MIAMI -- To generalize, the Mets did not trade outfielder Marlon Byrd -- or any of their players, for that matter -- prior to Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, out of respect for their desire to remain competitive. With Byrd, the Mets knew they had a chance at least to stick in the middle of the National League East pack over the season's final two months. Without him, that chance seemed far slimmer.
So it was frustrating for the Mets to lose their first game after the Deadline, dropping a 3-2 decision to the Marlins on a night when Jenrry Mejia's second start of the season could not match the quality of his first. Byrd did his part, finishing 2-for-4, but many of his teammates did not.
"I've been through these days a lot," manager Terry Collins said. "I'm glad Marlon's still here. I'm glad Bobby Parnell's still here and everybody else that was rumored. I'm glad they're all still here, because we're playing pretty good and I want to continue it."
Coming off a brilliant debut that saw him strike out seven Nationals batters over seven shutout innings, Mejia was noticeably less sharp from the start of Wednesday's game. Though he used a double play to erase one of his two baserunners in the first inning, Mejia cracked for Jake Marisnick's solo homer in the second, then consecutive sacrifice flies from Placido Polanco and Giancarlo Stanton in the third.
From there, Mejia grew stout, whiffing four batters over three additional scoreless innings and departing after six. The end result -- three runs in six innings -- was a quality start, despite some physical discomfort in the middle innings.
Mejia has been playing with bone spurs in his right elbow, which will require offseason surgery. But doctors have advised him that he can pitch in the interim, provided he can bear the pain.
"I felt something, but it doesn't bother me," said Mejia, who spoke briefly with Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez after shaking his arm loose at one point during the game. "Sometimes I feel it, but it's not going to bother me. I feel pretty good."
As Mejia learned also, quality starts are a relative statistic. Just ask Marlins pitcher Henderson Alvarez, who used three double plays to his advantage in holding the Mets to a single run -- Ike Davis' RBI double in the sixth, which plated Byrd. Alvarez lasted 7 1/3 innings before a second, inherited run scored after he left the game. Though the Mets put at least one runner on base every inning after the first, even placing two men on with no outs in the second, they could not string together a multi-run rally.
Their greatest regret may have come in the third, when Eric Young Jr. skied a ball to deep right-center field, where it appeared to hit the top of the wall and bounce back into play. Following a lengthy video review, umpires stuck with their original ruling of a two-out triple. Young did not score.
"I couldn't tell when it first hit," said center fielder Marisnick. "It looked like it came back in, from my view. That's how I played it. It looked like it hit the top of the wall and popped back in."
As a result, the Mets fell in danger of losing or tying their fourth consecutive series against the last-place Marlins. Matt Harvey will take the mound Thursday afternoon in an attempt to give New York the series victory.
But Collins' players could at least take solace in the fact that when they arrive at Marlins Park on Thursday morning, they will do so with the same 25 guys who lost Wednesday's game. Byrd and Parnell will be there, as will David Wright, who tweaked his right hamstring but expects to play Thursday. And Mejia and Young and right on down the line -- from the players with the deepest roots in the organization to those with the shallowest.
It did not necessarily have to be that way -- as Collins noted, "If stuff happens, you've got to adjust."
In one sense, the Mets even hope it will be different in the future.
"I'm just hoping that next year at this time we're in the hunt," Collins said. "And our names are being mentioned as trying to get somebody who can help us win."