When Oliver Perez got through his assignment early this morning, with the Diamondbacks hitters seemingly part of the daffy left's support group, you thought the Mets were going to win early this morning, didn't you? I did.
But nope, the Diamondbacks outlasted the Mets, who are now a brutal 1-6 on this Western road swing to open the second half, the only victory thanks to a terrible umpiring call.
Man oh man, the Mets are just exceptional at breaking their fans' hearts, aren't they? I mean, I know I have a New York bias, but still. Can any other team match the Mets' proclivity for soul-crushing? Not the Red Sox, anymore.
The Cubs? Yeah, I guess so. But they at least seem to take a few years in between wiping out entire populations.
Some random thoughts off last night's/this morning's SNY UnClassic:
1. OK, the Mets are now 49-46, they're six and a half games behind the Braves and reside in fifth place in the NL wild-card race. It's time to reassess whether a deadline trade would even make sense.
If the Mets finish, say, 80-82, but they do so while developing Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Angel Pagan and Mike Pelfrey and re-establishing Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana and David Wright - with R.A. Dickey under control through next year - that's anything but a failure of a season. That's a climb back, after last year's fiasco.
So to give up prospects, or maybe even money, for a marginal upgrade to their pitching staff might not make sense at this point. Of course, this is an ever-evolving calculation. If the Mets somehow sweep the Dodgers this weekend, then we can talk about it again. But I'd bet more on the Dodgers sweeping the Mets.
2. Really, Jerry Manuel? Ollie over Francisco Rodriguez? You feel that strongly about "saving the closer for the save"? Ay yi yi. Considering the Mets' dire straits, it's criminal that they lost in the 14th inning with K-Rod sitting in the bullpen, waiting to protect a lead that never came.
3. So what is Perez's role now? 12th-inning specialist? Horrible-team specialist? Something tells me he wouldn't have made it through that first inning against a club with more disciplined hitters.
It's a bad situation when the managers calls upon one of his pitchers, and you know that everyone on his own team is absolutely terrified.
4. With Rod Barajas finally going deep last night, maybe the Mets can sell high and find a taker. The Red Sox are pretty desperate for catching. Or again, given how little the Mets are paying Barajas ($900,000, plus another $1 million attainable in performance bonuses), there'd be no shame in simply releasing him if no one is willing to give up even a lower-tiered prospect for him, or simply absorb his contract.
5. Are Mets fans at all heartened by the fact that the Phillies have an even higher payroll than the Mets and are performing even worse? I saw one Mets fan this way who felt that way. Honestly, at this point, I think Phillies fans have a right to be even more angry with their front office than do the Mets with theirs.
6. The team meeting? No strong feelings either way. It sounds like Alex Cora's outburst the night before was directed at least partly at some loud, laughing reporters. I wasn't in the room, so I can't speak to it. In general...sure, there's an understanding among the media that you to blend in with your demeanor. If the players are quiet and down, then we at least tend to be quiet.
So, that's that. We'll see what the Dodger Stadium brings, in this rapidly deteriorating Mets season.
--Here's my column off yesterday's Yankees game, discussing the team's evolving trade-deadline needs. Guess who has interest in joining the Yankees? Roy Oswalt, who I hear "maybe" would waive his no-trade clause to go to the Phillies.
I just don't see the Yankees getting Oswalt. He's signed for 2011, and the last thing the Yankees want to do is crowd their '11 rotation so that there's no room for Cliff Lee.
--Rest in peace, Ralph Houk. My memory goes back far enough only to remember Houk as the Tigers' and Red Sox's manager. But I definitely recall the respect Houk drew in both stops. Will the Yankees, already wearing patches on their unifoms to commemorate the passings of George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard, add something for Houk? They should. The guy won two World Series titles as a manager.
--Houk's first successor as Yankees manager, Yogi Berra, will miss this weekend's Hall of Fame ceremonies. That apparently was one nasty fall that Berra suffered.
--This afternoon, as mentioned yesterday, we'll do a DVD giveaway contest.
--Self-promotion alert: I'll be on WOFX Radio in Albany at 9:30 this morning, with Rodger Wyland. And this afternoon at 3:30, I'll be on MLB Network Radio with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern, discussing Hall of Fame candidacy for illegal PED users and the purported lack of hype surrounding Alex Rodriguez's impending 600th home run.