The most disappointing New York team in years gave their fans a taste of what they have to look forward to for the rest of the season.
Now that the Mets are in full-on sell mode, with Max Scherzer joining David Robertson in being shipped out of town in exchange for minor league prospects, any hope they had of not being irrelevant in 2023 is gone, and they looked the part Saturday with an ugly 11-6 loss to the last-place Nationals at Citi Field.
The game featured bad pitching, bad fielding and bad weather, as a miserable night that began with a lengthy rain delay got even worse once the Mets took the field.
Carlos Carrasco delivered his worst start of the year in what has been a disastrous season for the right-hander, and he got into trouble immediately.
Mark Vientos, starting at third base, made a throwing error on the game’s first play, which allowed CJ Abrams to reach base.
Carrasco then gave up four straight one-out singles and a sacrifice fly, as the Mets fell behind, 4-0 — all while Scherzer’s trade to the Rangers was being finalized.
The inning ended with Carrasco being booed off the mound, a sound that has become common at Citi Field during a season in which the Mets were expected to get to the playoffs for a second consecutive year and instead has found them giving up before August.
Carrasco, a giant disappointment after a solid first season with the Mets last year, gave up a season-high eight runs (six earned) in just 2 ¹/₃ innings.
His ERA jumped to 6.40, which would be the second-worst in the majors if Carrasco had pitched enough innings to qualify.
The Mets hit a pair of homers off lefty Patrick Corbin, who entered with a 5.01 ERA and hasn’t been effective since 2019.
Tommy Pham led off the bottom of the fourth inning with his 10th home run of the season and Francisco Lindor hit a two-run homer, his 20th, in the fifth.
In the ninth inning, Francisco Alvarez smacked his 20th of the year and Vientos followed with his second.
The Mets will close out what has been an action-packed homestand Sunday against the Nationals before they depart on a road trip to Kansas City and Baltimore.
By the time the Mets return to Queens, they could look even more different from Opening Day than they do now.
With the organization’s eyes firmly on next year and beyond, the players who remain will have to figure out how to stay motivated after they began the season with championship aspirations.
There are still two months left in the season and it figures to be a long road until October.
The focus now will surely be more on the development of young players, including Vientos, Brett Baty and Alvarez.
And then the Mets and Steve Cohen can make another run at success.