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With their loss Thursday night, the New York Mets are 7-½ games back in the National League East and eight games back of the wild card and the team's postseason odds are looking more insurmountable every day. They are 61-66 this season.
The Mets have gone 6-18 in August and lost 11 of 13 over a grueling stretch against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB's top two teams. They had a four-game lead in the division on July 31 and spent 90 consecutive days in first place before being overtaken on Aug. 6.
The season-killing month is a gut-punch for a club that came into 2021 with high expectations brought on by new owner Steve Cohen after trading for Francisco Lindor and extending the shortstop for $341 million over 10 years on the eve of opening day.
Ace Jacob deGrom, who was having one of the greatest statistical seasons of all time (despite several injury scares), hasn't pitched since July 7.
The team has had its flaws all year, but injuries have piled up at every turn. Everyone in the opening day lineup has been on the injured list this year, and the Mets have used 62 different players, breaking the franchise record of 56.
Here's a look at a few of the things that have gone wrong for the Mets in the second half:
Players and fans alike were confident that the offense would turn around at some point and put the first-place Mets over the top. But April became June and by the All-Star break it was clear that the team just may not ever get hot.
In the second half, the team has managed just 146 runs in 41 games (3.56 rpg) and its .388 slugging percentage is 27th in baseball – albeit without Lindor for a month and trade deadline acquisition Javy Baez sidelined for a week in August.
Close and late
The Mets have lost their last seven one-run games – all of them during the 2-11 stretch against the Dodgers and Giants over the past few weeks. Certainly, much of that involves the competition, but clutch hitting has been a huge problem for the Mets all year, especially as of late. In August, New York's .170 average with runners in scoring position is the worst mark in the NL.
The best pitcher in the universe hasn't pitched
Starting pitching really hasn't been the problem for the Mets over the past few weeks and they've had chances to win games, but the absence of deGrom can't be overstated. Before the injury that has had him sidelined since early July, deGrom had a 1.08 ERA and 146 strikeouts in 92 innings and was having the kind of year we haven't seen in a generation. This Mets team feeds off his energy and opponents are demoralized by his very presence on the mound.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mets score, news: Three reasons team collapsed in second half