Before this weekend series with the Brewers, manager Terry Collins said he assumed Milwaukee figured it could "feast" on the depleted Mets lineup.
Actually, it was the shabby Mets bullpen that had the Brewers leaving town picking their teeth and patting their bellies after a satisfying three-game sweep.
Collins? He was left with the scraps of having to figure out how to not fall into oblivion with a bullpen that is looking like last week's leftovers.
The Brewers, baseball's hottest team with 22 wins in their last 25 games, scored four runs in the final two innings off a quartet of Mets relievers Sunday to take a 6-2 victory at Citi Field.
The Mets (60-66) have lost nine of 11 and have the Phillies next and the Braves after that.
"It's not going to get any easier," said R.A. Dickey, who allowed two runs in seven innings. "Our moms and our wives are the only ones that are going to feel sorry for us right now."
An admittedly frustrated Collins lashed out after the game. He suggested he should have left Dickey in to hit in the seventh inning of a tie game because his bullpen has been so flammable. He later admitted he didn't mean the part about letting Dickey hit. But he is tired of his bullpen and is considering making changes, perhaps as soon as Monday night.
"I'll take this one," Collins said. "I have great confidence in my players. I really do. I think we can get the job done. I've obviously been wrong. We can't stop anybody. I should have stayed with R.A., see if we could keep the game tied. I thought we'd try to play to win there. We just can't stop anybody."
The Mets had tied it in the seventh on Lucas Duda's two-run home run off Yovani Gallardo (14-8). They had a runner on second with two outs when the Brewers intentionally walked Ruben Tejada to get to Dickey. Collins sent up pinch hitter Willie Harris, who flied to right to end the inning.
"Obviously, Willie Harris is a much better hitter than I am," Dickey said. Though true, what came next is what irked Collins.
Manny Acosta (1-1) started the eighth inning by walking Nyjer Morgan and allowing a single to Ryan Braun (3-for-5, RBI, two stolen bases). Lefthander Tim Byrdak then got Prince Fielder to ground a potential double-play ball to second baseman Justin Turner.
The Mets were playing the infield back -- prepared to surrender the go-ahead run in exchange for two outs -- but Tejada dropped Turner's throw to second.
The official scorer charged Turner with the error -- Tejada said he should have caught the ball -- but either way, the Brewers had a 3-2 lead.
"The walk . . . Can't turn a double play," Collins said. "We're not mounting much of an offense, we're not stopping them on the defensive side. It's pretty tough right now."
It was Isringhausen and Acosta who gave up four runs in the eighth inning Saturday, when the Mets lost, 11-9, after rallying from a six-run deficit.
Collins suggested changes could be coming in the bullpen soon, but admitted the cupboard is bare at Triple-A Buffalo. He mentioned righthander Josh Stinson, who is in Double-A.
"It's possible," he said of immediate changes. "I don't think there's any question about it. It's going to be discussed."