- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Mets' bats have been absent for the entire second half and Bay -- the poster boy for the Mets' offensive struggles for much of the season -- has been sidelined since July 25 with a concussion. He started running for the first time since being placed on the disabled list, which qualifies as the only positive news to come out of soggy Sunday night at Citi Field.
Jerry Manuel's club scored just nine runs in six games against the Rockies and Phillies, a season-low for a homestand.
"We're struggling right now with the bats," Manuel said after the Mets dropped a season-high 10 games back of the Braves in the NL East. "We've got to find a way to unlock it, period."
Prior to the first pitch on Sunday night, Manuel said the rubber game against the Phillies offered his struggling club a chance to make a charge back into contention.
"Now is the time," the Met manager said. "Now is the time to make that run."
Instead, the Mets got off to a false start, due in part to an inability to hit in the clutch; they went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position Sunday night. They hit .088 with runners in scoring position over the homestand, during which they went 3-3 and dropped 1 1/2 games in the division standings.
The Mets (58-59) entered the second half at 48-40 and four games out of first. You don't have to look any further than their offensive numbers to find a reason why they've fallen so far out of the race after the All-Star break.
The Mets entered Sunday night's game ranked last in the National League in runs per game (2.86), batting average (.212), average with runners in scoring position (.187), on-base percentage (.275) and slugging percentage (.325) since the All-Star break.
"I think the numbers speak for themselves," said third baseman David Wright, who is just 5-for-44 in August. "This isn't a team that's really built around playing for the three-run home run. We've got to produce runs and manufacture runs and we're not getting a lot of base runners to do that."
Wright says it's "frustrating" that the offense hasn't produced for a pitching staff that has given this team a chance to win more often than not in recent weeks.
Mets starters have allowed more than one earned run just twice in nine starts and have allowed three runs or fewer in 22 of 29 second-half games. They are 7-12 with 10 no-decisions after the All-Star break.
"There's a lot of pressure put on the starting pitcher to basically be perfect to win games right now," Wright said.
Stats aside, a better indication of where the Mets are is this: Sunday night starter Mike Pelfrey made a reference to the team's gut-wrenching collapse in 2007 as a reason to believe the Mets are still alive.
"I think you've got to remember, [in 2007] we had a seven-game lead or whatever with 17 left. There's a lot more than 17 games left, so anything can happen," Pelfrey said. "We've just got to continue to work, continue to play hard and we'll see what happens."
Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.
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