By Mike Steffanos
Game 155: Braves 7 - Mets 6
We're reading a lot about the bullpen today. While they certainly deserve their fair share of culpability, the Mets haven't gone 4-6 over their last ten games -- played against the two bottom teams in the division -- just because their bullpen sucks.
While the bullpen blew two of the games at home against the Braves, the Mets offense managed only 6 runs in those games. They managed almost nothing against the Braves bullpen.
They scored 2 runs combined in the first two games against the Nationals, squandering a terrific outing by Mike Pelfrey in the second game.
After waking up in the final two vs. Washington and the first in Atlanta, the Mets fell back to sleep. Eight runs combined in the two losses, with two of those runs coming in the ninth inning yesterday.
If the Mets had managed to win a couple of those games in this stretch they'd still be up on in the division and comfortable for a playoff spot. Now they have to take care of business against the best team in their league.
Sure, the Cubs are in, but does anyone feel extremely confident based on what we've seen the last ten games? And I don't expect the Cubs to roll over for them -- quite the opposite, in fact.
I wasn't shocked by the bullpen giving up leads, but I was sincerely disappointed by the offensive effort in most of those losses. I thought the Mets would fight more than this.
The road is now much tougher for a team which seems to have lost some of their own toughness recently. The weight of the world sits on the shoulders of Jon Niese, and October seems to be slipping away from the last Mets team to call Shea Stadium home.
On the one hand, I will be sorry if they falter after competing so well for most of the second half of this season. On the other, I won't be too sorry to see them go if what we have seen over the past 10 games is all they got. Heilman and company make convenient scapegoats, but this whole team needs to look in a mirror. They're letting a golden opportunity for redemption slip away, and if that happens we're all condemned to having 2007 thrown in our faces (ad nauseam) for another year.