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The Name of Your Pain Is the Mets

Last night's Mets game lasted fourteen innings, nearly five hours, and if you stayed up and watched the whole thing, waiting for an end to this wretched streak, you found no satisfaction. Somehow, the Mets were shut out for eight innings by the Diamondbacks bullpen, particularly brutal, considering the Diamondbacks have the worst ERA in baseball. The loss was 4-3, thanks to a walk-off hit by Chris Snyder, a game effort from the Mets' pen finally falling short. We really hope you didn't stay up for the whole thing.

If you're still counting, that's three losses in a row, six of the last seven, ten of the last thirteen. The Braves are a distant memory; they're six-and-a-half games ahead of the Mets, the biggest lead over a second-place team in baseball. The Mets, just two and a half games ahead over the Marlins now, are just three games over .500, the lowest they've been since June 10. Then, they rattled off eight straight wins. Anybody think that's gonna happen now?

As one would suspect, much rain is coming down on manager Jerry Manuel, and considering his erratically erratic erraticism, it's not difficult to see why. Yesterday he had one of those Team Meetings that never do anything but prove the manager is "trying." Supposedly tonight, he's shaking up the lineup, sitting Rod Barajas (which he should be doing anyway), Carlos Beltran (who still looks gimpy) and Jason Bay (who is really starting to scare people). But sometimes teams go into death spirals. Sometimes it just happens. It's still only July 22, and the Mets are only three and a half games out of the wild card. There's no reason to jump out of windows. But there's no reason to start trading away young players for some sort of stretch "run." The Mets, at this point, will be fortunate to make it to the "stretch," at all.

Photo: Matt York/AP