For the first time this season, the Mets are searching for answers offensively.
Through two games against the Dodgers, the Mets have failed to string hits together. They have been limited to eight hits in the first 18 innings of the series, dropping a 6-1 loss in the second game on Friday night at Dodger Stadium.
It has been a sudden squeeze for the Mets (35-19) who were coming off scoring eight or more runs in six of their previous nine games.
So far, the Dodgers (35-17) have looked like the class of the National League in a battle of the two teams with the best records in the league. Here is what the Mets showed during the second game of the series on Friday night:
While the Mets offense has been clicking through the season, leading Major League Baseball in hits and team batting average, one area that has lagged behind has been their efficiency against left-handed pitching.
They are in the middle of the pack with a .248 batting average and .713 OPS against lefties—13th and 15th in MLB, respectively.
That showed itself on Friday night against Dodgers starter Tyler Anderson and his deceptive delivery.
Anderson kept the Mets on their toes with his near-even mix of fastballs and changeups. He only needed 82 pitches to toss six innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five. Eduardo Escobar provided two of those hits.
The other against Anderson was a single from JD Davis that was wiped away on a double play in the next at-bat.
In the first two nights of the series, the Dodgers starting pitching of Anderson and Tony Gonsolin has held the Mets scoreless and limited them five hits in 12 innings. Anderson has not given up a run across his last 26 innings.
The long way
After posting a sterling 4-2 record with a 2.34 ERA in his first six starts, Chris Bassitt has been plagued by the home-run ball lately.
In his last five starts, he has given up seven home runs.
That continued on Friday night as the Dodgers’ only damage off Bassitt came when they cleared the fence. He gave up a two-run home run to Cody Bellinger in the second inning and a two-run home run to Zach McKingstry in the fourth inning. Both came on hanging cutters.
Otherwise, it was a strong start by Bassitt, who threw 110 pitches across six innings. It was the most pitches thrown by a Mets starter this season, surpassing Max Scherzer’s 102 which came in his home debut against the Giants on April 17.
Bassitt also struck out eight batters, matching a season high. Three of his runs were earned as he gave up five hits and two walks. It was his first loss since May 2 as he fell to 4-3.
Stephen Nogosek gave up his first earned run in 10 innings on a home run to Chris Taylor in the eighth inning. His ERA bounced to 0.90.
Mets fans could feel a little reassurance in seeing Francisco Lindor back at shortstop for the second game of the series.
Lindor was back in the lineup and the field one night after he shut his middle finger on his right hand in a hotel door. Before the game, Buck Showalter told reporters that the finger had a slight fracture.
Lindor still took his spot in the No. 3 spot in the lineup and at shortstop. However, he saw his 10-game RBI streak snapped as he went 0-for-4 in the loss.
In the field, that throwing hand was tested right away on a ground ball by Mookie Betts to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Lindor threw a strike to Pete Alonso at first.
He was only called upon one more time in the field, skipping a throw that Alonso gloved to avoid an error in the eighth inning.
After the Mets offense looked stuck in the mud for the first 15 innings against the Dodgers, Alonso finally provided a lift.
Alonso ripped the first pitch of Yensy Almonte’s relief appearance 433 feet over the left-field fence for the first and only run for the Mets in the series in the seventh inning.
The Mets first baseman was coming off a three-strikeout performance in the series opener. Alonso’s 14 home runs trail only Betts’ 16 for the National League lead.
The solo shot moved Alonso’s RBI total to 48 as he retook the lead in the NL.
Brandon Nimmo’s wrist injury interrupted a good thing.
Nimmo was on a 10-game hitting streak before the discomfort began to intensify. Nimmo sat out the next three games but was able to avoid a stint on the 10-day injured list.
That absence seems to have disrupted Nimmo’s momentum.
In the three games since his return, Nimmo is 0-for-12 with three strikeouts; he was 0-for-3 during Friday’s loss. He reached first base after being hit in the back with one out in the sixth inning but could not advance.
Nimmo is now slashing .272/.365/.420, figures that have slipped from .301/.419/.456 on May 15.
Andrew Tredinnick is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @andrew_tred
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Observations as the NY Mets lose second game of series against Dodgers