Commentary

Mets blow opportunity to make history

The Amazin's have never won a rubber game in the Bronx; they coughed up another one

Updated: May 23, 2011, 9:55 AM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Don't make any excuses, not a single one.

The New York Mets had a chance to win the Subway Series from the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon, but simply failed.

[+] EnlargeMike Pelfrey
Mike Stobe/Getty ImagesMike Pelfrey pitched pretty well on Sunday -- until the disastrous seventh inning.

Yeah, yeah. We know the Mets are undermanned right now. There's no David Wright or Ike Davis. Sure, their lineup would be much stronger with both power bats in it.

But the Mets were able to win the opener on Friday night without their help. And on Sunday, they were three outs away in the seventh inning from turning over the game to their superb bullpen to close it out. All starter and loser Mike Pelfrey had to do was retire the Yankees' 7-8-9 hitters.

Instead, Pelfrey allowed the first four hitters to reach en route to an eight-run inning and a 9-3 loss to the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, in front of a sellout crowd.

"We had them on the ropes," said third baseman Willie Harris, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI on the day. "They found a way to win it.

"But I think it's good for us, especially for younger guys down the road. This experience is going to help them."

Sounds nice. But enough already with the we-gave-it-a-good-shot talk. It's old and tired for a franchise that leads the league in frustration. Fans are tired of hearing about learning experiences and the future.

They pay their money in the present to see the Mets win -- nothing else.

In the grand scheme of things, this loss won't change much. It won't be the difference in winning the National League East away from the Philadelphia Phillies. Still, you get the sense that the Mets let the Yankees off the hook and didn't close out a game that was theirs to have.

Good teams win when it looks as if they shouldn't, and bad teams lose games you think they should win.

And before you throw a Mets pity party, take a close look at their crosstown rivals and figure out how they are able to stay in the AL East race without Phil Hughes and a rotation completed from the major league scrapheap.

To their credit, the Mets had been doing that before this weekend. Despite injuries, the Mets had actually been playing well. Coming into Sunday's game, they had won 10 of their previous 15. They were just a game under .500. It was an incredible run when you consider that they started the season 5-13 and many people were writing them off in April.

Enter the Yankees. They entered this series struggling, especially at home. With the Mets' 2-1 victory Friday night, the Yankees had lost six straight in the Bronx for the first time since 2003. The Mets were in prime position to extend the Yankees' misery.

Instead, the Bronx Bombers broke out with four homers in a 7-3 win on Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, the Mets were in control. It appeared as if the three runs they put up in the second inning were going to be enough, especially because Pelfrey was dealing and the Yankees looked in feast-or-famine mode. And on this day, it was famine.

"It's on me more than anybody," said Pelfrey, who allowed five earned runs on eight hits in six innings of work.

All he had to do was get Brett Gardner, Chris Dickerson and Francisco Cervelli out. Hardly a tough assignment when you realize two of the three were hitting under .260, and Dickerson was batting .248 at Triple-A Scranton before being called up.

"I'm not going to make excuses," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We had [No.] 7, 8 and 9 coming up. We have to close that inning out."

Collins is right on the money. A good team gets those guys out and turns the game over to Jason Isringhausen and Francisco Rodriguez. In other words, game over. Just like Friday night, when Izzy struck out Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in the eighth and K-Rod had a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the deal.

Somehow, no matter the year or the circumstances, the Mets always seem to roll over to the Yankees when it matters the most. The Mets are now 3-10 in Subway Series rubber games, including 0-9 in the Bronx.

Terrible.

For Mets fans, that's the best way to describe the weekend.

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