david peterson mets
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I like to think I stay pretty even keel about the Mets, especially when they go through the typical ups and downs in a 162-game schedule. It’s a long season, so those peaks and valleys are inevitable.

What just happened over the past three days was ugly, though. Real ugly. Finding the words to articulate that was hard…until I found the following tweet:

Yea, that’ll do it. This kind of performance is terrible at any point in the year. But it’s a little extra terrible in the middle of September when you’re fighting for a division title. The Mets have been a joy to watch for the majority of this season. However, this soft part of their schedule hasn’t been nearly as enjoyable as any of us thought it’d be.

What’s crazy is how quickly a switch can be flipped. Remember when everyone thought the world was ending after three uninspiring losses in a row to the Nationals and Pirates? They then came back from the dead and looked like the team they’ve been all season.

That was a beautiful sight, which is why it’s so frustrating to see them fall flat for three straight games against what was supposed to be an inferior team. Wednesday’s loss was particularly concerning because they looked like other Mets teams from recent seasons.

For most of 2022, New York has shown us they’ll fight until the very last out and regardless of the deficit, there was always a chance of them coming back to win. I felt none of that on Wednesday night.

Once the Cubs scored six runs in the first inning, the air was taken out of Citi Field. I never had the feeling there would be a legitimate comeback brewing. Every time there was a chance of one, it got thwarted by a double play.

Buck Showalter’s club is clearly pressing on offense. Just in this Cubs series alone, they went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position and left 21 men on base. When asked if his offense was pressing, I loved Showalter’s response: “Oh, I hope so.”

Here’s the rest of what he said:

While I joked about getting Terry Collins into the clubhouse to ream the guys out, I think how Buck is handling this makes sense. We all know they’re not purposely trying to self-sabotage. It’s not as if the effort isn’t there. They’re trying too hard. The squad — especially the offense — needs to relax and stop thinking so much.

With a September slide such as this, Twitter is starting to fill up with, “This looks like 2007 all over again”. Is New York falling flat and losing to a team they should’ve pummeled reminiscent of that? Hell yeah it is. But is this ‘07 all over again? It feels like it could be, but I’m not ready to go that far yet.

While we’ve been burned in the past, I don’t think the Mets — who, as of Thursday, are still on pace to win 100 games — just completely forgot how to win baseball games. Especially after how they looked in Miami just a few days ago. Even with all their struggles so far this month, the Mets still haven’t lost more than three games in a row this year.

Is it concerning that they’ve done it twice in September after losing three in a row just twice in the five months prior? Yes, it is. In the midst of these struggles, the Mets have lost their swagger. It’s mysteriously disappeared over the past few days. New York is badly missing the presence of Max Scherzer and Starling Marte in that clubhouse. They’ll be back soon, but the guys already there need to suck it up, remember who they are, and what they’ve done so far this season.

We’ve said it since April: it just seems like this Mets squad is built differently compared to previous years. We’ll find out if that statement is actually true over these next four games against the Pirates.

Am I worried about the bottom falling out here for the Mets? Not yet, but we’re getting close. It’s one thing to lose games, but it’s another thing to lose them in the fashion they just did. Get that swagger back, boys. It’s in there somewhere. I think.

New York is lucky the Braves haven’t taken advantage. They still control their own destiny. It’s time to shake off what just happened and get back to work. Show that sense of urgency we literally saw over the weekend. I’ll end this with something else Showalter said in his postgame presser that should be constantly bouncing off the walls in the clubhouse (quote via Anthony DiComo):

“It’s there for us. It’s all there for us. We control it. That would be frustrating if we didn’t. It’s the old thing that we’ve been talking about all year. It’s called, ‘Play better.'”

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Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

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.