Yup, that pretty much sums it up. The Mets 11th blown save in the ninth inning this year, and the second for Luis Ayala, who gave up two singles and a three-run homer to Greg Norton without recording an out. Pedro Feliciano and Brian Stokes combined to surrender two more runs, and the Mets lost 7-4.
The onus falls on the bullpen here. It blew games for Johan Santana and Oliver Perez in less than 24 hours. That said, the offense pulled another disappearing act, going scoreless in the final five innings after David Wright (4 for 5, three RBI, two HRs) staked them to a 4-2 lead. This time the offense put itself in position to score (it didn’t go dead), but it stranded seven runners on base in the final three innings. That’s just about as many ducks as you can possibly leave on the pond.
Here’s Jerry Manuel:
â€œWhat we have to do is remain as positive as possible, hopefully have a good game tomorrow and keep going. These are tough losses, especially this time of year. Weâ€™ve been dealt many tough blows. We have to see if we can make it back this one as well.â€
It was an odd postgame in the clubhouse. Despite another crushing loss that brought the Phillies closer, the club went through with its annual hazing ritual of making rookies dress up for the last road trip of the year. This time there were 10 guys (this year’s rookies and last year’s) who crammed themselves into full-body Nike swimsuits, as well as swim caps and goggles. They even draped gold medals around their necks.
In truth, it was awkward at first. Gustavo Molina was the first victim dressed, and it seemed kind of inappropriate at the time considering what had just taken place on the field. But by the time the other guys started dressing in their suits, you couldn’t help but laugh. Pedro Martinez was in stitches watching 6-foot-7 Mike Pelfrey squeeze his frame into the suit. He called him “the next Michael Phelps.” Robinson Cancel had a funny line: “I guess I won’t have to worry going through security.” No, there was no place to conceal a weapon there.
The Mets didn’t follow through with the ritual before last year’s final trip. This time â€” and perhaps this is a sign they remain loose â€” the parade of young guys poured out of the clubhouse in their get-ups and dragged their suitcases down the tunnel to the team bus. Several of the vets snapped photos, like Brian Schneider, Duaner Sanchez and Marlon Anderson. David Wright, who seemed like a ringleader, arranged all 10 guys to walk out of the clubhouse together.
As fans sickened by the loss today, I’m not sure how you feel about it. As someone who was there I’d say it will only help them. Letting thoughts of today’s messy finish linger on the plane ride wouldn’t help anyone bounce back tomorrow.
“It seems the tougher the loss the better we play the next day,” Wright said.