This was not the night to lose, not when you start out with three games left, not when the Phillies beat the Nats and the Brewers beat the Cubs. But give those teams credit and the Mets discredit for this 6-1 loss to the Marlins, who are treating this like their playoffs. So the Brewers are up by one game in the wild card and the Phillies are up by two in the division. The Mets could be eliminated today if they lose and Milwaukee wins. They will have to become Cubs fans. There is a sliver of hope because the Mets are starting Johan Santana today, albeit on three days’ rest, and the Brewers are starting Ben Sheets today, sore elbow and all.
Santana basically went to Jerry Manuel the other day and begged to pitch this game even though it would be on short rest and even though he had just thrown 125 pitches to beat the Cubs on Tuesday. So no one should question his heart. He has never gone on short rest in the regular season. He did it in the 2004 ALDS against the Yankees and went five innings, allowing one run.
Oliver Perez will go on three days’ rest if tomorrow’s game has meaning. And if the Mets somehow get to a Monday tiebreaker here against the Brewers, figure Pedro Martinez to go on three days’ rest. That was the indication we got.
But the Mets needed to win this series opener and showed very little with just seven hits. Ryan Church stranded five over the first three innings.
Manuel thought the team was going to take off after the big comeback against the Cubs on Thursday. After this Florida game, he said his team is hard to figure sometimes.