I hoped the Mets would close out this disappointing season strong, if for no other reason than to leave a fresh taste in their mouths.
It won’t happen.
For the 25th time in their 49-year existence, the Mets will finish with a losing record. They enter the final weekend of the season against the Washington Nationals having lost nine of their last 12 games, including three straight to Milwaukee.
Nothing could have saved Jerry Manuel, and this finish only underscores change is needed.
There are a lot of glaring records that explain the Mets’ demise this season, including a 7-8 record against Washington, of which they are 2-4 at home.
How can a team call itself a contender when it routinely loses to the worst team in the division?
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Last night’s doubleheader loss to the Milwaukee Brewers just about said it all about the 2010 Mets. On the day after an emotional, come-from-behind ninth-inning victory, the Mets responded with the poorest of efforts. In the first game Jon Niese hit a wall, showing he has more work to do, and the makeshift bullpen couldn’t hold down the Brewers.
The Mets rallied, but it fell short.
In the nightcap, as he has all year, RA Dickey gave the Mets a chance to win, but the offense went into hiding.
Oh, during the festivities, the Mets learned Carlos Beltran’s right knee is sore and he’ll be shut down for the remainder of the season. Beltran being hurt again only adds to the growing list of questions for the offseason.
The Mets play Milwaukee tonight, then close the season with three games against the Washington Nationals. They must run the table to finish .500.
For all the talk about the Mets needing starting pitching, they are going through a stretch now where that seems inconceivable.
Game #63 at Orioles
After winning the first two games of their series at Baltimore behind RA Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi (who gave up one run in a combined 14 innings), the Mets have pitched to a major league-leading 2.31 ERA in June as they have won eight of their last ten games.
They look to complete the road sweep – it would be their first in two years, and first ever in interleague play – behind the sizzling Mike Pelfrey (8-1, 2.23 ERA), who is seeking his fifth straight victory.
The last three-game road series they swept was Sept. 1-3, 2008, at Milwaukee.
The Mets will attempt to snap their road doldrums tonight in Milwaukee when Fernando Nieve (1-2, 5.09 ERA) comes out of the bullpen. It’s not as if this is new to him, as he was 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA in seven starts last year before a torn right quadriceps ended his season.
“If he does well, he will continue to get the ball,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “And if we come into a situation where we have too many starters, I think that’s all good, too.’’
The start comes after a rocky May in which had a 7.20 ERA for the month, perhaps brought on by over use. Nieve said he prefers this role.
After another successful homestand – and it doesn’t get much better than a shutout sweep of the Phillies – the Mets hit the road to Milwaukee and San Diego.
Bizarre scheduling, yes, but nonetheless another obstacle for the Mets and challenge for manager Jerry Manuel. The whispers have eased about his job, but if they continue to stumble away from Citi Field could easily resurface.
This trip is one letter away from a trap, in that the Mets must guard against the inevitable letdown after beating the Yankees and Phillies. Milwaukee has the worst home record, but hasn’t always been an easy place to play for the Mets and the Padres have a good team.
The Mets are bearing down on the Phillies for the NL East lead, but they are still only a few games over .500 and have shown little ability thus far at winning on the road.
A baseball season is long and arduous. It is about sustaining power and that’s something we haven’t yet seen this year.