The capper for an awful evening came at the end of the game when the newest member of ESPN's wretched announcing team, onetime Met Orel Hershiser, started talking about how the Mets "can feel good about themselves" because "they're back in the race." Joe Morgan echoed Hershiser's bizarre comments, then added that special Morgan touch: "They know they can deal with the Phillies later on."
Later on when? 2011? The Mets spent the last two weeks regaining credibility, looked like a contender Friday night with a 9-1 win over the Phillies, then threw it all away on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, the Phillies put rising star Mike Pelfrey in his place. But Pelfrey was due for an off-day. And even after getting shelled, his overall year is still good enough that his ERA is 2.40.
Santana, though, had his worst day ever. His ERA jumped from 2.08 to 4.50. When Santana had his previous worst day, last June against the Yankees, a few weeks later he was headed for surgery.
As far as we know, Santana is physically fine. And he was having a very good year before tonight. But now Santana has two bad games out of five. Games in which he has given up grand slams.
Hershiser and Morgan think the Mets can feel good about themselves when Santana walks 47-year-old Jamie Moyer with the bases loaded? Last year, Francisco Rodriguez walked Mariano Rivera, then 39, with the bases full. Somewhere, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz are each assuming a stance with a bat resting on his shoulder.
Scoring ten off Santana and six off Pelfrey would be grisly no matter how the runs were scored, but it's that much worse when the big homer each day is from my least-favorite Phillie, Shane Victorino.
To think that I was ripping Manuel a week ago for not originally having Santana scheduled to pitch against the Phillies. That's why the Mets got him. Instead, they might as well have thrown Oliver Perez out there as originally planned the way things worked out.
I criticized Manuel because I thought he was not treating the Phillies series as big games. So he pitches Santana, but then decides to sit Ike Davis and Angel Pagan for Fernando Tatis and Gary Matthews Jr.
The Davis move actually had some merit (aside from removing from the lineup the player whose addition sparked the great homestand). Tatis was 8-for-22 lifetime against Moyer for a .364 average. Moyer had held lefties to a .214 batting average this year going into the game. Tatis did hit a double off Moyer tonight.
Matthews also had success against Moyer, going 7-for-23 (.304) with two homers. But he had not faced Moyer since 2006, when he went 3-for-8. 2006 was Matthews' best year, when he hit .313 with 19 HR, 79 RBI and 102 runs. Matthews is not that player anymore, so it doesn't really matter how he hit Moyer than.
Matthews entered the game batting .156. It's not as if he's particularly good against lefties, against whom he is hitting .167.
So not only does Manuel start Matthews, he bats him leadoff.
After going 0-for-4 tonight, Matthews is now hitting .139.
Matthews should not be starting a big game. Ideally, he wouldn't start any game.
Lastly, one of the great things about the last couple of weeks was how the other teams were making the stupid mistakes for a change. Tonight, the Mets showed that they still had the capacity to be dumb when Rod Barajas did not realize how many outs there were and got thrown out at third. And then Morgan started claiming that Barajas actually thought he could make it to third on a ground ball hit in front of him as he took off from second.
There's the only bright spot from tonight - at least we don't have to hear the ESPN announcers do a Met game for three weeks.