The Mets lost again, dropping Wednesday afternoon’s contest with the Orioles 1-0. It’s their sixth loss in a row and they have dropped 13 of their last 16 games. They have also lost eight games in a row at home.
At the end of April, the Mets were 17-9 and things were looking great. But they lost six in a row to open May and have now lost five in a row to begin the month of June.
What’s gone wrong? The offense has disappeared, mostly. The club has scored one or zero runs in each of their last four games. The injuries are mounting, as Yoenis Cespedes, Wilmer Flores, A.J. Ramos, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, and Juan Lagares have been on the disabled list.
GM Sandy Alderson told Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports that the Mets will not go into a rebuilding mode. He said, “Can circumstances change that? Yes. But I think that would be very, very remote. It’s not something we’re even considering or talking about.” Alderson added, “Just because you tear it down doesn’t mean you’re going to have a great rebuild. It doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t.”
In the meantime, Jacob deGrom‘s great season is going to waste. He’s carrying a league-best 1.49 ERA along with a 98/21 K/BB ratio in 72 1/3 innings. He hasn’t won a decision since May 18 and is just 4-0 on the season in 12 starts.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.