The Mets were defeated by the Florida Marlins today by the final score of 10-8. The loss gave the Marlins their first ever four-game sweep of the Mets in Florida. Since believing in comebacks Tuesday night against the Nationals, the Mets have dropped five straight contests and find themselves occupying the cellar in the National League East. What a difference a month makes!
On April 16, after playing ten games, the Mets were 3-7 and were buried in last place, five games behind the division-leading Phillies and two games behind the fourth-place Nationals. Of course, two weeks later, the Mets surprised everyone (including themselves) by running off an eight-game winning streak. In a fortnight, the Mets had crashed the penthouse suite in the NL East and had knocked the Phillies off their perch.
One month after the Mets were in last place, they find themselves back in the cellar, proving that they can go back home again, as long as home means shoddy pitching, poor defense and bringing up the rear in the NL East.
The Mets are now 18-20. However, with the way they've been playing recently, coupled with events that took place during the third inning of today's game, the Mets might be playing games this summer hoping to get back to being only two games below .500. Let's take a look at a few things.
Had the Mets not scored six runs in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's game against the Nationals, they would be in the midst of an eight-game losing streak, having lost last Sunday's series finale against the Giants and the first game of the series against the Nationals on Monday. Jerry Manuel's head would be on the chopping block and the fans would be lining up to release the guillotine.
Oliver Perez should stop making Mets fans grimace by robble-robbing the Wilpon's millions. It's plain and simple. He has no business being on a major league roster. When he's not sponsoring the latest walk-a-thon as part of Jerry's Kids, he's giving himself whiplash (not necessarily a bad thing) as well as the outfielders (a bad thing) by making everyone on the field turn their heads to watch the latest home run sail over the wall.
Jerry Manuel has already decided that he's not down with O.P.P. (Oliver Perez's Problems) and has relegated Ollie to the bullpen. However, what seemed to be the obvious choice with Hisanori "Don't Call Me Ken" Takahashi replacing Perez in the rotation is no longer a sure thing. In fact, it's not happening. Why's that? Because of today's starter, Jonathon "Don't Call Me Solly" Niese.
Jonathon Niese had to be removed from today's game after re-injuring his right hamstring in the third inning. This is the same hamstring that required season-ending surgery last year. As a result of Niese's injury, Takahashi was brought into the game and threw 59 pitches, making him unavailable to make Oliver Perez's next scheduled start on Wednesday.
The New York Times is reporting that Raul Valdes is being considered for the start on Wednesday. Long-suffering Mets fans (and by long-suffering, I mean since April) might recall that Valdes has stepped in for Oliver Perez before. It was Valdes who gave up a grand slam to the Cardinals' Felipe Lopez on April 16 to deny Oliver Perez of what would have been his only victory of the season. Perez had entered the seventh inning of that game with a 1-0 lead, only to be removed with one out and one on for Fernando Nieve-ryday. Nieve-ryday then hit Skip Schumaker and walked Matt Holliday before giving way to Raul Valdes and his magic gopher ball.
Therefore, to summarize:
Oliver Perez - Outie
Jonathon Niese - Ouchie
Don't Call Me Ken - Still in the 'pen
Raul Valdes and his Magic Gopher Ball - Coming soon to a mound near you
Fernando Nieve-ryday - Has a cool Studious Metsimus nickname
John Maine - Not mentioned here, but is about to throw ball sixteen.
The Mets' minor league team in Brooklyn is called the Cyclones, but it's the fans who have been taken on a roller coaster ride. We've had to watch the team go down, up and down again. The ride is not over yet, but with the way the team has been playing, some fans are looking forward to getting off the ride. Can you blame them? Why get on a rickety ride if the owners aren't willing to give it the proper repairs?
It might be a long season at Citi Field this year. Let's hope the ride gets better as the summer progresses.