All that remained after the fourth-place Mets’ 2-1 season-ending loss to the Nationals in 14 innings yesterday was the housecleaning. And the brooms should come out in a matter of days.
But Wally Backman and Bobby Valentine weren’t on manager Jerry Manuel’s mind before the game. He didn’t think he was going anywhere, despite his meeting with Mets COO Jeff Wilpon last week. For some reason, he didn’t get the vibes as the Mets ended their 79-83 season that he had when the White Sox fired him after 2003.
“I don’t feel that I’m done here,” Manuel said before the game. “In Chicago, I knew it was time to move on. But for some reason, I don’t here.”
If it is the end, Mike Pelfrey (15-9) gave Manuel a going-away present with seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball in the no-decision before giving way to pinch-hitter Chris Carter with the score 1-1 in the seventh. Pelfrey struck out four and walked two.
Just to end the season on a surreal note, exiled left-hander Oliver Perez, who hadn’t pitched in 25 days, wound up relieving in the 14th.
Appropriately, he loaded the bases with one out on a hit baseman and two walks, and then walked Justin Maxwell for the go-ahead run. He left to hearty boos. Perez (0-5) took the loss, probably never to be seen again.
Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya can only wait for their futures.