Not since Clark W. Griswald loaded his clan into the family truckster for a trip to Wallyworld has a west coast trip gone so fantastically wrong. At least Griswald got to ogle Christie Brinkley on the way. The Mets got no such reprieve from their suffering.
Sunday's loss was the ninth in the 11-game road swing and it followed the same script as most of the others. The Mets couldn't hit, Jerry Manuel refused to use Francisco Rodriguez in the late innings of a close game and the Dodgers squeezed out a 1-0 victory. Just about every game on the trip followed the same, dreary script which makes for a drowsier end to the meaningful portion of the Mets season than you might have imagined when the first half came to an end.
Lots of baseball left to play, you say? Answer me this: Did you even bother checking how the Braves, Phillies or wild card contenders did in their games over the weekend? As bad as this trip was, it was merely a continuation of a downward trend that started quite some time ago. They haven't won a series against a NL team since early June, they've lost 21 of their last 35 games overall and they'd only be three games up on the 2009 Mets in the standings.
Given the fact that there wasn't much reason to believe that this team was going to be significantly better than .500, all this seems to add up to convincing evidence that the Mets don't have much reason to make big moves to shake up the team right now. Omar Minaya's unwillingness to guarantee the future of any member of the coaching staff leads you to believe that the team disagrees, however.
You're not going to hear anyone stand up and say that Howard Johnson has done a fantastic job as hitting coach or that first base coach Razor Shines is the one thing keeping this team out of the cellar, but are they really the difference between winning and losing? It's a PR move, one that allows you to express your displeasure with the way the team has been playing without throwing in the towel by firing the manager or by wasting prospects on a futile trade for an established player.
The latter is best avoided right now, although we we've never come across a trade rumor that excites us more than the one passed along by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Rosenthal says that the Royals and Mets are discussing a trade that would send some combination of Oliver Perez, Jeff Francoeur and Luis Castillo to KC for some combination of Gil Meche, Jose Guillen and Kyle Farnsworth. We call on Bud Selig to force a 3-for-3 swap, using the best interests of baseball as the reason to make it happen.
There's no baseball rationale for the trade, simply the absurdity factor of six unwanted players matching up so perfectly for two teams going nowhere fast. The thought of Oliver Perez in the American League is simply too good for this trade not to happen. Just because the Mets have folded doesn't mean we can't have a little bit of fun for the rest of the season.