PAUL SIMON told us there are 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. Perhaps Willie Randolph should do a follow-up entitled 50 Ways To Lose A Baseball Game.
The New York Mets manager has collected more than enough material in the last week to write the lyrics.
“We’ve had some of the most bizarre endings that I’ve ever had in my life. You can’t even make it up,” said Randolph. And that was BEFORE yesterday’s farcical 5-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
While closer Billy Wagner blew his third consecutive save, he was by no means the only culprit. Catcher Ramon Castro and second baseman Damion Easley both missed game-ending plays.
Castro was also guilty of swinging at a pitch way outside the strike zone on a 3-2 count with two on and none out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Mistakes like that have a habit of coming back to bite you.
“We’re just in one of those real bad ruts where the baseball gods are not good to you,” added Randolph, whose team has now lost six out of seven to fall three games below .500 at 31-34.
Like their cross-town neighbors, the Yankees, the Mets seem to take one step forward, two steps back.
After Randolph’s meeting with Mets ownership, the team won successive series at Shea against the Marlins and the Dodgers.
Now, they’re back in the doldrums and their disgruntled fans are wondering just how much longer Randolph has to right the ship.
Mets are missing two clutch hitters
To be fair to Randolph, the gods really haven’t been smiling on him. He’s without two clutch hitters, Ryan Church and Moisés Alou, through injury, although Alou’s continued absence hardly comes as a surprise.
With Carlos Delgado hitting at .241, pitchers know that if they can get past David Wright and Carlos Beltrán, the rest of the line-up holds no terrors.
Johan Santana may not have lived up to everyone’s expectations so far but his ERA is just 2.85 and he couldn’t have done much more yesterday, apart from possibly pitching the eighth inning.
While many Mets fans are ready to write-off the season – and some are even preparing to jump off the Whitestone Bridge – the Yankees are probably in a worse position.
Although seven games back, compared to the Mets at seven and a half, they’re chasing the world champion Boston Red Sox rather than the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Yanks showed last season that you can make a charge in the second half. The Colorado Rockies proved you can come back from the dead.
Right now, though, neither New York team is meeting the massive expectations of their fans. And while Joe Girardi will get a free pass this season, Randolph is running out of time.