The New York Mets have reached the point in the season where things become awkward; they are now waiting to die. After Friday’s 7-5 loss to the Phillies, Mets manager Jerry Manuel awkwardly said it was a “tough loss,” the dying equivalent of “I’m sorry.”

Condolences accepted.

The news is no shock though. The Mets have been preparing for this since they learned of the grave illness they contracted somewhere between San Francisco, Los Angeles and Arizona three weeks ago.

Manuel’s post game press conference revealed he is still in denial when he said, “We feel like we’ve still got a shot. We’ve just got to put something together, and we’ve got to put something together quickly.”

The loss drops the Mets below .500 (54-55) for the first time since May 23. They are now 21-36 on the road this season and 6-15 since the All-Star break (3-12 on the road).

Jonathon Niese (7-5, 3.63) was sharp again, pitching seven innings, allowing one run and four hits (111 pitches). He struck out seven and walked four.

Bobby Parnell and Pedro Feliciano combined to pitch 2/3 of an inning, giving up six runs and six hits. The Mets bullpen has simply run out of gas.

Michael Hessman offered a glimmer of hope in the ninth inning, crushing a three-run home run to right field off J.C. Romero to cut the Phillies lead to 7-5.

Ike Davis picked up two hits and Jeff Francoeur went 3-for-4, raising his season average to .241.

But Jose Reyes, Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran and David Wright went a combined 3-for-16 against Phillies pitching. Beltran, who batted third, went hitless (0-for-4) for the ninth time in 18 starts since returning to the Mets lineup three weeks ago. His season average has dropped to .203 in 20 games.

New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies … recap and boxscore (courtesy of ESPN-New York)

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