Flushing, NY: Victor Caratini got hold of two sliders off the Mets Jacob deGrom at Citi Field Thursday night. Both pitches left the ballpark in the second and seventh innings, and all four of his runs batted in were more than enough to put a further dent on the Mets possible NL wild card hopes.
The 4-1 Mets loss to the Chicago Cubs, their sixth straight, all at home, put the Mets in dire straights. with 29 games remaining and falling five games behind the Cubs for the second NL wild card, chances are the Mets need to win 20 games to reach the postseason.
So after a start to this 9-game homestand, a three game sweep over the Indians, the Mets aspirations have quickly faded with consecutive three game series sweeps at the hands of the division leading Braves and the Cubs.
It’s on to Philadelphia for three with the Phillies. And then off to Washington D.C. for three more with the Nationals. If the Mets hope to pull of another run they have to come away with winning both series.
“Things have snowballed,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We have to start tomorrow, get a win. Tough last six games. That’s tough to swallow. We say this after every game you have to move on.”
But the reality is, the Mets did not get timely hits after their sweep over the Indians. Their pitching was respectable, But the runs were hard to find and that has put them in a tough and difficult situation.
With the exception of those two sliders that accounted for his misfortune, deGrom had retired 15 in a row after the first home run ball to Caratini. He snapped a streak of 17-straight starts allowing three runs or fewer.
“Not exactly where I wanted it,” deGrom said of the first home run that went to right field on a 1-0 pitch. “It’s frustrating. Feel like I had really good stuff. We gotta win. Everybody knows that. We put ourselves in a hole.”
And the Cubs are now the team to chase as they also battle the Cardinals for the NL Central division title. For the Mets, though, it has to be done by themselves as they have no more meetings with the Cubs this season.
The reality has set in and the Mets are well aware.
NOTES: Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Caratini: “His confidence is scoring right now He’s a much more confident major league baseball player right now. We don’t win without him hitting here today and he did it.”
He said the sliders he hit were “Almost a perfect swing.” And that last slider went to the second deck in right field and was a tie breaking two-run homer. It was his second career two-run homer game and 9th of the season.
Caratini, the backup catcher and 26 years old from Coamo Puerto Rico, is getting more playing time at first base with Anthony Rizzo listed as day-to-day with ailments to his back.
“I was just trying to be aggressive,” Caratini said through a translator.” I know he attacks a lot,” referring to deGrom.
Mets’ Wilson Ramos extended bis career best hitting streak to 22 games the longest in the majors this season.
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