By HAL McCOY
Since the All-Star break the New York Mets traded Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Addison Reed. And Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, Conforto, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler are on the disabled list.
Is it any wonder that a team with a $150 million payroll is 17 games under .500 with a roster populated by minor leaguers?
It doesn’t seem to make any difference to the Cincinnati Reds. They can’t beat them.
The Mets won their eighth straight against the Reds at Citi Field, this time by 5-1 on Friday night.
Rookie Amir Garrett made his return to the mound and gave up three home runs during his five-inning evening, two to leadoff batter Jose Reyes.
While the Mets lead the National League with 205 home runs, the Reds lead the majors in home runs given up with 228.
Garrett gave up four runs, five hits, walked two and struck out five — but three of those five hits were home runs.
Cody Reed followed Garrett for his first appearance since his recall from Class AAA Louisville this week and gave up back-to-back doubles to open the sixth inning and a run scored on Scooter Gennett’s throwing error to home plate.
The Reds were facing Seth Lugo, he of a 5-and-4 record and a 5.00 earned run average. They scored no runs on four hits and a walk against him.
The Mets first run off Garrett came on a home run by rookie Travis Taijeron in the second inning. He was hitting .109 when he connected for his first major league home run.
Garrett retired the first two in the fifth inning, but while striking out Matt Reynolds something grabbed in his leg. After he threw a few practice pitches he remained in the game.
But pitcher Lugo singled and Reyes connected for his second home run of the game to push New York’s lead to 4-0.
Manager Bryan Price continued his parade of rookies out of the bullpen with Ariel Hernandez (one inning, one strikeout) and Luke Farrell (one inning, one hit) finishing the game.
The Reds had only two legitimate scoring opportunities and one failed in the fourth inning and one in the ninth inning produced one run, good enough only to prevent a shutout.
Jose Peraza singled and took second on a balk. Joey Votto, who had two hits to extend his hitting streak to six games, walked to put runners on second and first with no outs. Adam Duvall flied to left and Scooter Gennett singled to fill the bases with one out.
But Eugenio Suarez struck out and Scott Schebler was robbed when second baseman Gavin Cecchini snagged his line drive.
They faced University of Dayton left hander Jerry Blevins in the ninth and Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez opened with singles. After Scott Schebler struck out, Tucker Barnhart singled to center on a full count to fill the bases with one out.
That forced Mets manager Terry Collins to go to his closer, A.J. Ramos, to face pinch-hitter Zack Cozart. He picked on the first pitch and flied to deep left, a sacrifice fly that did nothing more than avoid a shutout.
Phillip Ervin, who earlier in the game extended his hitting streak to six games, flied to right field to end it.