wasn’t well executed. It’s just frustrating.”
It has become increasingly obvious in recent weeks that the Mets will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season, in part due to not winning games at home. The manager acknowledged the obvious when it was suggested teams that win two-thirds of their home games and half of their road games set themselves up to be postseason contenders.
“You play .500 on the road, most of the time — if you’re a good team — you’re going to have a good home [record] because you hit last,” Collins said. “That’s how you win championships by having that .500 road record and that .700 home record.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.