There was a play in last night's game that summed up the Mets' sorry season for me. And the scary thing is, it wasn't Fernando Martinez falling flat on his face while chasing a fly ball. It wasn't even the most destructive part of the at bat in which it took place.
Ryan Braun had already doubled to clear the bases and put the Brewers ahead, 4-2. The third run scored when when Alex Cora's relay throw got past Omir Santos. But Johan Santana was perfectly positioned behind Santos. And when Santana got to the ball, Braun had taken too wide a turn at third. A good throw by Santana would get Braun out.
The Mets' $137 million arm, known for pinpoint control, reared back and threw the ball over David Wright's head. The throw was airmailed so badly that it even got by Cora, who was in shallow left backing up Wright. Cora ended up flat on the ground after diving for the ball and Braun trotted home.
The Mets are lacking in fundamentals, yet Santana was in the right place to back up the throw home. Cora was in the right place for the relay and his throw would have gotten the third runner out had Santos held on. When Braun took too wide a turn at third, Santana alertly threw there.
So the Mets pretty much had their fundamentals down on the play - and it didn't matter.
Instead, one of the few remaining stars of the team heaves the ball past the two unofficial co-captains, Wright and Cora. And Cora is left sprawled on the ground just as Martinez was a couple of plays earlier.
The Mets have fallen and they can't get up. After four losses in a row, they send their stopper to the mound and Santana blows the game. Giving up a bases-clearing extra-base hit to Braun, one of the best hitters in baseball, is not a sin. Walking J.J. Hardy to load the bases for Braun is worse. And walking the pitcher earlier in the inning - a pitcher who has barely been in the majors - that's a sin.
When you walk the pitcher for the sixth time this year, give up the game-winning extra-base hit and throw the ball wildly to allow another run to score, you are the main reason your team lost. This was not the time for Santana to glare at the 20-year-old Martinez for missing the fly or start yelling at his teammates.
When Squawker Lisa is not reveling in the collapse of the Mets, she is celebrating a rare misstep by the Red Sox. Lisa's piece discusses the Red Sox blowing a 10-1 lead and, while recounting how several Red Sox players left the field when there were only two outs, references Milton Bradley tossing the ball into the stands with less that two outs.
Blowing a 10-1 lead? Throwing the ball into the stands before the end of the inning? The season is less than half over. Plenty of time for the Mets to add these humiliations to their growing list.