Last week the Mets were swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates, something no one saw coming.
Carlos Beltran, who is typically quiet and reserved, made it clear that he was embarrassed from getting swept by a sub-par team.
Here is an excerpt from the Mets website:
"Beltran defended his club's potential while defending his own statement, uttered after the Mets were swept in Pittsburgh earlier in the week. The Mets' center fielder said he was "embarrassed" to drop three straight against the Pirates.
On Friday in Houston, Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche shot back, telling the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "I think it shows zero class and zero professionalism. When somebody says that, they know what they're saying, and they know it's going to get out. He knows we're not going to be real happy about it. If you go and say that to your buddies, it's one thing. If you go to the media and make that public for us to hear, yeah, that's no class.
"You know," LaRoche continued, "if we're as bad as he says we are and we swept them, then what's that make them?"
Beltran responded Saturday afternoon without having seen or heard LaRoche's comments.
"I don't know what he said, but what I said was in a way, as a team, we feel embarrassed," Beltran said. "Being honest -- I don't care what he said. I believe we're a better team than them. I don't care what he said."
The burden of leading the Mets during this crunch time falls on Beltran and David Wright, neither of who are typically known for making bold proclamations or controversial statements.
Wright is the politically correct media darling who does his best to put positive spins on almost any situation, and lets his actions on the field do the talking.
Beltran is pretty much the same way, but does not often speak to the media, except if pressed, or if he was a significant contributor to the game.
I do believe that Carlos Beltran was not feeling well and was fighting a stomach bug that forced him out of one game early, and had missed the next four games. He was obviously embarrassed, but not feeling well probably did contribute to his uncharacteristic behavior.
Jerry Manuel has said that he is depending on both Beltran and Wright to be leaders for their teammates to follow, which is reasonable as they are the two core players available for the near future.
Neither Carlos Delgado or Jose Reyes will be available until at least the All Star Break, and when they do come back, it will most likely be a while before they are functioning at their usual and expected levels.
The next few weeks will be a big test for Wright, Beltran, and the rest of the Mets. Their leadership will be needed, and everyone following the team will closely monitor what they say and do.