So, something rather predictable happened on Sunday afternoon. Given a 2-run lead in the 9th inning, Luis Ayala, anointed the closer, came in and gave up 2-singles and a 3-run HR to Ed Norton, who apparently climbed out of the sewer to beat the Mets. Wow. What a team.
I guess the same thing could have happened on Saturday afternoon as well, except that Scott Schoeneweis did a sufficient job of making sure it didn't even get to Ayala.
Many people will probably tell me that these guys rebounded and continued to play well in spite of this, even sweeping Milwaukee, and winning some hairy games against Washington, with whom they'll play 4 games of massive importance this week. You know, Washington, who the Mets got off to early leads against and then watched as they came back each time, and made both games much closer than they needed to be?
It's really funny the way the Mets work. I went into this in a bit of detail after the last meltdown in Philadelphia. Somehow the Mets seem to go into this complacent mode after they go up a few runs, like, say, a 4-2 lead in the 7th or 8th inning, and don't tack on, and teams realize this and keep playing. This is why teams don't like the Mets and don't respect the Mets, and then, the Mets have a pair of games like this in the middle of a pennant race that they spit up. And it happens all too often. It's one thing to blame Luis Ayala for blowing a 2-run lead, and he should be blamed for it because his outing yesterday was an absolute disgrace. But this wouldn't have happened had the Mets gone into the 9th inning with a 5-run lead, which is probably what they should have had, given the number of men they had on base.
As I, and perhaps every other Mets fan knows, every loss, especially every loss like the two to Atlanta over the weekend brings back that horrendous reminder of last season, and the ghosts start to come out, and the bad feelings return, and the questions start to get louder and louder until we all want to start tearing our hair out and run into the street screaming. 1 game up with 14 to play. My co-worker says the Mets should go 4-10. Yes, this isn't last year's team. Yes, this is a team that's shown the ability to come back and charge ahead despite some damaging losses. But now's the time they really have to do it, and it means that Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado can't be giving away At Bats with a 2-run lead. Let them get an 8-run lead, then, they still shouldn't give away at bats. Washington is terrible and the Mets blasted them for 23 runs in 2 games last week, and somehow that was just barely enough. This time, the Mets don't need to just win. They need to beat Washington's heads in. I mean some 9-2, 13-4 games. Philadelphia's got the hot hand again, and you know them and their gum-flappers and their tiny ballpark. The Mets have to keep pace. Now isn't the time to start sucking each other's popsicles.