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Shakeup Coming For Mets' Coaching Staff?

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It sounds as though New York Mets' Manager Jerry Manuel does not have to worry about his job -- at least right now. The same can't be said for his coaching staff, though, especially hitting coach Howard Johnson.

The Mets dropped a 1-0 decision to the Dodgers on Sunday, putting a fitting end to a dismal road trip. Entering the post-All-Star break half of the season with high hopes buoyed by the return of Carlos Beltran, the Mets instead wandered through a 2-9 trip west that was astounding for its futility.

The Mets began the trip with 24 consecutive scoreless innings, had a 17-inning scoreless streak in the midst of it and finished it by not scoring in 16 straight innings. They were shut out four times and scored more than four runs just once.

The horrific offensive performance has moved the spotlight from the job security of Manuel to hitting coach Howard Johnson. Minaya would not criticize anyone Sunday, but he wasn't offering assurances that anyone would be with the team when the Mets take the field Tuesday.

"Everybody here is trying hard," Minaya said. "The staff is trying hard. You ask me about the overall performance; am I happy? Of course we're not happy. Nobody's happy.

"But I can tell you ... on the trip, everybody's getting their work in. Guys are doing the best they can. I feel we're going to continue to sit down with Jerry, continue to evaluate how we can get better."

Asked if he could definitely say the staff would remain intact through Tuesday, Minaya said, "That's all I'm going to say."

This is the classic pattern. Hitters struggle? Can't replace everybody, so fire the hitting coach. Pitchers struggle? Fire the pitching coach. That doesn't work? Fire the manager. So, Manuel might be safe for the time being. If I was Jerry, though, I wouldn't be too comfortable these days.