BUFFALO — Mathematically they are still alive, but the Mets’ slimming playoff chances were realistically left at the bottom of Lake Erie on Sunday with their latest clunker.
Thirteen games remain, but does anybody believe this beleaguered group can win 10 of them to perhaps sneak into the National League’s eight-team postseason field?
A lineup that days earlier had reached full potential, churning out runs in bushels, sputtered for a second straight day against a left-handed starting pitcher. And then there was the kind of bullpen meltdown that has become all too commonplace for this team, turning it messy in a 7-3 loss to the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field.
The Mets (21-26) will continue this road trip on Tuesday in Philadelphia against a Phillies team in strong position to claim the automatic playoff berth attached to a second-place finish in the division.
Brad Brach’s sixth-inning meltdown cost the Mets any chance of winning this series. The veteran reliever entered with the Blue Jays ahead 2-1 and proceeded to walk the bases loaded before he was removed. Jared Hughes walked Jonathan Villar to force in a run before Santiago Espinal delivered the knockout punch with a three-run double.
Hyun Jin Ryu frustrated the Mets, allowing one earned run on eight hits and no walks over six innings with seven strikeouts. It came a night after another veteran left-hander, Robbie Ray, stifled the Mets by allowing one run over six innings. The Mets fell to 6-13 against lefty starters this season. They are 15-13 against right-handed starters.
David Peterson wasn’t sharp for the Mets, but survived five innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits and two walks. The rookie left-hander was coming off his first ugly start of the season, a no-decision against the Phillies in which he allowed five runs over two innings.
Peterson surrendered a two-run homer in the second to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. that gave the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead. The blast was the second surrendered in as many starts by Peterson after a stretch of three straight appearances in which he did not allow one.
Dominic Smith’s RBI single in the first gave the Mets their first run, but the opportunity for a big inning stalled as Todd Frazier got caught between third base and the plate and was thrown out retreating. The RBI was the 37th of the season for Smith, whose 1.035 OPS ranked fifth in the major leagues entering the day.