Ramon Martinez Can't Hit Sixth For the Mets

Team can't win with team they ran out on Tuesday night

Jeremy Reed, Omir Santos and Angel Pagan. Those are three people who have probably never been in your kitchen, but they are also the three people who came to bat against Los Angeles Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton in the ninth inning of last night's 5-3 Mets loss. Sitting on the bench and unused were Luis Castillo and Fernando Tatis, who may not be perfect ballplayers but do have the fact that they aren't named Reed, Santos or Pagan to recommend them.

Jerry Manuel's hands have been tied a bit by the injuries to Alex Cora and Carlos Delgado, but that's not an excuse for filling out a lineup card featuring Ramon Martinez batting sixth and playing second base. And it's really not an excuse for allowing him to hit with two on and one out in the top of the eighth inning as if he weren't the same Ramon Martinez who has been a mediocre major league hitter every season since 1998.

Chad Billingsley's wildness, which led to John Maine's bases loaded single, are the only reasons they were in this game long enough for the punchless quartet to ensure they lost it,  and there are going to be a lot more games like that if the Mets continue to give away outs in three non-pitcher spots in the lineup.

They've scored five runs in the last three games, and trying to find the right combination of reserves and fringe big leaguers isn't conducive to turning that around. As they learned on Monday, the same is true in the field when you're playing guys like Reed out of position to try and make do with what you have. Square pegs aren't going to fit into round holes, no matter how hard Manuel and the Mets try to make it happen.  

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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