CINCINNATI — Due to their starting rotation's current state, the Mets will need to rely on their bats for the foreseeable future.
It worked when they scored seven in a comeback victory in Pittsburgh one day, then again when they hung 15 on the Reds less a day later. They've pulled wins out of nowhere because of, in their words, resiliency and a no-quit attitude.
They remained within striking distance for all of Tuesday's game at Great American Ball Park, but couldn't stun their opponents for a second consecutive night. The Mets (49-43) lost, 4-3, as they never collected the timely knocks that have defined their recent victories.
Of course, they couldn't exit this game without threatening. In the eighth, pinch-hitter Luis Guillorme — a day after his three-error game — sliced a double down the left-field line and, because the Reds' Jesse Winker couldn't quickly field the ball, James McCann scored from first to make it a one-run game.
And in the ninth, Reds lefty Amir Garrett walked Dominic Smith on four pitches to begin the inning and give the Mets a nice start. However, Brandon Nimmo and Pete Alonso struck out swinging before Jeff McNeil flew out in foul ground to end the game.
The Mets finished 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. They left nine men on base.
It's difficult, perhaps even silly, to ask an offense that had scored 35 runs in its last five games coming into this one to score even more, but it's where the Mets are at right now. They are missing Jacob deGrom, David Peterson as well as multiple relievers and depth pieces due to injuries. Their closer, Edwin Diaz, has blown three consecutive saves.
The Mets need every bit of that deep, talented, dangerous lineup.
For the second consecutive game, Alonso blasted a first-inning home run. This one put the Mets ahead, 1-0, early.
They soon found themselves at a disadvantage — not on the scoreboard, but in their roster depth.
Starter Robert Stock, added to the roster before this game, only pitched an inning — in which he allowed a leadoff homer to Jonathan India that evened the score — because of a right hamstring injury. That forced the Mets to piece together yet another game with their bullpen, something they've done far too often recently.
They used Stephen Nogosek (called up Monday) and Geoff Hartlieb (called up Tuesday). Nogosek hadn't pitched in a big league game since 2019, but gave the Mets three innings. The Reds only damaged him in the third, when Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino deposited back-to-back home runs in the seats.
In the seventh, Jonathan Villar, a good baserunner, scored from second because pitcher Brad Brach (the former Met) slung a poor trow to first to Votto, who couldn't catch it and received an error.
This began an exciting final three innings — they always are with this team — as the Mets looked to tie the game. They pushed and pressured.
You kept thinking the big hit would soon come.
The Mets on Tuesday kept themselves in the game — they just never took it.