Cubs Bullpen Lifts Mets 7-4

For the first time since April 2002 season, the Mets beat the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Two Mets with .238 batting averages knocked in six of the Mets seven runs including all three runs over the final two innings against a rancid Cubbie bullpen to lead the Mets back to the path of righteous twice-rain-delayed victory.

Doug Mientkiewicz hit a homerun over the 368 mark in right centerfield in the 8th off the newly annointed set-up man LaTroy Hawkins and then an RBI single off newly annointed closer Ryan Dempster in the 9th. Mike Piazza, another .238 hitter, had a three run homer in the first inning and an RBI single in the 9th.

Kaz Matsui managed a one run homer as well to give the Mets three for the night and an NL-leading 43 homeruns on the season. What ever happened to Willie Ball?

The go-ahead run and the two insurance runs were even enough for Bradon Looper to earn another save without causing undue heart palpatations, profuse sweating and sporadic bouts of nausea, save for the leadoff double he surrendered before finally striking out the red-hot Derrek Lee to finally end the game.


Aaron Heilman had another respectable outing, weathering two rain delays that totalled an hour and thirty three minutes (which, much to my own personal schadenfreude meant that the game was still going on when I was awake at 4:30 in the morning GST) - Heilman shut out the Cubs over the first five innings although finished with 96 pitches over 5 1/3 innings, gave up a total of five hits and two walks and two earned runs before yielding to Dea-Sung Koo who promptly gave up a three-run homer to Michael Barrett to tie the game at 4 in the 6th.


Contrary to what the monster numbers by Carlos Beltran at Wrigley would have suggested (.510 8 homers and 17 RBIs lifetime going into last night's game), he had a comparatively quiet game after two straight three hit games, with two singles and two runs scored, raising his batting average to .316.


Cryin Mike Cameron continued his rather torrid comeback pace and now has two hits in each of his first 5 games since coming off the DL.


Oddly, Piazza, who seems to struggle mightily at the plate most nights to offset the defensive liability he represents behind the plate (another 2 for 2 night for baserunners off his arm), has still managed to scratch his way to 22 RBIs this season, a more than respectable pace considering his rather vaporous batting average.


Out of the necessity that derives from having only 6 men available out of the bullpen, Manager Willie has produced a curious dependancy on the hot hand over the last several days. Looper recently came off three consecutive outings, Hernandez had three straight outings and Heath Bell, prior to his scorelss 8th, had pitched in 3 of four days. Let's hope this doesn't spell burnout over the late stretches of the season.

Nevertheless, the bullpen held when it was necessary and saved the game for the Mets which, when you contrast it to the misery of the Cubs bullpen, is something worth savouring.

The Cubs former closer cum set-up man, LaTroy Hawkins was mercilessly booed by Wrigley fans and was even capable of giving us vicarious willies recalling the nightmare nights and dark days of Armandogeddon.

But now a bullpen combination that allowed six hits and three earned runs over the final two innings is the Cubs problem, not for us to ponder. Bradon Looper will never be considered automatic but as shaky as he sometimes seems, he does seem to get the job done of late and earned his 8th save of the season last night.


Both the Marlins and the Braves lost last night to give the rest of the NL East a chance to crawl closer to the lead. Clemens outpitched Burnett as the Astros beat the Marlins and Colorado knocked Braves ace Tim Hudson around to win. The Nats beat the Diamondbacks as Livan Hernandez won his 5th game of the season and even the Phillies, who took two of three from these very Cubs, won again, defeating Milwaukee.

All that leaves the Marlins 1 1/2 behind the Braves in second, the Nats 2 behind, the Mets in 4th, 2 1/2 games back and the Phillies bringing up the rear with a 15-18 record.


Tonight, the pitching menu will be serving:

Kris Benson making his second start of the season, this time against HOFer Greg Maddux. Benson will still probably be limited to a very specific pitch count of around 100. Maddux made one start against the Mets last year and was 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA. Of course, that was against the old, decrepit and disappointing Mets not this year's masterful and inspirational version.


Although the Mets were certain to miss it, the Cubs made the SI list of teams fallen below expectation already.

Paul Sullivan of the Trib points out the obvious in noting that the Cubs bullpen is out of whack.

Judging by The Goat Riders of the Apocalypse and The Uncouth Sloth it's pretty depressing to be a Cubs fan right now.

Too bad for them. We've had our share of misery already, time for someone else to suffer....

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