Flushing, NY: The Mets expect Robinson Cano back on the field and sooner than expected. The all-star second baseman tore his left hamstring on August 4 and it was assumed his season was over. But Cano took batting practice Tuesday night at Citi Field and is making progress.
Sooner than expected, perhaps Cano is needed in the lineup. The Mets have forgot about the timely hit that got them to this turnaround and in contention for a second NL wild card. The bats have been quiet and for most of this month hits and runs were more than enough.
They weren’t timely again Tuesday night in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, with three games that could define if meaningful games are to be played in September.
With or without Cano, and the Mets adjusted to not having him in the lineup, they started play Tuesday with the best second half record in baseball.
Though Pete Alonso hit a franchise record 42nd home run in the fourth inning, breaking a record that stood with Carlos Beltran and Hundley, that would not hold up. Wilson Ramos extended his career high hitting streak at 20 games.
But the Mets, a bounce back team, lost their fourth straight at Citi Field where they had won 13 of their last 17, and are 37-24. A majority of their remaining 32 games are at home that would favor their chances of being that wild card team that is being contested with the Cubs, Brewers, Phillies, and Diamondbacks.
The Washington Nationals are 3.0 games up as the first wild card while the Mets with this loss fell to three games behind the Cubs in the race for that second spot.
So the next two games with the Cubs, to say the least, are important. The Mets need to take both. Avoid being swept or losing two of three, but the bats have gone quiet, and timely hitting that got them to this point has not been evident in the last four games that go back at the hands of a three game sweep from the Atlanta Braves this past weekend.
“We know we can play better,” Alonso said. “We bonded. From where we were. The jobs not done yet.Attribute this loss also to Cubs’ starter Yu Darvish, 8.0 innings who pitched his longest outing with the team and Javier Baez, 3-for-3 two doubles and his 29th home run off Mets’ starter Marcus Stroman
“When Javy’s got it going on, he does it all,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That was just spry Javy out there today.”
But the Mets remain confident. As a group they believe this is one of those tailspins at the plate that will get better,
“We’re just not getting the timely hit or the big hit when we need it to keep us rolling. It will change,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
It has to get better and Wednesday night is where it has to start.
BELTRAN COMMENTS ON ALONSO RECORD: Beltran now an advisor with the Yankees said in a statement: “It’s a pleasure to have a fine young player like Pete Alonso break my record. I have not met Pete personally, but people have told me he plays the game with passion and doesn’t give up on any at bat. He has had great success in his first year.”
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