The Pirates complete a sweep of the Mets on Sunday which prompts a team meeting from manager Terry Collins.
PITTSBURGH — It was time.
Terry Collins sent the visiting clubhouse attendants out of the room after Sunday’s 9-1 loss to the Pirates. He wanted to have a little talk with his players, to remind them they were major leaguers and just needed to play like it.
“We’re just not executing, the effort is . . . for five years the effort has never been a question. We’ve just got to go back and start doing the little things,” Collins said. “If they are here, they are good enough.”
Didn’t look that way Sunday as the Mets, playing without Lucas Duda (hamstring) and Juan Lagares (elbow), were overmatched.
They managed just Wilmer Flores’ RBI single against Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano, who struck out 12. Jon Niese (3-5) took his third straight loss, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks. He struck out six but could not get out of the fifth inning for the first time this season.
It was the third straight loss for the Mets (24-21) and the second time they have been swept in a series this season.
The bats are the biggest concern. The Mets have scored three runs or fewer in 19 of their last 26 games and 26 times overall this season. They struck out a total of 14 times Sunday, including three straight with runners on second and third in the second inning.
They struck out an alarming 36 times in the three-game series.
Collins’ meeting was to remind them that they have to get back to the basics of putting the ball in play.
“There is no need to panic,” Niese said. “Last I checked, we were second in the division, two games back (actually 21/2), still three games over .500. We haven’t been playing the best baseball. I think it’s going to turn around.”
On the positive side, the Mets were returning to Citi Field, where they are 17-6 this season. They will face the Phillies, who will send righthander Severino Gonzalez and his 7.00 ERA to the mound on Monday.
“We’ll definitely inventory what went wrong. You don’t flush that away, but that being said, you don’t dwell on the results of it either,” Michael Cuddyer said of the weekend debacle in Pittsburgh. “There is a difference in seeing what went wrong, addressing that and trying to improve as a team tomorrow as compared to dwelling on the loss and letting that carry over.
“It was good,” Cuddyer continued about Collins’ message. “What he said is this series is over, we’re going to go in where we have been playing really well at home and we need to execute.”
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