The Mets season came to a crashing end on Sunday, just as soon as Game 162 began.
Tom Glavine, pitching in possibly his last game as a Met, got hammered for 7 runs in just 1/3 of an inning, and put the Mets in a 7-0 hole against the Florida Marlins. Any good feelings from the 13-0 Saturday rout was gone in an instant.
The Mets tried to come back in the bottom of the first. They got a quick run back in the bottom of the first and managed to load the bases. Ramon Castro hit a deep fly ball to left, and when it left the bat it appeared like it would go out. But it settled in the left fielder's glove in the middle of the warning track. The Mets had one last shot to get back in the game, in the third when they loaded the bases again, but came away empty. And from there, they only got a couple of more hits. By the finish, it was an 8-1 Florida Marlins victory.
And minutes later, the Phillies defeated the Washington Nationals, 6-1, to give the Phillies an improbable NL East title, their first in 14 years.
So, let the finger pointing begin.
The Mets played their final seven games at home, against three teams (Washington, St. Louis and Florida) who were basically playing out their schedules. This certainly wasn't the cream of the NL bottle. The Mets could manage just one win against these clubs. The pitching was simply awful coming down the stretch. The offense produced runs, but the starters and the pen gave away most of the leads.
The Mets ended up losing a seven game lead with just 17 to play. All credit to the Phillies for playing exceptionally well down the finally stretch. This was as much a great Phillies comeback as it was a Mets collapse. And unfortunately, what happened to the Mets these past three weeks will go down in history with what happened to such teams as the 1964 Phillies and 1995 Angels.
What makes this collapse even more improbable is that the Mets had the best road record of any team in baseball (47-34). If you play that well away from home you are sure to be a postseason club. But the Mets were mediocre at home, going just 41-40 at Shea.
Already we are hearing about the dissatisfaction from Billy Wagner about how the bullpen was used the last few months. There is sure to be plenty of blame to go around for this colossal failure. Right now, you have to wonder who will take the fall for this. I believe this could cost GM Omar Minaya his job. He's made some really questionable moves this year (not signing Chad Bradford or Darren Oliver, trading away Brian Bannister for a lousy Ambiorix Burgos, signing an ineffective Scott Schoeneweis). Will this cost Willie Randolph, or some of his coaches their positions? We will see shortly.
I'm terribly sad to see the Mets season end this way. But I feel good for my friend Mike, a dedicated Phillies fan who has supported his team through thick and thin. I remember telling him back in April when the Phillies got off to a bad start to not give up on them, that they had a lot of talent and could get back in the playoff picture. The Phillies clearly deserved to win, and with their offensive firepower, could go a long way in these playoffs.
As for the Mets? See you in Port St. Lucie in February.