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You can't fault the Mets for their effort this season.
Use whatever cliched word you like -- grind, battle, fight, claw, scratch, playing with heart -- and go with it because they all fairly accurately describe the way the Mets have tried to succeed this season. That's commendable, but we'll quote the noted baseball manager Yoda to express just how far all that tryiing gets you.
"Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
Sunday's game is a perfect example of just how little it matters that you're game to put up a fight if your team can't actually deliver any knockout blows. The Mets showed all kinds of heart to score four late runs, but they were all for naught because the team fell behind 8-1 thanks to sloppy defense by Jason Bay and another maddening start for Mike Pelfrey.
Pelfrey cruised through four innings with just one run allowed and then let the wheels come off the bus in the fifth. He allowed a single to opposing pitcher Kyle Kendrick for the second time and, after another single, gave up the first home run of Michael Martinez's career.
Those two letdowns speak volumes about Pelfrey's entire career. He can pitch well enough to thrive in the big leagues, but he always seems to find a way to take his eye off the ball just long enough to make sure that it doesn't happen.
There is no trying, just doing.
Bay went 0-for-4 at the plate, with three at-bats coming with runners in scoring position, but saved the worst for last when he dropped a routine flyball off Ryan Howard's bat to touch off a three-run eighth inning that dimmed comeback hopes from plausible to laughable. Befitting the overall theme of today's griping, Bay has always tried since coming to New York but the result rarely reflects the effort.
Even with Saturday's big win against Cole Hamels by a lineup that was without Carlos Beltran on top of all the other injured parties, the major takeaway from the weekend was that the Mets aren't good enough to make a real run for the Braves in the Wild Card race. That should allow Sandy Alderson to start working the phone lines a little harder in search of deals that push the Mets in the right direction in the years to come.
We know Jose Reyes should be back on Tuesday and David Wright isn't far behind, so the talent level will be rising in the next few days. Are there really people who think it is going to rise high enough to overcome the obvious shortcomings and mathematical realities of the 2011 season, though?
We'd love to see the argument, but the first weekend of the second half mostly confirmed that the Mets' spirit is willing while their flesh is too weak.