New York Mets
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The New York Mets have been reeling over the past month and received a great opportunity to get back on track Tuesday. As we’ve gotten used to seeing recently, they failed to answer the call. 

The New York Mets have been reeling over the past month and received a great opportunity to get back on track Tuesday, but they failed to answer the call.

It’s been an absolute slog for the New York Mets over the past month. At the beginning of the year, everyone was wowed by their nine-game winning streak and 12-2 start, but now, it feels like an actual accomplishment to merely win a single contest.

Prior to getting a day off on Monday, manager Mickey Callaway‘s club struggled through a brutal 17-day stretch that included 18 games against mostly first-place teams. They swept the Arizona Diamondbacks, but then proceeded to lose 11 of the 15 games the followed.

Yes, one disappointing series was against the Miami Marlins, but the others were against good teams in the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, and Chicago Cubs. The baseball gods had seemingly given them a gift prior to another brutal stretch that starts with facing the New York Yankees — a short, two-game set against the Baltimore Orioles.

Buck Showalter’s club arrived in town with the league’s worst winning percentage thanks to a 17-41 record and struggling starter Alex Cobb set to take the mound. You know, the guy who owned a 6.80 ERA through his first 46.1 innings and needed three starts to get his ERA under 10.00. The Mets’ offense has struggled in recent weeks, but this appeared to be the perfect “get right” situation for them.

So, they naturally lost 2-1, with Cobb limiting New York to that one run on just two hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts in six innings. The season started out with such promise before everything turned sour, but how different has it actually been than recent years (outside of 2015 and, to a degree, 2016)? Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog summed it up perfectly:

Every single year, we hear about how the Mets’ fate lies with the performance and health of the starting rotation. And as we’ve seen, neither of those things tend to come true. Even when someone like Jacob deGrom puts together a dominant performance, the offense can’t back him up.

How else can you explain a pitcher with a 1.49 ERA having just four wins in 12 starts?

Yoenis Cespedes‘ ability to transform a lineup has never come into question since his arrival, but it’s hard for him to do that from the sidelines. New York’s offense lacks any kind of real balance, and it’s especially evident when Cespedes is on the disabled list.

Tuesday night’s lineup is a perfect example. Outside of Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera at the top, none of the other hitters finished the night with an OPS higher than .745. If we take that a step further, none of the bottom four position players finished with one over .700.

The team is depending a lot of guys like Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce to perform up to expectation, and it’s not even close to happening.

How can New York potentially find a way to stop this narrative from repeating itself every year? The front office could do something drastic, like make deGrom and Noah Syndergaard available in the trade market. That sounds like a ridiculous notion — and it’s doubtful the team is considering it — but something has to change.

This team has been constructed in a similar fashion each year since 2015. If it wasn’t for a legendary six-week stretch from Cespedes (plus a couple other key moves), the Mets wouldn’t even be able to hang their hats on a World Series appearance.

Tuesday night’s performance should be surprising and disappointing. It’s really not, though — this is just a nightmare that never seems to go away.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.