Mets Bullpen Falls Apart Without Wagner

Greg JansenCorrespondent IJuly 22, 2008

Just when the Mets were beginning to look like a good team, they prove they cannot consistently win without stutter-stepping.

After closer Billy Wagner was diagnosed with a shoulder spasm (listed as day-to-day), the Mets gave the ball to Duaner Sanchez to shut the Phillies down.

Sanchez showed the Mets he's not ready to close games in Wagner's absence.

The Phillies jumped on the Mets in the ninth, getting six hits and five runs off of Sanchez, Joe Smith, and Pedro Feliciano before recording an out.  Aaron Heilman finally ended the onslaught, but not before the Phillies recorded another run to make it 8-5.

Endy Chavez opened up the Mets ninth with a walk and came around to score against Phillies closer Brad Lidge, but the Mets could only muster the one run and lost the game 8-6.

The Mets connected twice off of Phillies starter Joe Blanton and chased him after six innings, scoring five runs on eight hits.  And Johan Santana was everything they expected when they got him in the off-season.  In eight innings, Santana scattered eight hits and walked no one, giving up two runs on an RBI single in the first and a solo home run in the seventh.

But again, the bullpen squandered the lead and lost another game for the Mets.

For the last thirteen games, the Mets had been playing good baseball.  They had won eleven of the last thirteen, and two games were won in the late innings with timely hits.

But tonight the Mets were on the other side, giving up the runs late in the game.  And while you can't win them all, the Mets are not in a position where they can lose games the way they lost this one.  With a very inconsistent start to the season, they must hold late-inning leads if they want to reach the playoffs.

They have shown they can play good baseball, especially in the last few weeks.  But to have a chance at the playoffs, they must prove they can play good baseball for the rest of the season.  If they cannot win games like tonight's, they won't have a chance.