Jeff McNeil didn’t try to hide his emotions.
With runners at the corners and one out in the fourth, McNeil grounded into an inning-ending double play. Shortstop Brandon Crawford worked his defensive magic, fielding McNeil’s grounder, sprinting to second base, then firing to first on the run to complete the twin killing. As has been the theme lately, New York couldn’t capitalize.
As first baseman Brandon Belt squeezed the ball, McNeil ripped off his helmet and slammed it to the ground, throwing it with such force that it rolled to the infield’s warning track. The moment summarized not just the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Giants on Tuesday at Oracle Park, but the last couple weeks. New York is below .500 for the first time since May 5, and to be under par this far into the season, well, that doesn’t bode well for any odds the Mets still have at the postseason.
While the postseason once seemed like a lock, the Mets now find themselves on the outside looking in. The Braves have won five straight games. The Phillies rattled off eight straight wins to begin the month and firmly inserted themselves into the playoff hunt. For the second Wild Card spot — the first will, more than likely, go to the Giants or Dodgers — there’s the likes of the Padres, Reds and Cardinals to contend with.