Notes: Mets eager to stop scuffling
Players call on bats to take charge with Yanks looming
LOS ANGELES -- When they arrived in Los Angeles for their three-game series with the Dodgers, the Mets were optimistic that their slump through the start of June was an anomaly, the sort of slide that happens to every team and not a cause for panic.Two days and two loses later, with their offense running into strong Dodgers pitching and a visit to Yankee Stadium and Roger Clemens awaiting them, the Mets upped their verbal ante before Wednesday's series finale. It began with David Wright on Tuesday night and several veterans said Wednesday afternoon that the team's 2-9 record in June must come to an immediate halt. "We're not scoring runs, and we're not getting hits," first baseman Carlos Delgado said. "Let's bear down a little, let's focus a little, let's do what we need to do." It won't be easy for the Mets, who entered the series finale losers of four consecutive series against quality opponents and facing Brad Penny on Wednesday and Clemens on Friday. "The guys are not happy," manager Willie Randolph said. "They're not ready to cut their wrists or anything, but they know tonight is the time to get it done." The Mets pitched well in the first two games, but the Dodgers bullpen was outstanding, putting an extra degree of pressure on the Mets to swing the bats. "I don't think it's confidence," closer Billy Wagner said. "I think it's more along the lines of frustration. It's not a lack of effort. It's a lack of focus. You need a few things to go your way, but the only way to get that is to make it happen. For the last 12 games, we haven't done that." Aside from Wright, who extended his hitting streak to 15 games with an opposite-field RBI single in the first inning against Penny on Wednesday night, the Mets haven't done a lot offensively. They had small leads in each of the first two games, but did not score past the fourth inning in either. They have dropped series to the Dodgers, Tigers, Phillies and D-backs. The Mets have not won consecutive games since May 27 and May 29 against the Marlins and Giants, respectively. To complicate matters for the Mets are the Yankees, who won their eighth straight game on Wednesday night. A loss for the Mets on Wednesday would extend their losing streak to five games. Left-hander Tom Glavine will pitch for the Mets on Saturday. He speculated there may be no tougher place for the Mets to play than Yankee Stadium. "Not that I can think of," Glavine said. "Between the competition, the rivalry in the city and among the fans, it tends to seem to bring out a little more hostility in people. That usually finds its way down to the field." That means the Mets must block out distractions and focus in winning. "It's always more of an emotionally charged series when we play those guys, but there's no question that we have to start playing better," Glavine said. "Hopefully we come in with some emotion and a different level of intensity." There's a small degree of consolation in the fact that the Mets have been struggling against good teams. As Delgado put it, "We're not playing the Bad News Bears." Wagner noted that the Mets want to face good teams. They also have the Twins, Athletics and Cardinals in the near future. "Good teams rise to the occasion," he said. "You play to win the series or you at least play well enough to win. We haven't really shown we're a good team during this stretch. I like playing these teams. I think it's good for you. I think there's a good chance you may face one of these teams in the playoffs. You can get familiar with them." In the meantime, the Mets will try to get familiar with winning again when they try to salvage the series finale Wednesday against the Dodgers. "Maybe I'll just do a Billy Martin and kick the food table," Randolph said. "We'll get through this and earn a little payback later on, hopefully starting tonight." Mets bits: Mets reliever Joe Smith bounced back from his first poor Major League outing, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings on Tuesday night. ... Rookie Carlos Gomez did not start in left field on Wednesday, in favor of veteran Ricky Ledee. ... Wright's 15-game hitting streak is his second 15-game hitting streak of the season.
Up next: Oliver Perez will lead the Mets into the Bronx to take on Clemens and the Yankees at 7:05 ET on Friday night in the opener of the Yankee Stadium chapter of the 2007 Subway Series. The Mets won two of three at Shea Stadium from May 18-20.
John Klima is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.