There’s a joke in there somewhere. About John Maine and the amount of balls he threw, but I just can’t make it work. I wish the way the Mets were playing currently was also a joke, but its not. Its more like a tragedy. With the 7-5 loss to the Florida Marlins, the losing streak reached four games and 6 of the last 7.
Before last Sunday’s game the Mets were a game back and in second place. Before the game today, they are five games back, and a half game out of last place. To say the Mets had a bad week would be overstating it. Although hope shows its rosy glow on the horizon. Reyes has returned to the lead off spot and Oliver Perez has been demoted to the bullpen.
“We have to be fair to the team,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “We have to do what’s best for the team.”
It hasn’t been decided just who will take the rotation spot. Luckily the Mets have a few options. There is bullpen standout -and former starter for the Yomiuri Giants- Hisanori Takahashi; and in the minors Pat Misch (18 career starts) and R.A. Dickey (48 career starts) both have pitched well in Buffalo to deserve a call up.
The lineup change -which Jerry Manuel said may not be the last- moved Reyes back to lead off. The Reyes-Batting-Third Experiment can be considered a failure, he hit just .207 in 20 games and he admitted to changing his approach to hitting and base running. Never good things for someone once considered to be the most electrifying player in the league.
Asked if he was pleased to be back in the leadoff spot, Reyes replied: “Yes. Yes. Yes.”
He responded well, getting two hits and scored twice and the offense bounced back from consecutive four hit games. David Wright hit a homerun and the Mets out hit the Marlins, but it was Maine (1-3) who couldn’t find the plate in the first inning that sunk them.
The first 12 pitches he threw all missed the strike zone. He got one out before he walked Dan Uggla, his fourth of the inning. That made the score 1-0 without a Marlin hit. He almost escaped trouble by getting a second out before Cameron Maybin hit a 2-run single to extend the lead to 3-0.
The Mets tied it back up in the top of the third on Jason Bay single and a Wright sac fly, but Maine couldn’t make it hold up. Two doubles, a single, a wild pitch and sac fly and the Marlins were back up 6-3 after five innings. The Marlins would stretch it to 7-3 before the Mets could respond.
They were down 7-4 in the ninth when Rod Barajas ran them out of more runs. He lead off the inning with a single, tried to stretch into in a double and was thrown out. After Alex Cora flied out, Reyes doubled and Luis Castillo singled to drive him in. New number three hitter Angel Pagan grounded out to end the game.
The offense showed some life, and the demotion of Perez to the pen livened the spirits of Mets fans, lets see if Manuel makes more of the changes he promised. Something, anything to get this team back on track.