By Mike Steffanos
Game 150: Nationals 1 - Mets 0 (Tuesday)
Game 151: Mets 9 - Nationals 7 (Wednesday)
Sorry I didn't check in yesterday. I made a couple of attempts to write about Tuesday night's game, but felt I was just rehashing what I wrote after Monday's loss. Before Manuel took over, the Mets seemed to be a team trying not to lose rather than trying to win. They seem to be that team again, and that's not going to help.
There were strong positives in the way Mike Pelfrey pitched. Big Pelf was an exception to the "trying not to lose" mentality, and if his arm survives this season's jump in workload he looks poised to continue his development into a top-tier pitcher.
Unfortunately, though, all that matters in September is the bottom line, so it was hard to bask in any glow from Pelfrey's strong outing.
Last night might have been the quintessential Mets game of the last couple of months, if not the year. A big early lead developed into a nail biter. By the end of the night I was expecting to see Ron Darling leave the booth and start warming up. Bullpen by committee has deteriorated into farce.
The reliever are a mediocre bunch right now, and they're a tired bunch on top of that. I wrote on Monday that I don't blame Jerry Manuel for this mess, but he has played a part in this by not trying to get some innings or even outs from some of those extra arms. Without any off days his relievers are likely to be even more tired and even less effective as the season wears down.
There is nothing really to be done there at this point. It will play out the way it plays out. I'm not expecting anything miraculous from this bullpen down the stretch. If there is one thing I'd love to see over the final 11 games of the regular season it would simply be the Mets fighting for this thing with fire and determination despite everything. If I see that I'll be satisfied no matter how it turns out.
In the meantime, I need to head out and purchase more antacids.