When the Albuquerque Isotopes left town at the beginning of the month, the Las Vegas 51s were on a roll, having won three straight games.
But since then, the 51s have gone in the other direction.
May, in a few words, has not been kind to the Las Vegas 51s.
Las Vegas entered the day having won two games in the month against five losses.
They lost again Monday 8-4 to Albuquerque at Isotopes Park, marking their sixth loss in seven games.
As the New York Mets deal with injuries — and most recently a team-imposed three-game suspension to starter Matt Harvey — the calls down to Las Vegas have become frequent.
And that, to an extent, has had an impact on the 51s.
Among other things, the 51s (14-18) had to start two relievers — Kevin McGowan and Logan Taylor — on Friday and Sunday respectively as the Mets took starters Rafael Montero and Adam Wilk on short notice, leaving their bullpen taxed. Wilk was DFA’d shortly after, meaning if he does wind up coming back to Las Vegas, it won’t be immediately.
But not all of the 51s’ problems can be placed there.
With the loss Monday, the 51s have now been outscored 49-30 in eight games since May began.
“Offensively we need to tighten everything up a little bit and simplify the process of taking each at-bat one at a time,” acting manager and hitting coach Jack Voigt said. “From a pitching standpoint, it’s let me make the pitches I need to make and try to force some contact and use my defense getting ahead instead of pitching behind.”
Voigt, too, pointed out the relative age of the 51s and the number of players in their first year in Triple-A.
“When you go to a new level, there’s adjustments to be made,” Voigt said. “There’s different ways to handle things and it’s a learning curve. There’s no doubt that these guys are going to learn. We wish it would come right away but in this game it just doesn’t happen that way.”
Monday, things started off well for the 51s, with Brandon Nimmo homering on the second pitch of the game.
The next batter, Desmond Jennings, tripled and was immediately driven in on an Amed Rosario sacrifice fly.
But from there on out, it was almost all Albuquerque.
The Isotopes (17-14) tied the game in the bottom of the frame with a Mike Tauchman two-run home run.
They jumped out to a lead with three in the third off of 51s starter Ricky Knapp, thanks to RBI singles from Noel Cuevas and Jordan Patterson and an RBI double from Tauchman.
Knapp gave up one more run in his outing for six total in five innings.
The 51s did score twice more in the later innings with a bases-loaded walk to Xorge Carrillo in the eighth inning forcing in a run and Amed Rosario hitting his second home run of the year in the ninth with two outs.
“They had some pitchers that pitched pretty well and we really couldn’t get anything going offensively with any kind of consistent hitting back-to-back-to-back until late in the game when we loaded the bases. But we’d either end a little bit of a rally with a strikeout on some chases out of the zone or grounding into a double play,” Voigt said.
So Tuesday, for the second straight series, they’ll try to fend off a sweep.
“We’ve got one more game here tomorrow, another 11 o’clock (MDT) game that’s going to end a real tough stretch of games here for us with a lot of weird scheduling,” Voigt said. “The schedule as far as physically and mentally has been really tough the last two weeks.”
Who: Las Vegas 51s at Albuquerque Isotopes
When: 10:05 a.m. Tuesday
Where: Isotopes Park, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Starters: Sean Gilmartin (0-1, 8.10 ERA) vs. Jeff Hoffman (2-2, 3.71 ERA)
Thursday: Omaha at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Omaha at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Omaha at Las Vegas, 7:05 p.m.
Sunday: Omaha at Las Vegas, 12:05 p.m.
The New York Mets signed lefty Tommy Milone and designated Adam Wilk for assignment. Wilk, who has spent most of the year starting for the 51s, was added to the 25-man roster (and the 40-man roster) the day before to start in place of Matt Harvey, who the team suspended for three days. … Outfielder Victor Cruzado came off of the disabled list on Monday. Cruzado hasn’t played since the first game of the season, dealing with an oblique injury.
Contact Betsy Helfand at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @BetsyHelfand on Twitter.