Johan Santana didn't pitch especially badly last night. He looked great early, and got tagged for a few runs in the 5th and 6th innings. No matter. 6 innings, 3 runs, followed up by solid performances from Green, Takahashi and Stokes? Shouldn't be a problem for the Mets to offset 3 runs by the Pirates, right?
For the second night in a row, the Mets basically stood around and drooled on themselves while the Pirates ran past them. In response to the Pirates 3 runs, the Mets struck back with an 8 hit attack that generated all of 1 run.
After the game, people had the audacity to complain about Santana coming out of the game after 6 innings and 85 pitches, while in Toronto, Roy Halladay threw a 133-pitch complete game in which he gave up 4 runs. I suppose you can blame Santana for this loss, after all, he's supposed to be totally unhittable and throw a perfect game every time out, right? How dare he give up 3 runs to the meager Pirates? I'll fill everyone who has a problem with Santana's outing last night in. If Santana stayed in the game and pitched the 7th and 8th innings, the final score of last night's game would still have been Pirates 3, Mets 1. Because as great as Santana is on the mound, the one thing he can't do is make his offense score any runs.
The problem with the Mets seems to be a problem I've been talking about for as long as I've been writing this blog. The Mets have this annoying habit of going through extended stretches where they never generate any offense. Last night they weren't helped by Razor Shines getting yet another runner thrown out at Home Plate, and they followed that up by basically letting Zach Duke walk all over them for the rest of the night. I know that now, most of this is a side effect of missing Beltran, Reyes, Church and Delgado, and that once they come back, things should be better, but if they come back and still can't score any runs, much like they did early in the season when they were healthy, teams like Philly and the Yankees are going to feed the Mets their lunch. It's not going to be pretty. The Mets will have to generate at least 10 runs a game to compete with the Yankees in their new Wind Tunnel, and right now, I'm not totally sure that they'll generate 10 runs this week.
It's tough, particularly when guys keep getting injured repeatedly for the Mets, but making a big deal over losing Ramon Martinez does not compute. Last season, the Mets got 159 games or more out of Reyes, Wright, Beltran and Delgado, and they couldn't get over the top. Obviously, this season that's not going to happen, but the contingency plan so far seems to have been to just throw our hands up in the air and hope for the best.
The best, right now, looks like a 3rd or 4th place finish, unfortunately.