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The Mets See Their Darkest Hour

In the month of July, the month that only has ten days left in it, the Mets are 5-11. On July 1, they were ten games over .500, a game and a half out of first place, and above everyone in the race for the wild card. They are now four games over .500, six and a half games out of first, and three and a half games out of the wild card. The Mets are having a collapse a couple of months early, and, for the first time, the fraying seams are starting to show.

The Mets lost a drab 3-2 game to Arizona, their second loss in a row to a last-place team and their ninth loss in their last twelve games. It has gotten bad enough that apparently you are not allowed to express anything other than anguish and pain in the locker room after a loss, or Alex Cora will have your soul for dinner.


The veteran utilityman, miffed by the laughter inside the Mets' clubhouse after the loss, fired venom in the direction of Mike Pelfrey and reporters who were joking at the pitcher's locker.

Cora spouted an expletive in Spanish and raised his voice in the direction of Pelfrey and reporters as he de parted the clubhouse at Chase Field. "A little respect, please!" Cora snapped. "They stuck it up our [butts]."

Alex Cora has long kept a major-league career alive through Locker Room Presence, so if anyone were going to pitch a proverbial fit about the probing tendencies of opponents, it would have to be him. But it seems more that the Mets' aches are self-inflicted — self-inserted, to use Cora's uncomfortable metaphor. The bats have completely vanished on the road trip — Jason Bay is batting .261 and has six homers; four years, $66 million, folks — and it's beginning to look like the Mets are doing Carlos Beltran and his clearly still-balky knee a disservice by keeping him in center field. Oh, and we repeat: Oliver Perez is coming back tonight.

Do you really think this team, as currently constituted, is a Jake Westbrook or Ted Lilly away from the postseason? Unless either of those guys can hit, we can't imagine anyone who would say yes, save for maybe Omar Minaya. If the Mets end up trading Josh Thole for a mid-tier pitcher, it'll be Kazmir-Zambrano all over again.

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Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images