Yesterday, for the second day in a row, the New York Mets wasted one of baseball's more valuable commodities, a quality start. The bullpen that Minaya built for this season is like the straw house that one of the three little pigs constructed. It's falling apart. But then, it wasn't built to last. Not when it contains ex-starter Aaron Sele (5.26), ex-starter Jorge Sosa (4.30), Steve Schoeneweis (5.02), and Guillermo "Buzzard Luck" Mota (5.71). (Their ERAs are in parentheses.)
The bullpen's latest victims were Pedro Feliciano and Jorge Sosa. In 1.2 innings they gave up three hits and four runs.
It wasn't just the Mets relievers who weren't getting the job done. The Mets batters managed just eight hits off six Phillies pitchers. But then, the Mets hitters aren't as good as the Phillies', so when the Phillies pitchers pitch a good game, the Mets are in trouble.
This season, Jimmy Rollins is better than Jose Reyes. Chase Utley is a better hitter, if not a better player than anyone on the Mets' roster. And the Mets don't have a power hitter that can compare to Ryan Howard.
Reyes, in particular, has not played well in the last two Phillies series.
In the first game on Friday, Reyes stepped to the plate six times, struck out twice, and reached base once; he also failed to it around the bases. In the second game, Reyes had five plate appearances. He reached base three times, twice on walks, once on a hit. Though he stole two bases, he couldn't cross the plate.
In August when the Phils swept the Mets, in game one Reyes went 0-4, neither walking nor scoring any runs; in game two, he went 0-5 with no walks nor runs; in game three, he went 1-3 with a walk but no runs; and in game four, a 11-10 loss, he couldn't get a hit but walked twice and scored once, going 0-3. So in the last six Phillies games, all loses, Reyes scored only once.
A pattern seems to be developing.
It's my guess that when Reyes fails to score any runs, the Mets have a losing record.
Unfortunately, yesterday there was no win by a Mets' minor league team that could cushion the big club's loss. The season's over for their minor league affiliates, and it could be nearing an end for the Men of Shea, who've been playing more like boys.
There was some good news. El Duque's admitted that his foot's still not healed enough for him to return to the mound. ESPN reported that "Hernandez said Saturday it's still bothering him during his delivery."
He never should have made his last start. It was obvious to everyone but Mets' management that El Duque wasn't ready to return. His sore foot obviously affected his ability to pitch: The Braves used him for batting practice, scoring eight earned runs in three plus innings.
Regarding El Duque's status, here's what the Mets' manager had to say about it: "I think we're going to err on the side of caution," Randolph said. "If there is any question or whatever then he won't pitch."
He should take that same caution the next time the thought enters his mind to throw Guillermo Mota into a close game.