While Mets fans and media are sure to continue their calls for manager Jerry Manuel to be fired after the Mets' latest loss — a 6-2 stomach punch delivered by the Colorado Rockies — let's take a look at the numbers, shall we?
15: The number of Mets retired in a row to end the game.
1: The number of hits generated by the Mets after their second batter of the game, Angel Pagan, hit a two-run homer (Jose Reyes singled to lead off the first).
11: Starts this season by Jonathan Niese where he has allowed one run or less. What a waste.
4: Strikeouts by David Wright in this game, in as many at-bats. The only player colder is Carlos Beltran. The two are the 3-4 hitters on this team.
.216: The Mets' team batting average since the All-Star break.
3: Runs per game the Mets have scored in that stretch, during which they are 8-16.
5: Consecutive scoreless appearances by Manny Acosta entering Wednesday's night game. So much for Manuel playing the hot hand.
2: Strikes, with no balls and two outs, on Todd Helton against Hisanori Takahashi, with the bases empty in the top of the eighth inning with the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead. One strike away from handing the ball to K-Rod. But the Red Sox can tell us all about being one strike away, can't they?
So tell me again how this is all Jerry's fault?
You don't hit, you don't score runs. You don't score runs, you waste terrific pitching efforts like this one from Niese. And you don't win games.
Takahashi, who was terrific the night before in supplying the bridge to K-Rod, couldn't retire Helton after being ahead 0-2. Helton singled on a 1-2 pitch, bringing up Carlos Gonzalez, another lefty, who waved at a 2-1 slider. But Takahashi threw two more balls, walking Gonzalez.
Jerry brings in the hard-throwing Acosta, who has held hitters to a .200 average and who has been shining lately, and he immediately throws a wild pitch to put the go-ahead run at second. (That's not exactly what I call good execution.)
That leads to the intentional walk of Tulowitzki, bringing up ex-Met Melvin Mora, who quickly fell behind 0-2. One strike away once again.
A ball. A foul ball. A ball. A grand slam by Mora (which brings up another depressing number, nine, which is the league-leading number of grand slams allowed by the Mets this season). Another run after a walk and two singles.
Two times, one strike away.
How bad is the Mets offense? You can look at all the stats you want, but consider this: The Mets' pitching leads the league with 16 shutouts. With that kind of starting pitching, your offense must be pretty putrid for your team to struggle to stay above .500.
You want to fire Howard Johnson? I personally don't think it would matter, but at this point, I guess it wouldn't hurt because it can't get any worse on offense. Maybe it shakes things up. Maybe not.
Wednesday night's loss proved once again that the Mets are where they are because of a lack of production, pure and simple. The bullpen isn't always in one-run games if the hitters can provide a cushion. The margin for error isn't always so razor-thin.
It isn't about bullpen management, or fire in the belly, or heart, or leadership, or guts. It is about the talent on the roster either being able to produce, or not. For the last month, on offense, the Mets have not produced at all. And that has been killing them.
It's really not that complicated.