Granderson, Wright weighing down offense

NEW YORK -- In normal times, perhaps David Wright's return could be part of the solution for the New York Mets' struggling offense.

In the Mets' 2014 world, Wright is a big part of the problem.

He came back Thursday after missing two games with neck spasms, and in some ways it looked as if he had never left. Wright went hitless, the Mets almost went scoreless, and they lost again, 6-1 to the Atlanta Braves.

A frustrated manager Terry Collins spoke of how the Mets have too many players who are trying to learn in the big leagues. But the two biggest culprits in the Mets' second-half offensive collapse have been the veterans, Wright and Curtis Granderson.

The Mets are baseball's lowest-scoring team since the break, with just 125 runs in 39 games. Every other team has at least 132 runs; the first-place Washington Nationals have 176, so they've outscored the Mets by more than 50 runs in just six weeks.

"We're going pretty quietly now," Collins said. "We have to change that."

How do you change it if your captain and No. 3 hitter goes six weeks without a home run, and three weeks without even an extra-base hit? How do you change it when your $60 million cleanup hitter or leadoff hitter or whatever Granderson is today has a .144 batting average and .243 slugging percentage in the second half (and a .198 slugging percentage in August)?

"You search for answers," Wright said. "The important thing for all of us is to finish up as strong as we can."

Thursday wasn't going to be an easy night against Mike Minor, the recently revived Braves left-hander. But almost no night is good for the Mets hitters, especially at Citi Field, where they've scored eight runs total in their past five games, and have scored more than three runs just once in their past 12 home games.

Wright and Granderson are hardly the only strugglers. Ruben Tejada is hitting .186 in the second half. Wilmer Flores is hitting .215. The only Mets regular hitting better than .254 since the All-Star break is Daniel Murphy, and he just went on the disabled list with a strained right calf.

As a team, the Mets are hitting .216 in the second half, with a .276 on-base percentage and a .325 slugging percentage. So as a team, the Mets have a .601 OPS in six weeks since the All-Star break.

You know what that makes them? It makes them a team of B.J. Uptons. Upton's OPS for the season is .604.

You don't win that way, and the Mets haven't been winning. The Mets haven't won a series since they took three of four in Philadelphia three weeks back.

The good news is the last-place Phillies are the next team on the Mets' schedule. The bad news is that the Phillies are relatively hot (coming off four straight wins), hot enough that they're only half a game behind the Mets in the NL East standings.

The good news is the Mets got David Wright in the lineup. The bad news is it's the same David Wright who hasn't been hitting for the past six weeks, returning to a lineup that hasn't been hitting, either.