LOS ANGELES — The Mets’ lack of athleticism, pitching woes and front-office stubbornness are all part of the real challenge this 31-38 team faces.
Combined with the injuries, it has all caught up to Sandy Alderson’s club as the Mets trail the Nationals by 10 ¹/₂ games in the NL East.
The Mets are in an even worse spot for the wild card, 12 games back in the loss column of the rampaging West teams, as the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks each have only 26 losses.
On Monday night at Dodger Stadium, the Mets ran into the major league’s rookie sensation not named Aaron Judge.
Cody Bellinger, who’s father, Clay, was a Yankee, blasted two more home runs in the Dodgers’ 10-6 win to give him 21 home runs over his first 51 career games, the most in MLB history to start a career.
“It’s unbelievable,’’ Terry Collins said. “This guy swings the bat. He hits it on the barrel.’’
The Mets, who are built around the home run, hit four, including two by Jose Reyes.
Bellinger is all of 21. That’s the same age as Amed Rosario.
Despite all the issues surrounding his team, Alderson is holding out hope the Mets can make a run.
“We are [far] back in the wild-card race, but we are way behind only two teams,’’ Alderson told The Post. “It’s not like we have to climb over eight teams. That’s something that has to happen over the next several weeks, we’ve got to start picking up games.’’
Essentially the Mets still are holding out hope they will beat the lesser teams.
The Mets, from Alderson on down, have been a cocky team from the start. That came with the territory when Noah Syndergaard was healthy and running around like a comic book character.
They need a reality check.
They’ve lost five of the last seven games and have surrendered 9.2 runs per game in those losses. No team can hit that many home runs to overcome such a deficit.
The Mets hit four home runs off Clayton Kershaw, the most he has ever surrendered in a game, but it still wasn’t enough.
Bellinger blasted a three-run homer against Zack Wheeler in the first and a solo shot in the second as Wheeler had his second straight terrible outing.
The Dodgers (a season-high 17 hits) are getting another terrific season from Justin Turner, who was thrown onto the scrap heap by the Mets and Alderson. Turner (four hits) hit a two-run home run in the second and a run-scoring double in the sixth. In 434 games with the Dodgers, Turner is batting .308. Pretty, pretty good as Larry David might say. Because of David Wright’s injuries, third base has been a difficult position for the Mets to fill.
Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner celebrate after the Dodgers’ win.Getty Images
Turner is following the same torture-the-Mets path as former teammate Daniel Murphy.
The Mets are all about home runs, and Gavin Cecchini hit the first home run of his major league career in the fifth, a two-run shot off Kershaw. The Mets also got a solo shot by Jay Bruce.
Alderson has always believed in the power of the home run from the time he drafted Mark McGwire in 1984, and this year is no different.
With the Mets losing so many strikeout pitchers to injuries, though, it is even more important now to improve the defense.
Alderson said the Mets still have good players, and he is putting the pressure on those “good’’ players to produce.
The Mets should face an easier road ahead. Once they get past these four games against the Dodgers, it’s on to San Francisco, where the Giants continue to slump, and on to Miami, where the Marlins are having another putrid season.
Alderson is going to have to adjust how he puts together a team. Jeff Wilpon, the Mets COO, is also going to have to
adjust, too. The plan needs to change. After a World Series visit in 2015 and a one-game postseason visit last season, the Mets are now staring into the abyss.
It’s a long way down.