FLUSHING, NY — The Mets won a ballgame Tuesday night at Citi Field but they let a seven-run lead come down to the wire and escaped with the 11-10 win over the Chicago White Sox. So after a four-game losing streak the Mets have won their last two.
No significance to the win because the Mets will not catch the NL division leading Braves. They have to sustain a winning streak and momentum to contend for a third NL Wild Card and the Phillies at this juncture have an eight-game lead.
Probability to landing a Wild Card spot is minimal. The Mets at this point need to focus first on getting back to .500 (44-50) and then if they have any type of run in them continue to make a push. But this has been a season of futility in building a winning streak and gaining any type of momentum.
Point is the Mets need to focus more on a July 31 trade deadline, a reality of being sellers and not buyers. Even a five-run first inning and another multi-home run game from rookie catcher Francisco Álvarez (Guatire, Venezuela) should not change a direction to sell and not buy.
Recall, the last time the Mets faced the White Sox? A sweep for the Mets on the south side of the windy city during the trade deadline in 2019 with a possible second half surge to their season. Then there was momentum and a late season run to the postseason came up short.
But this time it is different with 68 games remaining. The odds, though, are still not in the Mets favor in what has become a season of futility. This at one point appeared to be a laugher, an 11-4 lead and a continued struggle of the bullpen.
Carlos Carrasco wasn’t at his best, 4.2 innings and four runs, the early lead gave the right-hander enough breathing room.
And these three games with the White Sox should determine whether or not the Mets should be sellers at the deadline, or should they await their next series up in Boston with the Red Sox at Fenway Park?
I don’t expect anything to be different from building a streak of wins in the next two series, despite good signs in recent starts from starters Max Scherzer and Kodai Senga. As a result, I expect GM Billy Eppler to continue taking phone calls, answer text messages, and the Mets will be sellers at the trade deadline.
But after this win Tuesday night, and for another day, the talk of a trade deadline in the Mets clubhouse took a brief hiatus. Álvarez has seven home runs this month, 19th of the season that leads all catchers, and his third multi-home run game continued to impress and highlight an otherwise dismal Mets season.
Álvarez said he expected to offer this production. Manager Buck Showalter knows that Álvarez is one of the untouchables at the trade deadline, not that there was any doubt about that.
Álvarez and rookie Brett Baty hit back-to-back home runs leading the Mets to their highest scoring inning of the season and the 5-0 lead. The 24-year old hit a two-run homer in the sixth for the Mets 11-4 lead.
“I do know,” Showalter said about Álvarez, “He’s not scared of the moment.That’s rare.”
And in mid July, not one player on this Mets roster or 29 other teams are concerned about being part of a blockbuster trade. Again, though, the Mets are in that uncomfortable position and some on their roster will be gone by the deadline.
The objective, the Mets are looking to rebuild and restock their minor league system that lacks upcoming prospects, exception with 24-year old Ronnie Mauricio (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic)
Scouts were at Citi Field Tuesday evening putting their notes and reports together, one in particular said David Robertson is that valuable commodity out of the bullpen who pitched two scoreless innings Sunday. He retired Tim Anderson and stranded runners on second and third that preserved this Mets win.
I expect Robertson with the backend and closing experience as that key point of interest for teams. I have heard from reliable sources that the Texas Rangers in need of bullpen help could be a landing spot for Robertson in return for a top pitching prospect.
Though, I would doubt the Mets will part ways with Jeff McNeil who continues his season long struggle. The reigning NL batting champion has drawn interest along with Tommy Pham, the Mets consistent hitter and I expect any number of contending teams to make their pitch to Eppler.
Plenty of pieces to trade and begin the process of getting a return of available prospects. It’s about 2024 and thereafter, no longer about 2023 and a lost season. Eppler and owner Steve Cohen have many options working around the huge contracts of a team that is bound to become the richest payroll in baseball that failed. Perhaps the Padres will rival that claim with their disappointment and third highest payroll.
So the Mets will be sellers and not buyers. Who goes? Tuesday night’s win and countdown was more about the trade deadline and not about the September playoff elimination Mets.
Rich Mancuso: senior writer @Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso.
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