April Ends Cruel and Wet, Mets Lose 4th Straight

"April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."
- TS Eliot from The Wasteland

Hard to choose which was more pathetic last night, the chaotic, muddled performance of the RFK grounds crew and the game's umpires who kept the game going even though small lakes were forming in the infield OR yet another in the series of Victor Zambrano's painful pitching performances. Either way, the Mets lost their 4th straight game 5-3 and closed out the month of April with a 11-13 record to bookend nicely with their five game losing streak that started the month off. Not exactly the New Mets and not as pathetic as the old ones. So far, they're just The Mediocre Mets.

However, they will file a protest about Saturday night's rain-shortened contest, one precipitated by what they consider the failure of the home team to provide suitable playing conditions when they might have been achieved.

The pregame featured the exciting news that Mike Piazza has finally been replaced in the cleanup hitter's slot by the sizzling Cliff Floyd who vindicated that move straight away with a bases loaded, three run double in the 8th inning downpour which increased his hitting streak to 16 games.

But it wasn't enough to overshadow another dismal performance by Victor Zambrano who fell to 1-3 and saw his ERA expand further to 5.81 after throwing 4 lousy, inconsistent innings, giving up 3 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks and two hit batsmen. In 26-1/3 innings, Zambrano has walked 17 and hit five making him one of the worst with Barry Zito for plate accuracy. Yet again, as in his four previous starts, he couldn't escape the first runless and the Mets fell behind 2-0 in the first which meant that for April, the Mets have been outscored 28-9 in the first inning.

Manny Aybar didn't do much better in relief, giving up a pair of solo homers and six hits total in just two innings of work.

Equally disappointing was the Mets performance against the likes of Tomo Ohka who replaced the scheduled starter Zach Day brilliantly through 6 innings giving up only 2 hits, 0 walks and 0 runs. Prior to last night's game he had thrown 15 walks in 20 innings but against the Mets impatient batting, led by leadoff hitter Jose Reyes who has STILL yet to draw a walk this season, went 0 for 3 and saw his batting average drop to .260, Ohka looked like a Cy Young candidate.

Ohka had been 1-7 in his career against the Mets and had a 5.85 ERA coming into the game. Yet even the bums are aces while the Mets continue their slump.

Other than 8th inning three run double by Floyd which was followed shortly thereafter by controversy about the condition of the playing field and which led, after a prolonged argument, to the ejection of Nats manager Frank Robinson, the Mets were virtually listless. They had a wonderful opportunity in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and two outs but Jose Reyes impatiently grounded out to Ohka to end the threat.

The biggest story was probably the laughable performance of the RFK grounds crew who received sarcastic chants of "Let's Go Grounds Crew" as they struggled to get the tarp on the field. In fact, it took them 31 minutes to figure it out during the downpour and by the time they did finally manage it, the rain had turned the infield into an appalling, moat-like surface which players from both teams heavily criticised.


Victor Diaz, with Mike Cameron inching his way back to the Major Leagues, is now hitless in his last 14 at-bats.

Victor Zambrano hit the Nats Jose Guillen twice last night. Guillen has been hit three times in two games against the Mets so far.

It's nice to dream about the future and last Thursday and Friday night, two of the Mets best pitching prospects not yet in Tampa Bay Devil Ray uniforms, enjoyed successful outings.

Brian Bannister, who is 4-0 with an Eastern League-best 0.33 ERA, struck out six in six innings of Thursday's extra-innings loss to Portland and Yusmeiro Petit struck out six and allowed two hits in five innings in Friday's loss to Erie.

Tonight the Mets will try to avoid starting May like they began and ended April with a loss and will also try to avoid being swept by the Nats.

NYM: RHP Aaron Heilman
• 2-2, 4.68 ERA in 2005
• Did not face MON in 2004

WAS: RHP John Patterson
• 2-1, 0.98 ERA in 2005
• 1-1, 5.86 ERA vs. NYM in 2004

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