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Mets don't need this from K-Rod

With their season falling apart, the last thing

With their season falling apart, the last thing the Mets needed was for closer Francisco Rodriguez to get arrested, writes Ken Davidoff. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

As if this 2010 Mets season hadn't become depressing enough on the field, it turned ugly off the field late last night.

Suddenly, questions as to why Francisco Rodriguez didn't enter what turned out to be a 6-2 Mets loss to Colorado seemed as innocuous as a children's film and as irrelevant as, well, a baseball game.

A New York City public information officer told Newsday that K-Rod was arrested and will be charged for what was termed third-degree assault on his father-in-law, who was hospitalized.

In New York State, third-degree assault is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. It's too early to tell what all of the ramifications will be from this incident. All we know for certain is this: The Mets suffered an embarrassment at a most inopportune time.

For Thursday, with a day game to close out this series against the Rockies, the questions will concern Rodriguez and his actions. The Mets fans, a large segment of whom are already livid with the team, will have to deal with this added indignity.

Following this game, Mets manager Jerry Manuel appeared noticeably frustrated with his team's play, as it again failed to post a second straight victory, prolonging a streak that had gone on since June 22-23.

"The way we are offensively, we can't make a mistake," Manuel said. "Not the pitchers, not the defense, not the pitchers, and not me, with strategy. We have no margin for error."

Fair enough. So let's dissect: The Mets held a 2-1 lead when the eighth inning arrived, and starting pitcher Jon Niese, having contributed a brilliant seven innings, did not go out for the eighth. His pitch count was 106.

Manuel said that Niese complained of an issue in his "lower hamstring." Niese disputed that account, saying that he brought up the issue only after he already had been lifted.

So on came Hisanori Takahashi, the Mets' seventh (by my count) eighth-inning setup man of the season. The converted starter struck out Seth Smith. He retired Dexter Fowler on a grounder to third baseman David Wright, who earned a golden sombrero on the offensive side with four strikeouts.

But then Todd Helton singled, and Carlos Gonzalez walked, bringing up cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki. If ever a team needed a "closer," it was now.

"Usually, when K-Rod has been out there one night, we don't expect him to get a four-out or five-out save the next night," Manuel explained. " . . . If we're going to ask him to get that extra out, we're probably going to lose him in the next 10 to 15 days."

The response to Manuel, of course, is: Now, you find religion on reliever usage?!

Manny Acosta unleashed a 1-and-0 wild pitch, moving Gonzalez and pinch runner Esmil Rogers to second and third, and Tulowitzki received an intentional walk, sending up Melvin Mora - who crushed a 2-and-2 slider over the leftfield wall.

By the time Manuel lifted Acosta for Pedro Feliciano, with another Colorado run in, the Mets manager received a torrent of boos from what remained of the crowd. "When you make a decision and that decision doesn't work out, New York will let you know," Manuel said. "That's just New York."

It's just New York, but Thursday, very few people will be thinking about Manuel's decisions. They'll instead be discussing K-Rod's actions.

The Mets desperately want to be part of the conversation as the baseball season enters its stretch run. But not like this. Not at all.

New York Sports