Ahead of their showdown with the Atlanta Braves, the Mets faced the lowly Cincinnati Reds and the mediocre Miami Marlins; they won four of seven. Still, they could have easily gone 2-5 or worse, as they continued to lack timely hitting and appear to be a team about to plunge out of first place and down the standings as another season is going down in flames.
The week began in Cincinnati on July 4th, the Mets got some early fireworks from Brandon Nimmo, who hit a three-run home run in the second, but the Reds quickly answered as Brandon Drury homered in the third to tie the game. Taijuan Walker buckled down and pitched six innings, allowing three runs on four hits with nine strikeouts.
The Mets regained the lead on a home run by Francisco Lindor in the fifth inning. The Mets added two runs on a double by Dom Smith in the sixth, while Eduardo Escobar had an RBI single in the seventh to make it 7-4. The Reds got one run back as batting practice. Drew Smith gave up a home run in his third straight appearance, hit by Nick Senzel. The Mets would win 7-4 as Colin Holderman and Seth Lugo pitched the final two innings, with Edwin Diaz getting a night off.
Max Scherzer returned to the mound on Tuesday and was dominant after missing six weeks with a strained oblique. Scherzer allowed two hits while striking out 11 in six innings. However, the Mets' bats were just as quiet as they managed three hits against Nick Lodolo. The Mets had their chances as Lodolo was wild, but they stranded nine runners on base and went 0-for-10 with RISP.
The game remained scoreless until the ninth inning, when the Reds loaded the bases against an ineffective Seth Lugo, scoring the winning run on a sac-fly by Mike Moustakas.
The Mets' struggles carried over into Wednesday, their final game at the offensive-friendly Great American Ballpark. Drew Petterson was terrible, as he was clearly not feeling well after returning from paternity leave. The Mets got an early run on a hit by Jeff McNeil but continued to struggle with RISP, as the Reds took a 3-1 lead on a home run by Senzel and an RBI double by Kyle Farmer.
After Petterson allowed three runs on four hits while walking five as he failed to make it out of the fourth inning. Down 3-2, after an RBI single by Tomas Nido, the Mets stayed in the game as Adonis Medina allowed one hit in three innings. Colin Holderman also was strong, pitching one and a third, allowing one hit as the Mets came up in the ninth down by one run.
Pete Alonso doubled to lead off the ninth but was still there with two outs as Jeff McNeil and Ezout Escobar struck out against Reds closer Hunter Strickland. Mark Canha, however, singled to tie the game 3-3 with two outs. After a perfect ninth from Adam Ottavino, the Mest scored five runs in the tenth, with Dom Smith hitting a double and Brandon Nimmo blowing the game open with a three-run home run, as the Mets escaped embarrassment with an 8-3 win.
The Mets began a four-game series with the Marlins on Thursday with Trevor Williams on the mound. Williams had his best outing as a member of the Mets, allowing two hits in seven innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks. The Mets, meanwhile, got some big hits from their struggling lineup as James McCann hit a three-run home run, and J.D. Davis had a grand slam as the Mets won a 10-0 laugher.
Chris Bassitt returned from the COVID list on Friday as the Mets' struggles resumed. Bassitt pitched well, allowing two runs on six hits while pitching six and one-third. However, the Mets bats were rather feeble as they managed to score on solo home runs by Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor while failing time and again with RISP.
Nobody was worse than Eduardo Escobar, who personally stranded seven runners. After the Marlins extended their lead in the eighth, the Mets had their chance to tie the game with the bases loaded, but Escobar struck out as the Marlins added a run in the ninth to win the game 5-2.
Saturday was Keith Hernandez Day as #17 was retired. The Mets had an average Chips Ahoy performance from Carlos Carrasco but continued to struggle again, as Braxton Garrett transformed into Sandy Koufax, not allowing a hit over the first three innings. In the fourth inning, Pete Alonso sporting a mustache, homered to give the Mets the lead. The lead would not last as Carrasco struggled all game and gave up a bases-loaded double by Brian Anderson that should have scored two runs, but Jesus Sanchez slowed up and was thrown out at home on a stunning relay throw from Luis Guillorme.
On the play at the plate, James McCann injures his oblique, landing on the injured list. The Mets also lost Starling Marte in the game to a tight groin. Seth Lugo allowed Miami to take the lead on a wild pitch after relieving Carrasco in the sixth. The Mets regained the lead on a two-run home run by Francisco Lindor that wrapped around the foul pole.
The Marlins would tie the game in the eighth on a home run by Jesus Aguiar. As the Mets lineup went through the motions, the Marlins took the lead on a throwing error by Lindor that was partially Eduardo Escobar's fault, as the useless, feeble third baseman who could not buy a hit all weekend stood and watched after Lindor made a brilliant stop on the infield. John Berti would get picked off second as Colin Holderman finished the inning with the Mets down 4-3.
In the bottom of the tenth, the Mets appeared to be going down without a whimper as Tanner Scott struck out the first two batters, Ezout Escobar and Luis Guillormer. Down to their last out, the Mets tied the game as Tomas Nido hit a roller down the third-base line that rolled under the glove of Brian Anderson for a double. It should have been an error as Anderson took a bad angle and gave the Mets new life. The Mets would win the game one batter later when Scott bounced a throw to first base after Brandon Nimmo hit a founder back to the pitcher. It was the first time the Mets won a game in extra innings on a walk-off error since Bill Buckner in 1986.
Sunday was a day of gloom for the Mets as they had to face Cy Young favorite, Sandy Alcantara. The Marlins' ace was untouchable against the feeble Mets, allowing six hits as the Mets were blanked for seven innings. Taijuan Walker was even stronger for the Mets, allowing three hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts.
The game went into the tenth inning with no score, as the Mets were forced to send Tommy Hunter to the mound with the ghost runner. The Marlins scored the game's first run when Tomas Nido threw the ball in left field after Billy Hamilton attempted to steal third base. Miami added a second run and won 2-0 as the Mets bats went down without a fight in the bottom of the tenth.
The ten and half-game lead is down to one and a half as the Mets go to take on the Braves in Atlanta without Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil. The injuries are piling up and the Mets lineup is weak and anemic. Disaster surely lies ahead as the Mets' collapse has begun with no end ever in sight. Misery never dies this team was never different and will even fall out of the Wild Card as they will lose at least ten straight.