Has the Mets' season really come down to trying to hold on until Frank Francisco gets back? Interim closer Bobby Parnell had his second straight blown save Tuesday night. While Francisco will never be confused with Mariano Rivera, he did have just three blown saves in 21 chances before getting hurt.
As if blowing a save in the ninth wasn't bad enough, the Mets' bullpen lived up to its status as having the worst ERA in the National League by blowing a save in the tenth as well. After the Mets took the lead in the top of the tenth, Tim Byrdak allowed a game-tying triple to the Nationals' Bryce Harper.
The game was still tied with two outs and the bases loaded when Pedro Beato decided there was room for one more bullpen goat when he threw a wild pitch, allowing the winning run to score.
The Mets have been competitive this season in large part due to the
performances of R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana. Not only was Dickey
putting up the best numbers in the National League and Santana was
having a hot streak of his own, including the no-hitter, but they were
going deep into games. Dickey and Santana have five complete games and
three eight-inning starts between them. The Mets won all eight of those
games. Nothing like avoiding that bullpen as much as possible.
Now the Mets are seven games out of first and six games ahead of the Phillies, closer to the cellar than to first place. The Phillies got Roy Halladay back last night and figure to be a lot stronger in the second half as long as they don't trade Cole Hamels.
There's still plenty to root for this season - finishing above .500, staying ahead of the Phillies sticking around the wild-card hunt. But the Mets can't contend with this bullpen, and it will take more than a trade-deadline patch to fix it.