By Ed Coleman
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If this isn’t rock bottom, I don’t know what is. In game number 149 of a lost season, the Mets were thoroughly humiliated, pounded by the Phillies 16-1 and officially eliminated from playoff consideration. As if that was a reasonable consideration for this bunch to begin with. Maybe nobody noticed because at the same time the defending Super Bowl champion Giants, wracked by injuries, were systematically dismantling the Panthers in Carolina. Maybe nobody noticed because it was played in front of the smallest crowd in Citi Field history.

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But I doubt it. This one was too atrocious to miss.

The Mets book-ended things nicely, giving up 8 runs in the 1st inning, and then 7 more in the 9th inning, with another run thrown in for good measure. Starter Jeremy Hefner never recorded an out before departing, and was just looking for a rock (bottom?) to climb under.

The night before, reliever Josh Edgin, after notching the first two outs, walked Chase Utley, then surrendered a mammoth game-winning 2-run HR to Ryan Howard. Last night in the 9th inning, Edgin came on again and this time hit Utley with a pitch before giving up an opposite field grand slam HR to Mr. Howard. You can’t make this stuff up. Embarrassing? More on that later.

Manager Terry Collins has bit his tongue countless times in this second half of the season when he’s wanted to unleash his fury over the way his team has played. A club that overachieved by being 6 games over .500 at the All-Star break has gone 20-43 since. They’ve lost 25 of their last 29 at Citi Field. They’ve scored 3 runs or less in 16 straight games at home. Disgraceful. Collins has held back because he realizes there’s an overall lack of talent at present on this club. But when the Phillies’ Juan Pierre beat out an infield hit in the 9th inning of an already well decided game – by the way, Pierre’s 5th hit of the game, the Mets as a team had only 3 on the night – Collins had seen enough.

Collins was asked if his team had quit. He said you’d have to ask them – he had his own opinion but he wasn’t sharing it. David Wright believes his teammates haven’t packed it in, but he understands why the fans might feel otherwise.

So, is Wright embarrassed by his team’s play?

No argument there.

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Ike Davis – has this team given up?

R.A. Dickey – with 3 starts left to pick up 2 wins and maybe miraculously make it to 20 on a spiraling-downward team – was asked if the guys around him have quit.

And is Dickey embarrassed by the Mets’ play down the stretch?

Ahh, the “E” word – not embarrass, which the Mets have done plenty of to themselves – but effort, which is all manager Collins has been asking and looking for from his generally over-matched ballclub.

Well, you might not necessarily know that from the way they played last night. But as Collins frequently says to his team and anyone who will listen, perception is reality.

And with that, Collins was gone. We’ll see who shows up for the final 13 games – and who actually cares – enough. There’s that “E” word again.

C U soon,

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Eddie C.