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Mets lose sixth game in a row

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It already feels like ancient history, but the woebegone Mets had a rebirth towards the end of July and extending into mid-August. With a 46-55 record, the Mets won seven games in a row from July 26 through August 1, then went on an eight-game heater August 3-10. After stumbling a bit against the Braves, they went back on a five-game winning streak August 17-22, reaching a season-high seven games over .500 at 67-60. Mickey Callaway’s motley crew, once a trainwreck, was officially back on track.

Some cautioned against buying into the hot streak too heavily, pointing out that the Mets’ hot streak featured many wins against subpar competition like the Padres (61-71), Pirates (56-77), White Sox (60-72), Marlins (47-85), and Royals (47-87). Others countered by saying that you still have to win those games. The Phillies, for example, haven’t even been able to beat the lowly Marlins, going 7-9 against them this season.

It appears the Mets’ hot streak wasn’t terribly informative after all. The club was swept by the Braves at home over the weekend, then got swept at home by the Cubs, culminating in a disappointing 4-1 loss tonight to run the losing streak to six games. The Mets are nearly back to .500 at 67-66. They’ve five games out of the second Wild Card with the Phillies and Brewers ahead of them and the Diamondbacks even with them. The Giants are also within striking distance.

On Thursday night, ace Jacob deGrom was on the hook for four runs over seven innings. Three of the runs scored on a back-breaking three-run home run by Victor Caratini in the top of the seventh. Tyler Chatwood, Brandon Kintzler, and Craig Kimbrel shut the Mets down from there, with the only base runner reaching on a Kris Bryant error. This came a day after Noah Syndergaard‘s clunker in which he allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in three innings of work. The Mets fought back but ultimately lost 10-7.

The Mets’ schedule doesn’t get any easier from here:

  • 3 @ Phillies (69-63)
  • 3 @ Nationals (74-58)
  • 3 vs. Phillies
  • 4 vs. Diamondbacks (67-66)
  • 3 vs. Dodgers (88-47)
  • 3 @ Rockies (59-75)
  • 3 @ Reds (63-69)
  • 4 vs. Marlins (47-85)
  • 3 vs. Braves (81-54)

20 of their 29 remaining games will come against teams .500 or better. Nine of those 29 games will be against teams that are currently at least 10 games over .500.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.