Flushing miscues

Mets Notes and Quotes for May 23, 2005: David Wright and Jose Reyes commit costly errors in the eighth inning; Carlos Beltran is unlikely to play in the entire Braves series; Kaz Ishii takes the hill in the opener...

Last Game: Yankees 5, Mets 3. As the Mets attempt to "flush" this weekend's series defeat – to steal a term from David Wright – the one lingering afterthought concerns the club's infield defense.

In both of the Mets' losses on Friday and Sunday, New York infielders committed errors on consecutive plays that wound up seriously damaging the team's chances in the contests.

In Friday's error-plagued 5-2 loss, it was Kaz Matsui and Doug Mientkiewicz flubbing back-to-back plays, when Matsui bobbled a Robinson Cano grounder to allow the Yankees to take a lead.

Mientkiewicz committed his first error of the year a play later as he stabbed at a Ruben Sierra shot that wouldn't stick, allowing Alex Rodriguez to score with the eventual deciding run.

Sunday, it was Wright and Jose Reyes stacking up a pair of E's in succession – a departure from the way the day started, with Wright tumbling into the seats near third base to rob Jason Giambi and pin the bases loaded in the first inning.

With Dae-Sung Koo on the hill in the eighth inning, Tony Womack chopped a ball to third base that Wright gloved, but then lost.

"I just think it didn't catch the webbing," Wright said. "It got more of the heel. It just trickled out."

A batter later, it was Sierra again in the middle of things, hitting a routine 4-6-3 double play ball to second baseman Miguel Cairo, but Reyes whirled around the bag and dropped the feed, allowing both runners to remain aboard.

The inning turned into a three-run frame for the Yankees, en route to a 5-3 victory.

"I took my eye off it. I tried to be too quick with the ball," Reyes explained.

"You just have to flush it," Wright said. "Once it's over, it's over."

Mets manager Willie Randolph continually refers to the 21-year-old Reyes as a "young colt," and it's not exactly a total compliment. There's no questioning Reyes' energy level and enthusiasm, but like a wild animal, Randolph feels that Reyes is often running on the field recklessly.

"He's a young, enthusiastic player," Randolph said. "He plays at high speed. We've got to continue to work on slowing him down a little bit."

All in all, it was a sloppy weekend for New York baseball as a whole, with the teams combining for five errors on Friday and three more on Sunday.

The Mets can chalk Sunday's loss in particular up to growing pains for the 22-year-old Wright and the 21-year-old Reyes, but if the club is to remain competitive through the summer, tightening up the glovework will have to be a key.

"Forget about [the weekend]," Cliff Floyd said. "It's done. You just gotta pat them on the butt and get ready for Atlanta."

EXTRA REST: As the Mets open a three-game series with the Braves on Monday night, the team is expected to be without the services of centerfielder Carlos Beltran, who was benched Sunday with a strained right quadriceps.

Beltran has been playing with the injury, which causes stiffness and pain in his right leg, since the Mets' rain-soaked Apr. 30 affair at Washington.

Kaz Matsui, who rested Sunday with a strained right trapezius (neck), should be available to play Monday.

On Deck

The Mets left New York after Sunday's contest and flew down to Atlanta, where they'll open a three-game set with the Braves on Monday night.

The Braves are coming off a long 12-game road trip in which they fared 4-8, and the Mets will hope to keep that tough string rolling behind lefthander Kaz Ishii (0-2, 3.96), who held the Reds to a run over 6-1/3 innings last Tuesday.

Atlanta counters with southpaw Horacio Ramirez (2-3, 4.69), who has a loss and a no-decision against New York in two starts this year. First pitch is 7:35 p.m.

Contact Inside Pitch's Bryan Hoch at metsinsidepitch@aol.com.

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