KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From the moment the Mets’ lineup was posted, this looked like trouble. This is why the Mets’ ride will be a roller-coaster the rest of the way.
They have not shown the ability to take care of business when they must take care of business and they are a little short with Jeff McNeil injured.
If you are looking at a difference between the Mets and Yankees, besides the amount of wins, here it is in black and white:
The Yankees take full advantage of the weaklings.
That is one of the strengths of that team. The Yankees take care of a cupcake schedule. The Mets could not take advantage of the gift that was handed them by the schedule maker.
The bottom four hitters Friday night were Juan Lagares, Joe Panik, Tomas Nido and Ruben Tejada. The Mets certainly were not slugging out 23 hits on this night.
One night after scoring 10 runs against the Braves, the Mets’ bats fell silent in a 4-1 loss to the wretched Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
The energy was low and so was the production from Mickey Callaway’s crew.
When the Royals scored twice against losing pitcher Noah Syndergaard in the fifth inning, it marked their first runs after 22 scoreless innings. The Mets lost a game they should not have lost.
The Royals added two more in the eighth against Brad Brach and Edwin Diaz.
The Yankees are 17-2 against the Orioles and 5-2 versus the Royals.
The Mets came into this series thinking they had to take advantage of the schedule maker and sweep this AL weakling. That was the plan.
“They threw the ball, their starter was outstanding,’’ Callaway said of Mike Montgomery, who went six innings and allowed one run on five hits.
As for the missed opportunity, Callaway said: “It’s over, done with, we’ve got to come out tomorrow and we got to put ourselves in a position where we can win the series. Tough loss, but we’ve got to put it behind us.’’
Callaway opted to rest Wilson Ramos, who has been working overtime, but had four hits Thursday night at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, to give Nido a night’s work with Syndergaard.
Syndergaard certainly deserved a better fate, especially since he pitched out of a big jam in the sixth. He gave up five hits and two runs over his six innings of work with six strikeouts.
But this was back to some bad habits for the Mets when they could not get the offense rolling against the lefty Montgomery and an assortment of Royals relievers, including Ian Kennedy, who loaded the bases in the ninth but hung on for the save, getting Amed Rosario to ground into a force to end the game.
After the Royals, the Mets go home next week to face the tough Indians and then have three more games against the Braves followed by a Cubs visit to Citi Field.
These certainly were not the Royals that beat the Mets in the World Series in 2015. They are in rebuilding mode and came into the night losers of 14 of 18.
Syndergaard looked tremendous early, but the Royals started hitting the ball the other way against him in the fifth with Meibrys Viloria lining a run-scoring double past a diving Pete Alonso at first base and Nicky Lopez lining a double over Tejada at third base. Todd Frazier, who was given a DH night, perhaps might have caught Lopez’s ball had he been playing third. But it was not to be on this night.
The Mets also made a baserunning mistake in the second, when Panik misread a fly to right and was doubled off second base.
The Mets simply cannot afford to have nights like this against a bad team if they want to make it to October. They are two back in the wild-card race, but must jump three teams.
“Noah pitched a heck of a game, we didn’t score, bottom line,’’ Frazier said. “We have to find a way to win games, this was a big one, especially with the other [wild-card] teams facing off against each other. If we win the next two games it will be a plus.’’
This night was a negative.
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