If there was any positive from the Mets' 2-1 loss to the Cubs Sunday afternoon, it was Rafael Montero's effort in just his sixth career start, where he tossed 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball, struck out six and pitched into the eighth inning for the first time as a big leaguer.
Montero will likely be sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas next weekend when Jacob deGrom returns from the DL, but nonetheless, the rookie's impressive start surely had to boost his confidence as well as the manager's.
However, one thing that continues to plague the Mets (59-66) is their extreme lack of hitting over the past two series at Citi Field.
New York's lineup has not totaled more than four hits in any of their past four games.
Over the past six games, the Mets have scored 15 total runs, averaging 2.5 runs per game and only exceeding 3 runs once (on Saturday's 7-3 win over Chicago, where the Mets also only had four hits).
The lack of offensive production is proving costly for Terry Collins' team who just last week found themselves 7.5 games out of first and 6 games out of a Wild Card spot.
Following a sweep from Washington where New York was outscored 14-4, and two wins in three games over the Cubs, the Mets now sit 11.5 games behind the first-place Nationals in the N.L East.
Fortunately, things aren't as ugly for the Mets in the Wild Card race.
New York is 7 games back of the top two slots, with Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Miami and Cincinnati all in catching distance ahead.
For the Mets to make any kind of push from the middle of the N.L pack towards the top, they must find offensive production wherever they can get it. New York's starting pitching has not been the problem, but their porous hitting performances over the last week have really come to hurt them in the race.
The Mets will look to finish off the Cubs (53-70) Monday afternoon at Citi Field when Carlos Torres (5-5, 3.68) starts in replacement of Bartolo Colon, who was scratched Monday to join his "extremely ill" mother in the Dominican Republic.
Torres will oppose Cubs' RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-1, 1.73).
David Wright, who left Saturday's game with shoulder issues after being hit by a pitch and missed Sunday's game, will return to the lineup Monday in the series-finale with Chicago.