0-2: Has The Love Boat Sprung A Leak?

Cover your eyes kids and don't look now, but the Mets have now started a season 0-2 for the first time since 1997.

Whereas Day One saw their bullpen collapse, Day Two saw their starting pitcher collapse. Day Three, now that the extent of the ace factor on their staff has been exhausted, will see the recently-acquired Kazuhisa Ishii try to save the Mets' little love boat from sinking to 0-3 before it ever leaves port and gets home. However, Ishii's career numbers against the Reds are not very encouraging -- 7.82 ERA and an 0-2 record in three starts and merely 12 2/3 innings.

Women and children first, Herr Kapitan! Before we start to panic completely, ah, there is the sweet odor of hope as Ishii has an 11-2 record in 15 April starts in his three big league seasons.

And hey, if he fails, we can all have a nice laugh when concluding that the Mets have not been 0-3 since 1964, when the franchise was still the league's laughingstock.

But let's not throw in the towel just yet. This loss wasn't even in heart-breaking fashion and we have the two to compare like bookends for us to comtemplate: which is worse, a punch in the solar plexus or a side kick to the groin? And from what angle will it come tomorrow?

New manager Willie Randolph, whose victory cigar remains unlit, can thank Joe Randa for keeping him winless in his first two games manager. Randa, who hit the game-winning homer off Looper two days ago, hit a grand slam last night and now has 7 RBIs in two games to lead the Majors. Well, he can also thank Mike DeJean, but we will deal with that little defeasance of a debut when we come to it.

Besides concluding his first two games without a win and on the heels of an ill-advised and possibly even goofy shift against Junior and Sean Casey that yielded a less-than-endearing result, Randolph also suffered his first minor embarrassment as a manager. In the bottom of the eighth, he tried to make a double switch by putting Chris Woodward at first base and Mike DeJean on the mound, but umpires ruled the attempt unsuccessful, forcing the pitcher's spot to come up in the top of the ninth instead of Woodward.

Not that it mattered anyway. DeJean, in YET ANOTHER WORRISOME DISPLAY for Met hopes, followed Looper's horrific performance with a quiet little disaster of his own to make the perfect pair of late inning disaster for the Mets bullpen which was otherwise flawless. DeJean was the culprit who gave up the grand slam to Joe Randa and has the second highest ERA at 36.00 after closer Looper's ERA, which is so horrific they can't even calculate it. This might lead the skeptic to believe that any game the Mets aren't winning by 10 runs come the 8th inning is probably going to turn into a stomach-turning Met loss. Oye! Is there a bullpen in da house?

After Pedro's glistening performance was fed to the pigs, Glavine threw 37 pitches in the first inning alone which, as you can imagine for a guy at his advanced age, meant the bullpen was going to get alot of work in last night0. In the end, he worked only three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine hits, all of them singles. A dainty, yet unfathonably ineffective performance for a number two in the rotation kind of guy.

And following the sickening debacle of seeing David Wright ground into two rally killing double plays followed by Eric Valent's invisibly uninspirational 0-3 performance in the 8 spot in Game One, Randolph, to his credit, heeded the Gods of Common Sense and started rookie Victor Diaz in right last night which is what should have been done on Opening Day. Eric Valent is an AMC Pacer compared to the potential Jaguar of Victor Diaz, both at the plate and on the base paths.

So, David Wright was moved back up to batting sixth, followed by left-handed-hitting Doug Mientkiewicz and then Diaz. Result? Diaz, 3 for 4 and Wright 2 for 4 with a homer. Mank, slotted down to 7th instead of 6th, also homered.

It can't be said, even when looking through the rosiest coloured glasses that 0-2 is a good start. It sucks, it's making everyone's skin crawl, it fails to answer the debacle of Game One, it makes us worry before the season is hardly under way, and worst of all, it means another round of the self-indulgent idiotic happy chatter of Mike and the Maddog who seem to revel in the Mets tribulations.

But what the hell, these are the Cincinnati Reds, after all. Surely when we face the Atlanta Braves, things will get easier. Ha!

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