NEW YORK -- Strikeouts are not the only issue with the Mets' offense, but the timing of their strikeouts ought not be overlooked. They struck out eight times in a 2-1 loss on Sunday, six in the first six innings against starter Alfonso Simon.
Four of the eight came in at-bats leading off innings, two with runners in scoring position. One other came with a runner on base. Five of the eight were by the first four batters in the order -- Eric Young, Daniel Murphy, David Wright (two) and Curtis Granderson.
A telling difference in the game: The Mets had runners on second and third with one out in the third after scoring their run. Their Nos. 2 and 3 hitters, Murphy and Wright, struck out. The Reds had the bases loaded and none out in the sixth, and their No. 3 hitter Joey Votto delivered a sacrifice fly.
Until pinch-hitter Lucas Duda had an eight-pitch at-bat in the eghth, the most pitches any Mets batter saw in one at-bat was seven -- by Jon Niese, who drew a walk in the third. Simon threw 79 pitches in completing his seven innings. The Mets saw six pitches in the fifth, one by Travis d'Arnaud, four Ruben Tejada and one by Niese.
The two runs the Reds scored in the sixth could have been linked to the limited rest afforded Niese in the innning. Niese and Terry Collins dismissed that notion. Niese said he was pleased with his stamina.