If the Mets hope to turn things around and at least be competitive over the final two months of the season, they have to beat teams with worse records than theirs, especially at home. That’s why Tuesday night’s loss to the Marlins was so discouraging.
The Marlins broke through against Jonathon Niese in the fourth. Justin Ruggiano and Jose Reyes led off with infield singles; the hit extended Reyes’s hitting streak to 25 games. Carlos Lee singled to score Ruggiano and move Reyes to third. Giancarlo Stanton hit a drive to deep center on which Andres Torres made a sensational play. Reyes tagged up to make it 2-0. Austin Kearns singled to put runners on first and second. With two outs John Buck hit a double into the corner in right. Lee scored easily, but the relay throw beat Kearns. However Josh Thole could not get the swipe tag down in time and Kearns was safe. 4-0 Marlins.
Daniel Murphy got the Mets on the board in the fifth with a leadoff home run off the facade in right. His fourth homer of the season made it 1-0. That chased Wade LeBlanc from the game, having reached his 85-pitch limit. With two outs later in the inning against Chad Gaudin, Jason Bay (!) singled, Ike Davis, pinch hitting for Ronny Cedeno, also singled and Torres singled to drive in Bay to make it 4-2. A wild pitch put runners on second and third. Thole walked to load the bases. Collins stuck with Niese, who struck out to end the inning.
Niese went one more inning after that, lasting six innings in all, allowing four runs on eight hits, with four strikeouts and one walk. He just hung too many curveballs in that fourth inning.
Mets lose 4-2.
You could question Collins’s decision not to pinch hit for Niese when there was a chance to score runs, but the Mets stranded 11 runners on base — the offense just didn’t get the job done.