LOS ANGELES -- Like the faintest blips on a heart rate monitor, the Mets' offense showed rare signs of life in the eighth and ninth innings on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. The three runs they scored may not have mattered much in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers, who took advantage of Matt Harvey's wildness while leaning on their own superb starter, Zack Greinke, for seven shutout innings.
But it was something. And that's more than the Mets have had in a while.
"We certainly looked up late in the game and had a chance to get back in it," manager Terry Collins said.
Such is the type of thing the Mets did frequently early in the season, parlaying their resourcefulness into one of baseball's best records. But offensive adequacy has occurred less and less often lately for the Mets, who entered Saturday's play with two or fewer runs in 13 of their previous 15 games. There is no singular culprit; injuries to David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud have hurt, as have extended slumps for Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer. The Mets aren't simply struggling to plate runs, they're struggling to put runners on base, period.
Against the Major Leagues' ERA leader on Saturday, the script called for more of the same. The Mets did almost nothing over the game's first seven innings, rallying for three runs only after Greinke left the game. But it proved to be too little, too late when Curtis Granderson flailed at a J.P. Howell knuckle-curve in the dirt to end things.
"We need it bad," Collins said of the big hit that has eluded the Mets. "We had a chance to come back, and we just didn't get the hits we needed."
By the ninth, Collins was desperate enough to consider pinch-running Eric Campbell, hardly a fast runner himself, for Kevin Plawecki -- potentially burning two players in the process. Earlier this week at Citi Field, Collins attempted a suicide squeeze for the first time this season, with disastrous results. Right now, he is willing to try anything and everything to score a run. Or two. Or maybe even three.
"It's hard," Collins said. "This team, certainly we expected some power out of a number of guys. We aren't a big basestealing team, so it's tough to steal runs, get some guys in scoring position, so you've got to hit. You've got to get hits and you've got to get a number of them. We had a chance, but it just didn't happen."