Just when Mets’ fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Mets followed up a miserable road trip that ended with perhaps their worst loss of the season by stinking up Citi Field in a 2-1 loss to the Brewers on Monday night.
They dropped their fifth in their last six games — and 16th of 21 — as the season that began with enormous expectations continues to spiral out of control.
On Monday, Justin Verlander pitched five scoreless innings, but needed 100 pitches to get there and had to be replaced to start the sixth.
Drew Smith, fresh off a 10-game ban for violating the league’s sticky substance policy, entered with a one-run lead and gave up a two-run homer to Joey Wiemer to put Milwaukee ahead.
But as Buck Showalter said before the game, it’s impossible to point the finger at one area in which the team is lacking.
This time, the offense came up small against right-hander Colin Rea, scoring just one run — which was aided by an error by catcher William Contreras.
Verlander was shaky in the top of the first, loading the bases with one out — but got out of it without allowing a run.
After Christian Yelich led off the game with a hard-hit single, Rowdy Tellez ripped a one-out double to the wall in right.
Verlander walked Willy Adames before Owen Miller hit a dribbler that turned into a force out at home and Jesse Winker grounded out to end the threat.
Verlander gave up back-to-back hits with one out in the fourth, but with Luis Urias at second, Francisco Alvarez caught Blake Perkins off first base and picked him off for the second out and Wiemer popped to short to keep it scoreless.
Rea retired the first eight batters he faced before Brett Baty walked with two outs in the third.
They didn’t get their first hit against Rea, who had allowed nine runs — eight earned — over 10 ¹/₃ innings in his previous two starts, until Starling Marte singled to start the bottom of the fourth.
Marte swiped second and went to third when Contreras’ throw went into center.
Wiemer, in center, threw wildly to third and Marte started for home, but smartly turned back.
He scored on Francisco Lindor’s sacrifice fly for the game’s first run.
Verlander flirted with danger again in the fifth, giving up a single to Yelich and then hitting Contreras, but he retired the next three, as Milwaukee flailed with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-11.
The Mets were unable to get to three Milwaukee relievers.
They’ll have a tough task righting themselves Tuesday, when the Mets will face Julio Teheran.
The right-hander has resuscitated his career and has had considerable success against the Mets, with a 2.98 ERA over 29 games and a 2.40 career ERA in 14 starts at Citi Field.