The Mets Roller Coaster Hits Bottom Again

Five runs in three days is a sure way to wind up swept

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jun 18, 2012  |  Updated 8:32 AM EDT
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The Mets Roller Coaster Hits Bottom Again

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There are plenty of different ways to go 3-6 over a nine-game span.

None of those ways is particularly satisfying since they all lead to the same 3-6 record. There's little question about which way is the least satisfying, however.

That would be getting swept in a three-game series, sweeping your opponent in the next three games and then getting swept to close out the run. Swinging from abject depression to the thrill of victory and back again over such a short period of time leaves you feeling wrecked because you have no sense of which way is up under those circumstances.

Feeling wrecked isn't anything new for Mets fans, but the fact that the team finds new and different ways to make life miserable is something that is appreciated. Anyone can find ways to hang around .500, but at least the Mets make it interesting.

After they scored 29 runs while beating the Rays, who had the AL's best ERA as a staff, in three games on the road, who wouldn't have expected that they'd come home and manage five runs against the Reds? Anyone who has been watching the Mets for a long time had to know that something bad was coming after that sweep in Tampa.

The wheels may not have ever come off the bus, but there were enough little mistakes that added up to make the whole weekend a lost cause. The defense wasn't good, the offense couldn't take advantage of opportunities and the pitchers saw their occasional mistakes magnified by the other failings.

Jon Niese made one really bad pitch all day on Saturday and it resulted in a three-run first inning home run by Jay Bruce that gave the Reds all they needed in a 4-1 win. Chris Young got into trouble in the fifth inning of Sunday's 3-1 loss and Lucas Duda helped make it worse with a terrible throw that handed the Reds their third run of the inning.

Neither Niese nor Young pitched poorly, but they got no offense to help their cause. The one night where the bats were a little lively was Friday, when the Mets hit two home runs but Dillon Gee faltered on the mound during a 7-3 loss.

One of the runs off Gee came when Jason Bay concussed himself in pursuit of Bruce's shot to the wall. Bay's injury turned Bruce's ball into an inside-the-park home run and it also sent the Citi Field crowd into a cauldron of booing directed at the pariah that Bay has become in Queens. 

Let's just stipulate for the record that booing players who are injured is a major foul by the crowd, even if the guy being booed has been as much of a failure as Bay has been since signing with the team. Understandable, perhaps, but really wrong and a bad moment from fans who know better generally and should have known better in this specific instance.

Bay's second concussion in two years might be the light at the end of the tunnel that has been his Mets career. There's now finally an out that makes it easier not to play Bay and focus the lineup on players who will be part of the solution to the problems he has wrought.

He's on the special disabled list for concussions right now, but it would be very easy to just slide him off to the 60-day DL and forget he ever existed before releasing him come the offseason. It's a lot of money to eat, but it's easier to just eat it than it is to watch it being burned on the field every time Bay returns from injury and briefly makes you believe there's hope before reverting to the same old misery.

Sort of like the way his team has played over the last nine games, come to think of it. It's one thing to be bad, it's quite another to find the most painful possible way to convey how bad you are.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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