- Last Updated: 3:02 AM, June 27, 2012
- Posted: 1:47 AM, June 27, 2012
CHICAGO — Tired. Irritable. Sloppy. Pick your favorite negative adjective, slap it on the Mets right now and you won’t be wrong.
Yeah, when you hear manager Terry Collins use “stinking,” you know what’s going on with this Mets season.
“It’s not his fault,” the fiery manager said, referring to first-base umpire Manny Gonzalez, “that we didn’t hit with stinking guys all over the bases.”
Gonzalez ruled Steve Clevenger safe, incorrectly, on an attempted eighth-inning pickoff. When Ike Davis challenged the call, touching Gonzalez with his glove in what looked accidental, he earned an immediate, automatic ejection.
It marked the low point within the greater low point for the Mets, who lost their fourth straight game Tuesday night, 5-3 to the Cubs at Wrigley Field. They have now lost their second straight series, this one to baseball’s worst team, and Collins wondered afterward if the team was fatigued following a killer, 25-game stretch — all against winning teams — that concluded Sunday night with a tough loss to the Yankees at Citi Field.
“We played two bad baseball games here,” Collins said. “You can only go on the circumstances in front of you. We’ve got to get out of this.”
It wasn’t just Davis’ accidental ejection — he was due up third in the ninth inning — nor the Mets going 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranding 12 men on base overall. There also was what Collins called Dillon Gee’s worst start in a long time; the right-hander allowed four runs in five innings. There was Lucas Duda’s critical baserunning error in the third inning, when he didn’t pick up third-base coach Tim Teufel’s send and stayed at third on Davis’ double.
There was Ruben Tejada’s throwing error in the eighth on Reed Johnson’s infield single, following Davis’ ejection, which allowed Darwin Barney to score an insurance run.
A brutal night in all, against a starting pitcher, Randy Wells, who didn’t seem particularly interested in sticking around. Cubs manager Dale Sveum lifted Wells after just three-plus innings, with the Cubs holding a 3-2 advantage, and Sveum earned a win for his aggressiveness, though he needed six innings of bullpen help to get it done.
Collins shrugged off Monday night’s mailed-in, 6-1 loss to the Cubs. Tuesday night, he appeared far more upset when speaking with reporters, though he then ate at a table with some players and cracked some light jokes. Later, he and Duda spoke calmly in Collins’ office, surely about Duda’s baserunning transgression.
This is still a young, developing team, and Collins knows he needs to push different buttons at different times. Yet this is a club that had itself believing it would contend for the duration of the summer.
That belief must fuel a Mets resurgence now. The team has enjoyed enough time to rest, even with Wednesday’s day game following a night game.
“There’s all kind of different elements. Travel is one of them,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said before the game. “The bottom line is, you have to do it. Day games after night games. You build your roster around people that can handle all of that stuff.Once you get between the lines, you don’t know that you’re traveling or flying or whatever.”
Sveum can speak particularly well to this issue because he took part in one of the most remarkable regular seasons in recent memory. He served as a backup infielder on the 1998 Yankees from April through July and hung around even after the team released him.
“We had a pretty unbelievable group of guys,” Sveum said. “The ultimate professional team. Very talented, but very focused on what they had to do every day.”
Now, to be clear, no one is confusing the 2012 Mets with the 1998 Yankees. These Mets could be robot versions of themselves, immune to human conditions, and they wouldn’t sniff the results of the ’98 Yankees.
What we’re discussing is the need to maximize each and every day. To possess the self-awareness Collins did and figure out a way to overcome the emotional and physical fatigue.
To not lose close games to bad teams because of execution errors.
To wake up soon, before this Mets season loses its dream-like quality.Follow @NYPostsports