In blowing a 5-1 lead against the Snakes to drop their 5th contest in a row, the New York Mets fell to 3 games below .500, and failed to gain ground on the Phillies (5-4 losers in Miami, Tuesday evening) in the process. Manager Willie Randolph had a postgame powwow with general manager Omar Minaya, a discussion Newsday’s Ken Davidoff hints is a precursor to the former’s termination. Calling last night’s loss “a choke job of the highest order, by a team that seems to have seriously lost its way,” Davidoff catalogs the delusional state of the Mets clubhouse.

“They found a few holes. We didn’t,” said Randolph, who must have forgotten Arizona’s four homers.

“It’s just weird, how we can’t get everything working,” John Maine said. “One night, it might be the pitching. Another night, it might be the hitting.”

Yeah, that tends to be the case with bad teams.

As for Tuesday night, pick a goat, any goat: Maine, who’s supposed to be the Mets’ third stopper, couldn’t slam the door on Arizona after receiving that 5-1 lead after two. He never seemed like he had control of the game, and he was done after just five innings and 101 pitches.

Carlos Delgado looked like he was about to turn 76, not 36, when he dove clumsily after Augie Ojeda’s tying single in the sixth inning.

“We have a good team,” a relaxed-looking Minaya said afterward. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to believe that. And to think that Randolph will finish the season as the manager.”

Perhaps forgetting a certain Henry Rollins/Charlie Sheen star vehicle, Metsradamus describes the ’08 Mets as “one of those high speed chases you see on the news every once in a while … the ones that almost always take place in either Los Angeles or Texas.”

You’re watching it, and you know it’s going to end badly for the perp. Because let’s face it: once you’re on television and the helicopters are following you, you’re not getting away. So you know it’s going to be a bad ending. But what do you do? You watch anyway. Because you have to know how it’s going to end. Will the driver run out of gas and come out peacefully? Will the driver slow down like he’s going to surrender and then back up into the police car before speeding away again thinking they’re all slick? When the cops stop the perp, will they put a major league beating on them?

At least with the Mets, you know the major league beatings are coming … every night. But you can’t turn away. How will the chase end? Who gets the ultimate beatdown at the end of it all? Willie? The Jacket? Hojo? Omar? Because under the glare of the helicopter that is New York, nobody will get away. They’re all on the table for a beatdown at the side of the road. And you and I will have front row seats .