BY JOE RINI
With their 4-1 loss to Giants in San Francisco on Tuesday night, the Mets gratefully bid farewell to the month of July. Entering July, the Mets were seven games over .500, near the front of the wildcard race, and only 2 1⁄2 games out of first place. Thirty one days, and 18 losses in 25 games later, the Mets find themselves four games under .500, 12 games out of first and on the periphery of the wildcard chase.
The Mets were thought to be hunting for bullpen help a couple weeks ago but as the team’s fortunes waned, people speculated the Mets might be “sellers” and deal Scott Hairston to a team looking for a right handed bat. However, in the end, the Mets windowed shopped while teams buried behind them had fire sales for teams higher in the standings. “We were not going to move players simply to move them,” general manger Sandy Alderson said. “We were not looking for some small, incremental improvement in the overall player development situation. If we were going to get a quality player, then we would strongly consider doing something as a ‘seller.’ But absent a strong effort by another club, we weren’t going to simply make a move just to make a move.”
The highlight so far of the team’s current 11 game road trip out west has been the successful debut of rookie Matt Harvey last Thursday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona. Harvey struck out 11 in 5 1/3 scoreless innings, earning a win in his first start as the Mets snapped a six game losing streak with a 3-1 victory.
Besides setting a team record for strikeouts in a debut outing by a rookie, Harvey also became the first player since 1900 to strike out more than 10 batters and get two hits in his first major league appearance. Harvey also pitched reasonably well Tuesday night in a 4-1 loss to the Giants.
On Sunday the Mets earned a split of the four game series with Arizona when R.A. Dickey had his best outing in a month when he allowed only one unearned run in capturing his league leading 14th win against only two losses in the Mets 5-1 victory. A day earlier, Ike Davis became the ninth Met in team history to homer three times in one game in a 6-3 loss.
The Mets enter play on Wednesday with a record of 50-54. The current road trip has the Mets traveling from San Francisco to San Diego for a three game weekend series against the Padres before retuning to Citi Field on Tuesday August 7 for a six game homestand against the Marlins and the Braves.