So much for that 3 1/2-game lead the Mets had over the Phillies. Down to a scant game. It makes no difference the next four games are against the Washington Nationals. Since the Mets won’t have a starter going nine, the games are up for grabs.
Twenty-seven blown saves this year tells me there’s no comfort level and there are constant reminders of last year. Manager Jerry Manuel isn’t in denial.
“For us, coming down the stretch at this point, every loss is a reminder of last year,” Manuel said. “What we have to do is get through it. We have to win games to prevent that from being a subject matter. That’s the way it is. We have to deal with it.”
Today was a crusher, and that’s even before the Phillies play their second game tonight against Milwaukee. With a win, they can close even with the Brewers for the wild-card and a game behind the Mets.
The same old issues did in the Mets today. They didn’t hit in the clutch and their bullpen caved. Oliver Perez did not pitch well, but was in position to win. It looks as if Perez regressed in his last few starts and that’s another cause for concern.
If the Mets didn’t take care of business against the Braves at home, it makes you wonder if they can do it next week against them in Atlanta. And, the Washington Nationals always play them tough. For games in DC won’t be a breeze.
Pedro Martinez goes tomorrow, but your guess is as good as mine as to what he’ll give the Mets. His durability is an issue, and you know he can’t be counted on for more than five.
The Mets lost a coin flip today against Philadelphia. If the teams haven’t both clinched at least the wild card and tied for first at the end of 162 games, the one-game tiebreaker will be in Philly. If they’ve both clinched a playoff spot, the Mets would win the NL East because they took the season series.
Johan Santana needs to earn his money tonight. The Mets have dropped two straight to the Phillies, and if they lose tonight they are tied for first and don’t think for a moment thoughts of the collapse won’t resurface, if they haven’t already.
“That’s why you have a Johan,’’ manager Jerry Manuel said. “We’re not quite clicking like we were. It’s unfortunate come home after a good road trip and not be clicking.
“Hopefully, Johan can keep us in the game.”
I would hope the expectations are higher than that.