ST. LOUIS — Through this stretch of inconsistent play the least of manager Luis Rojas’ worries has been starting pitching.
Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Taijuan Walker and David Peterson have all met or exceeded expectations, and the inordinate number of days off had allowed the Mets to forgo a fifth starter.
Monday night Rojas needed that No. 5 starter (with it deemed best to give deGrom extra rest), entrusted the ball to Joey Lucchesi and stuck with the left-hander too long in a 6-5 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium that snapped their two-game winning streak.
Lucchesi got jumped in the third inning, when he allowed five straight two-out hits. The biggest was Nolan Arenado’s three-run homer after the Cardinals slugger had appeared to strike out, but received new life when plate umpire Mark Carlson ruled a foul tip on the swing.
The Mets had a third straight solid offensive performance, but their failure to add on after early success against Adam Wainwright doomed them. Francisco Lindor, who extended his hitless drought to 0-for-21, was part of the problem. He batted in the sixth with the tying and go-ahead runs on base and was retired…