Mets uglier than just one game

OK, so last night's late game was ugly. Ben Shpigel was there, and had an excellent view of the festivities ...

    Their 3-2 loss in 11 innings mercifully ended one of their most disheartening games of the season, one that included a crucial baserunning blunder by Ryan Church and a season-high five errors. The final two errors led to the winning run, when Mark Loretta scored after Jeremy Reed threw wide of the plate.
    The Mets thought they had taken the lead in to the top of the inning, when Church scored on two-out Angel Pagan's gapper to right-center field. But Church skipped over third base, never touching the bag. The Dodgers were successful in appealing, and Church was ruled out, ending the inning.

    In the bottom of the 11th, Mark Loretta led off with a walk against Brian Stokes and Xavier Paul, followed with a fly ball to left-center. Pagan and Carlos Beltran converged on it, and Pagan appeared to screen Beltran. The ball dropped, and the Dodgers had runners on second and third with no outs. Juan Pierre was walked intentionally, loading the bases, and Rafael Furcal flied to shallow left for the first out. Orlando Hudson tapped one to the first baseman Reed, whose throw was nowhere near the catcher, Ramon Castro.

    The lone bright spot for the Mets (21-17) was Tim Redding, who in his debut showed that he could be a capable fifth starter. After giving up two runs in the first, Redding shut down the Dodgers, allowing just two hits over six innings in emerging with a quality start. Four Mets relievers combined to hold the Dodgers scoreless until the 11th.

I don't know how many Mets fans were still up when the game ended. I was, though, and yeah, I can't say it was disheartening because my heart doesn't care about the Mets, but man was it ever ugly. I don't know that I've seen a good team make more obvious mistakes in the late stages of a close game.
You know what's worse, though? When Tim Redding is your fifth starter. Because you know what that means, don't you? It means that Livan Hernandez is your fourth starter. I happened to be at the ballpark in San Francisco last Friday night, and I just sat there in the first inning, dumbfounded, as Hernandez gave up hit after hit after hit. I can't say that I exactly felt sorry for Hernandez -- after all, nobody forced him to take the Mets' money this spring -- but I couldn't quite help myself.

More, though, I felt sorry for Mets fans who have to put up with a pitcher like Livan Hernandez every five days (particularly if he really is the club's fourth starter, and really will pitch every five days). Frankly, there's simply no excuse for a team with a new ballpark and a $150 million payroll to trot Hernandez out there regularly, and wind up with Jeremy Reed at first base in a close game, and Angel Pagan in left field at the same moment, and ... well, you get the idea. I can't feel sorry for the Mets, and I can't feel too sorry for their fans. Not with that payroll. As a guy who just likes to watch good baseball, though, I find this odd collection of talent just a little bit offensive.