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The Clouds Are Gathering Over Citi Field

We have reached the point in the Mets season at which everyone is paying extra close attention to the travel schedule of general manager Omar Minaya. With visions of Minaya's bungled 3 a.m. firing of Willie Randolph not even two years ago dancing around their heads, reporters harassed Minaya yesterday about his last-minute decision to accompany the team to Atlanta. Is he going to fire manager Jerry Manuel? He must be, right? Because who in their right mind would want to watch this team play right now?

The Marlins finished off their brutal four-game sweep of the Mets yesterday in a series full of carnage. Jon Niese was hurt, Oliver Perez was dropped, and David Wright played defense at third base as if he were being attacked by bees. The Mets have now lost five in a row and dropped five and a half games behind the Phillies in the NL East. More ominous, they're now last in the division, two games under .500. The culprit is the road record: The boys are 4–12 away from Citi.

It's not getting any easier. The team have four road games before six home games against the two teams that made the World Series last year. If you take that 9–1 stretch last month that made Mets fans excited, and turn it into 5–5 (a winning percentage higher than the Mets have overall), the Mets would be 14–24, the third worst record in baseball. The 9–1 wasn't the norm; this is. Minaya says he's not traveling to fire anyone. But it's just a matter of time, and for himself as well. If this road trip were a criminal trial, the court would require Minaya's and Manuel's passports so they don't lam it.

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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images