A few weeks ago, the New York Mets looked poised to win the NL East. Now, they are feuding with their own fans as the 2021 season slips away.
As recently as July 31, the Nationals had waved the white flag at the trade deadline, the Miami Marlins floundered and the division lead was four games over the Atlanta Braves and 4 1/2 over the Philadelphia Phillies. New York was the easy favorite to win the division. But a 7-19 August has derailed everything.
Lately, falling well behind the Braves in the division race now, Mets players have begun flashing a thumbs-down signal toward their own dugout after a big hit or a good play. Asked about that after Sunday's game with Washington, second baseman Javier Baez made clear who that gesture was for.
"When we don't get success, we're going to get booed," Báez told reporters. "So they [the fans] are going to get booed when we get success."
Baez, Francisco Lindor, and Kevin Pillar were among those Mets players to flash thumbs-down signs after their hits in Sunday's 9-4 win over the Nationals.
Baez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline in what looked like a move made for the playoffs. But New York's awful August, a continued injury to ace pitcher Jacob deGrom still dealing with elbow inflammation and nothing else going right has changed the equation. Frustrations are boiling over.
The Braves were dealt season-ending injuries to key players like outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. and pitcher Mike Soroka. The Phillies' bullpen was a nightmare. But Atlanta got hot in August winning 11 of its last 14 games to race past the Mets and Phillies to the top of the NL East.
New York is 63-67 after losing streaks of four, five, and four just this month and is 7 1/2 games behind Atlanta.