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Outplayed and Outclassed by the Cincinnati Reds, Things Could Get Even Worse for the New York Mets

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COMMENTARY | Before the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds played their three-game series at Citi Field this week, anyone who follows baseball already knew who the better team was.

What we found out, however, was just how good the Reds are, and, on the flip side, just how bad the Mets are.

First, you have to be impressed with the Reds. Their 3-4-5 hitters -- Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce -- are as good a combination as any in Major League Baseball, and their leadoff hitter -- Shin-Soo Choo -- brings speed and power to the top of the order. If you want to learn how to put together good at-bats, get on base, and score in all sorts of ways, watch the Reds. Cincinnati has the second best record in the National League and could make a deep October run.

The Reds (29-18) can hit and they can pitch, though at this point everyone seems to have success against the Mets' lineup. Just look at what happened in the ninth inning yesterday. After Ike Davis decided not to field a slow ground ball hit down the first-base line, instead hoping it would go foul (it didn't), Mets closer Bobby Parnell gave up three runs as the Reds broke a 4-4 tie. Moments later, Reds closer Aroldis Chapman shut the door on the Mets, striking out two and sending New York to its 10th loss in 13 games.

Over three days in Queens, the Mets looked like minor leaguers competing against the big-league Reds. With the exception of Daniel Murphy (3-for-4 yesterday) and Rick Ankiel (three hits yesterday) nobody is doing much at the plate. The Mets were able to scrap together four runs in Wednesday's loss, but they collected only three runs on eight hits in the first two games of the series. The bats have been cold for some time.

Which brings us to Ike Davis, who, it must be said, is no longer in a slump. Right now, he simply can't hit. Davis has one hit in his last 38 at-bats and he's struck out 14 times over that span. As bad as his start to the 2012 season was, his start to this season has been even worse. Now, there are reasons to believe that Davis is taking his offensive struggles out to the field. Errors and bad judgment never seemed to be a problem for him. They are now. The talk about sending him down to the minors has gotten a lot louder.

The Mets, as a whole, are also in real bad shape. After getting swept, New York (17-27) is now 10 games under .500 with the Atlanta Braves coming to town for three games before the Mets and Yankees meet for four next week. Both the Braves and the Yankees are in first place. This could get real ugly over the next week, and Mets manager Terry Collins is going to have a rough go of it if that happens, with more and more speculation about his future entering the New York sports conversation.

It's been a miserable past few weeks for the Mets. It looks like it could get even worse.

Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

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