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Mets Stretch Off To Bad Start

Bill Menzel/ Latino Sports

Flushing, NY -The Mets faced a test Friday night at Citi Field and the first of 13 straight games with the NL power houses known as the Dodgers and Giants. And when this test is over more should be known if the Mets will be playing important baseball down the stretch.

And on a day when their ace Jacob deGrom had another setback, with possibilities of not taking the mound again this season with inflammation of the right elbow, the Dodgers proved they were a better team with a 6-5 win in 10-innings.

But the Mets rallied again as they have many times this season. They overcame a four run deficit in the seventh inning. A large contingent of Dodgers’ supporters in the crowd of 38,395, largest at Citi Field this season, know there is a distinct difference.

The difference is the Dodgers are a better team and could be headed to the postseason as the NL West division winner or one of the wild card teams. Friday night, the Dodgers had a better bullpen and got the timely hit.

And when the timely hit and bullpen does their job that does make a difference. Not that the Mets bullpen completely failed in their quest to get the first win in this stretch. After rookie Tylor Megill allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, the Mets bullpen took over.

The difference, Jeurys Familia coming out of the pen for the third straight game allowing the go-ahead two run homer to Will Smith leading off the 10th inning that also scored the extra inning ghost runner.

Familia would like to get that 3-2 sinker back that Smith hit in the left field seats. And this was a game the Mets wanted to get this stretch off to a good start.

It was also the sixth home run allowed by Familia and this one proved to be costly.

“It was a sinker that stayed up into Will Smith’s bat path,”: said Mets manager Luis Rojas. “He barreled it. The guy is a good hitter and he hit it over the fence. Familia has pitched three days in a row in his career several times. His sinker can get even better on the third day. That’s why he was able to go today.”

Regardless, it was a bad pitch and this loss cost the Mets a share of first place with the Phillies and Braves. The Mets ended their evening where they started, a half game away from the division lead. Their task becomes more difficult the next two nights opposing 12-1 Walter Buehler and 9-4 Max Scherzer.

Though, again, there was no quit with the Mets. They are a team in this stretch without deGrom, and realize what is ahead in what has become the toughest part of their schedule.

“I’m always proud of the guys,”Rojas said. “Every single one of them. Almost the entire team was used today. Falling down, 4-0, against this unbelievable Dodgers team. It was nice to do. It felt great. I thought the guys were energized.”

Also during this stretch both Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor are continuing to nurse injuries that have Rojas using different infield combinations.

Yes, the Mets were once again showing they are resilient. But these are the Dodgers that don’t lose many close games and are very aggressive with their at bats, this ,without their best hitter Mookie Betts on the injured list with right hip inflammation.

The Giants are next for the Mets when this series concludes Sunday night, and they have proved to be the surprise team in baseball with their eyes on playing baseball deep into October.

Los Angeles left-hander Julio Urías allowed two hits in five scoreless innings but the bullpen cost him a chance at becoming the first 14-game winner in baseball. He struck out five, walked two

The Mets task is trying to get wins against the Dodgers and Giants who happen to be two of three teams in the NL with 70 wins. It will be a task and test and they got the first taste of this stretch Friday night.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

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