FLUSHING, NY – There really wasn’t any surprises in last night’s 2-1 Yankee win to open the 2010 Subway Series.
The Mets didn’t hit, making Javier Vazquez look like a star, while the Yankees were baffled by Hisanori Takahashi, a pitcher they never saw before.
Of course, the game was decided on an error on the Mets second baseman. This time it wasn’t Luis Castillo, but Alex Cora who threw away a tailored made double play ball, which set up Kevin Russo’s game winning double.
And when the Mets did rally against Mariano Rivera, struggling David Wright meekly grounded to second on the first pitch he saw with the tying run on second base.
“He’s a guy that you don’t want to try to work the count against because he’s got great stuff,” Wright said, but the fact remains, the Mets wasted a golden opportunity to silence some of their detractors by beating a Yankees on their own turf.
Instead the Mets decided to emulate the 2000 Mets who were honored before the game by losing this heartbreaker to third cross town rivals.
“If you’ve seen the ballgames we’ve lost, they have all been close,” said center fielder Angel Pagan, one of the few Mets who hasn’t struggled this season. “That has given us the confidence to keep fighting.”
The fight, though, may be over soon for manager Jerry Manuel. Although unfair, the writing is starting to show on the wall. Say a 1-5 home stand against the Yankees and Phillies may be enough to jettison the Mets embattled leader. Although unfair, because not even John McGraw could win with this cast of characters, the signs are there.
First you have John Maine, who started a public war with his manager for being taken out after five pitches on Thursday. Although it was the correct move, and with his track record over the last few years, Maine should be thankful he’s still wearing a major league uniform, Manuel status has been taken into question.
The night before, David Wright wondered why he was benched against Livan Hernandez, a pitcher he’s owned in the past and last Monday Jeff Francoeur had to take a seat with his parents in attendance down in Atlanta.
Sure, both Wright and Francoeur could have used the rest, but you have to wonder about the timing. Did it have to be in Atlanta for Francoeur? Could Wright have another day off?
All of this comes back to Manuel. Omar Minaya went on record yesterday saying the Yankee series won’t determine his manager’s fate, but a winless or even a 1-5 home stand with a griping clubhouse will make it tough for Manuel to keep his job.
Yet, if it is time for Manuel to go, then you have to wonder how the Mets will handle the situation. Firings are not the Mets strong point, just look at Tony Bernazard last year and Willie Randolph back in 2008.
Yet, after this home stand, it will be a Friday and the Mets will be on the road – two factors the Mets look for when they relieve their manager – but it will also put the team in Milwaukee where Randolph will be sitting in the opposing dugout, so it never comes easy.
But something will need to be done soon or 2010 will go down as another lost season.