Mets Meet; Hernandez is Hobbling

Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
By Dave Sheinin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Their manager is fending off accusations that he is too passive. Their presumptive No. 3 starter is hobbling around in a stabilizing boot. Their bullpen is in tatters. And when the doors to the visitors' clubhouse at RFK Stadium closed just before 5 p.m. yesterday, the New York Mets gathered to engage in that ultimate sign of fraternal distress: the team meeting. Being in first place has never seemed so depressing.

And that was before the Mets blew another four-run lead to the Washington Nationals, losing their fifth straight game, 9-8. The second-place Philadelphia Phillies' 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals last night reduced the Mets' lead in the National League East -- which was seven games just a week ago -- to 1 1/2 games, their lowest since mid-July.

"This feels very normal to me, the way a playoff race should be," Mets Manager Willie Randolph said, oozing tranquility and calmness after another loss. ". . . When we sip the champagne later on, it'll be even sweeter."

The columnists, bloggers and talk-radio callers demanding fire and brimstone from the stoic Randolph will be sorely disappointed. The team meeting itself was the brainchild of a handful of veteran players, who approached Randolph earlier yesterday afternoon with the idea. After saying a few words at the start -- calmly, one assumes -- Randolph walked away to let the players discuss among themselves.

Even veteran pitcher Tom Glavine -- the epitome of calm himself -- seemed to imply the team needed to see more passion from somebody in a position of influence, saying before the game, "Anytime somebody gets [ticked] and raises hell, it catches people attention, and it's not a bad thing. . . . You want to see that guys care, whether it's your manager or [other] players."

Meantime, veteran pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, the hobbled starter, is expected to miss seven to 10 days -- which, coincidentally, is all the season that is left -- with what is publicly being called a bunion on his right foot, but which General Manager Omar Minaya acknowledged also involves some inflammation in his ligaments.

"There's no turmoil," Randolph insisted. "There's nothing going on [other] than just trying to find a way to get a win . . . This is not Armageddon to us."

Not yet anyway.


More in the Nationals Section

Nationals Journal

Nationals Journal

Adam Kilgore keeps you up-to-date with every swing the Nationals make.

Stadium Guide

Stadium Guide

Take an interactive tour of the district's newest stadium, Nationals Park.

Baseball Insider

Baseball Insider

Dave Sheinin reports the latest MLB news and examines the game's nuances.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity