The New York Mets have lost 4 in a row, hold a record of 6-9 entering a weekend series with the hapless Nats, and there’s some chatter about possible lineup changes or coaching dismissals.  Amidst an underwhelming start to the 2009 campaign, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick considers SNY’s interviews with manager Jerry Manuel to be “predictable. And pathetic.”

Wednesday, during the Mets’ loss in St. Louis, Jerry Manuel was interviewed on SNY. The initial theme, inescapable and hinted at by Gary Cohen, was the Mets’ loss the night before, another predicated on inattentive and unprepared play and take-it-for-granted base-running.

Or, as Bob Ojeda said in Tuesday’s SNY postgame, why, when Carlos Beltran was tagged out at the plate late in a tie game, wasn’t the next batter, Luis Castillo, giving Beltran the “down” (slide) signal?

Cohen and then Manuel spoke of the Mets having to “buy into” playing hard and Manuel having to “sell” the notion of being prepared to win.

It was polite code, the kind previously spoken to Willie Randolph. That pros, highly paid and presumably well-coached, have to be “sold” or must “buy into” paying attention and playing harder is sad. If one didn’t know that Cohen and Manuel were talking about a big-league team, we’d have thought the Mets are Bunk 6 at Camp I-Dah-Wanna.

Instead of politely asking why the Mets play this way, perhaps it’s time to start politely asking when they’re going to cut it out.

It’s a rather curious theme, even by Phil’s standards. Criticism of the Mets is more than warranted,  certainly.  Castigating SNY for a perceived failure to hold the manager’s feet to the fire after all of 15 games seems slightly hysterical.  It’s not as though the Mets’ inhouse channel is turning a blind eye towards the team’s poor start, and when in recent history has any local broadcaster — SNY, YES, MSG, SportsChannel, etc. — encouraged a reporter to say point blank to the manager, “you’re doing a lousy job, aren’t you?”  Well, other than ownership feeding anti-Torre questions to Kim Jones, that is.