Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Counting up the fundamental mistakes in last night's 6-4 Mets loss in St. Louis sounds like the list of gifts in "The 12 Days of Christmas."
No matter what your religion, you know the tune. Now go ahead and sing the following words to the tune of that song...A slip-and-fall in left, One man picked off, catcher's interference, not sliding home, a bases loaded walk, missing cutoff men, leaving runners on, leaving the bag too early, too brief at-bats, blowing a big lead...and a partridge in a pear tree, right?
In case you missed it, in the blink of an eye last night, the Mets went from a slide away from going up 5-4 to trailing 5-4, en route to a 6-4 loss in a game they once led, 4-0. 
Not pushing the panic button here, but right now the Mets don't look like a Major League ballclub. Daniel Murphy doesn't look at all like a Major League outfielder. No one besides Johan Santana has looked like a Major League starting pitcher — with the exception of one outing by Livan Hernandez and another by Oliver Perez — failing to turn in a quality start.
The hitters have been equally inept at bringing runners home from scoring position and while they muster good, multi-pitch at-bats in the early stages of the game, they don't replicate it later, often getting themselves out by putting the ball in play early in the count. In last night's disheartening loss, from the fifth inning on, Mets' hitters saw little over 40 pitches, about eight per inning.
The lightning of defeat flashed and stung quickly last night in the top of the 8th inning when Carlos Beltran daringly dashed home from third base on an errant throw — only to fail to slide at the last minute over the catcher's foot blocking his path, thus getting tagged for the third out. In what seemed an instant later, Brendan Ryan hit a routine line drive to left to Murphy, who promptly did his best Chevy Chase "Saturday Night Live" impression by slipping on an invisible banana peel in the grass — even helplessly flailing his glove at the ball for effect — while the ball rolled to the wall and Ryan raced to third base as the soon-to-be go-ahead run.
Murphy had already been picked off first base earlier in the game by Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina. But he and Beltran aren't alone in committing gaffes. 
Carlos Delgado, for the second time already this young season, came off the first base bag too early on a throw to him from shortstop Jose Reyes on what would've been an inning-ending double play, instead prolonging that inning. 
While we're on the subject of prolonging innings, Ramon Castro, who earlier did a face plant after tripping over Albert Pujols at first base after grounding out, contributed to the cause by allowing his glove to make contact with a Cardinals hitter's bat and getting called for catcher's interference.
And of course all this happened in yet another maddeningly uneven start by Perez, who was solid through four innings and cleverly getting out of tight spots...until allowing a leadoff single to the opposing pitcher and then starting a walk-a-thon. 
His replacement Casey Fossum, fresh from a Triple-A recall, relieved Perez with the bases loaded and subsequently failed to throw a pitch anywhere near the strike zone to the next hitter. Fossum forced in a run and immediately cementing his name for consideration in Mets annals as a candidate for futility in a debut appearance.
Time to push the panic button?
But it's not at all too late to wonder if sloppy April losses will come back to bite the Mets in their collective butts in October.
To paraphrase former Mets Manager Yogi Berra,  "It's getting late early."

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