With Sunday’s 10-8 defeat to Florida — the Mets’ 5th consecutive loss and their first time the Fish have swept a four game series from the Not-So-Amazins’ in Miami — the New York Post’s Mike Vaccarro surmises the Metropolitans’ 2010 season “is suddenly in grave danger of spinning hopelessly out of control, leaking feebly into the sewer.” And when you’ve got a dangerously leak, we all know the thing to do is blame another oil company sack the fella in charge.

No one would argue that Manuel was handed the 1986 Mets out of Port St. Lucie. But he wasn™t handed a team currently on pace for 77-85 wins, either.

You know whom Manuel sounds like when he constantly praises his team for not quitting? He sounds like Rich Kotite. Absent anything resembling a representative Jets team back in the day, Kotite made playing hard sound like a sacrament rather than a job requirement. It is of little consequence that the Mets play hard more often than not; they also lose more often than

Manuel has become the piece most in need of replacing. He is a good and decent man, but increasingly his in-game decisions and demeanor have been maddening, his uber-reliance on small-ball, his puzzling lineup decisions. He was unhappy with that eighth-inning home run that Fernando Nieve surrendered to Chris Coghlan? How much do you suppose his almost daily reliance on Nieve has helped speed along Nieve™s regression from dependable to deplorable?

I’m not going to insist Manuel’s above reproach — the Jose Reyes Batting 3rd Experiment was a huge flop, and the skipper’s handling of Jenrry Mejia is confusing, to put it diplomatically.  But other than the most delusion member of the Wilpon Family, who looked at this team coming out of Spring Training — opening day starts for Mike Jacobs and Gary Matthews Jr.! — and thought they were better than 85-77? Is Jeff Francoeur’s desire to swing at pitches 2 feet off the plate a longstanding malady, or is it a new characteristic he only developed under the watchful eye of Jerry Manuel?