Reality Bites the Mets Again and Again

Mets mount comeback before losing 7-6

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Apr 8, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM EDT
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Reality Bites the Mets Again and Again

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Coming back to tie a game that you once trailed 6-1 makes it hard to feel too upset about losing the second of 162 games in a season, but lord knows there are reasons why you could fly off the handle about the way the Mets performed on Wednesday night.

John Maine's start is an obvious one, both because of the fact that he threw 60 pitches through three innings en route to authoring a five inning, four run mediocrity and because there isn't much reason to think that he'll be capable of much more than that this season. For a guy who has been around the big leagues as long as Maine has, he looks as clueless about how to attack hitters as a guy on his first day on a lion taming job.

That's not a heart-warming thought. 

Nor is it heartwarming to see the 20-year-old phenom you rushed to the big leagues used when you're down three runs in the sixth inning. Nelson Figueroa could have handled such situations just fine while Jenrry Mejia worked on developing as a pitcher in the minor leagues. That's development he needs, by the way, since all he's got right now is a fastball that comes without much command and there's no secondary pitch to keep hitters guessing.

While mopping up for poor starts will probably be a real need for the Mets this season, it boggles the mind that the braintrust of the team believes this is the best use of Mejia at this point in his career. Most teams are fine using their 35-year-old fringe pitchers for such work, but the Mets cut theirs so they can stunt the development of a kid. Figueroa was claimed by Philly and while you normally don't lament the loss of such pitchers, this will likely prove to be an exception because the Phillies have proven to be a bit better at the personnel game in recent years.

The rest of the game -- Fernando Tatis getting thrown out trying to advance on a wild pitch, the shocking comeback fueled by a Marlins bullpen acting out absurdist drama, Jeff Francoeur walking for the second straight game, the eventual loss in extra innings -- was about shifts in luck that are neither predictable nor anything you can read much into. The other things, though, those are reasons to think these Mets will turn out exactly as we all feared they would.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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