Despite heading into a weekend series with Philly holding a 9-12 record, Mets skipper Jerry Manuel is “one hell of an MC” declares the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman, one who “doesn’t have to work at being Teflon. It comes naturally.” If we’re to believe the News’ resident Gallagher lookalike, Gangsta Jerry’s opponents in this daily battle of wits are turning up for the battle unarmed.

There are potholes – that could turn into moon craters – awaiting Manuel. If the Mets continue down this familiar road, where the streets are named “Erratic Starting Pitching” and “No Clutch Hitting,” Manuel will need all the smooth operator in him to keep the howling dogs at bay.

Most of the complaining about questionable moves, or decisions that have backfired, has been confined to those addicted to All Squawk Radio. No sweat. The legions of first-time-long-time (morons) attempting to topple Manuel is like a spitball-wielding mob challenging an elephant.

Even the scholars, who host these radio shows, have buttered Manuel’s bread. So have columnists and voices in SportsNet New York’s broadcast booth. Those asking Manuel the questions, after each and every game, are not exactly conducting inquisitions.

No reason to. Manuel does not need any outside stimulus – bright lights, rubber hose – to coax an answer. He’s accommodating. Still, it may only be a matter of time before those answers are interpreted as nothing more than Manuel’s attempt to get over rather than an honest explanation of his own failed strategy. That’s when the mob starts smelling a phony.