Streak Snapped: Familiar Culprits Cost Mets, 5-4

"I don't know what Piazza's percentage is throwing runners out, but I don't think it's very high, so you try to be more aggressive when he's down there." Junior Spivey, who stole second base on a one hop Piazza throw in the bottom of the 9th that led to the Brewers winning run.

The first question that leaps to the mind is why was Piazza still behind the plate in the 9th inning with the score tied in the first place? Normally, Manager Willie replaces him with Ramon Castro -- but Ramon Castro started the game and was pinch hit for by Cliff Floyd in the 9th leaving only Piazza back as a defensive liability.

Cliff Floyd struck out, negating any possible advantage there may have been to replace Castro with Piazza defensively and you'd have to say, it was just one of those games the Mets were bound to lose: Glavine starting, Piazza catching in the 9th out of necessity. In short, a disaster waiting to happen. We should be happy with winning the three game series and let it go at that. We all know Glavine will put us in the hole and we all know Piazza's arm is as effective as a drinking whiskey through a dirty dishrag.

That the safe call on Spivey's steal was controversial is of little consequence. Had Ramon Castro still been behind the plate Spivey wouldn't have dared try to steal and Mike DeJean could have blown the game a batter later on his own.

Glavine, of course, continued to distress rather than impress.

You'd think he'd have been hard pressed to do worse than Milwaukee's Chris Capuano did to start the game. Capuano walked Reyes and walked Cairo and then surrendered an RBI single to Carlos Beltran before he'd gotten the first out of the game. However, he settled down thereafter and didn't give up another run until Mike Cameron's two run homer in the 6th.

Glavine, on the other hand, sporting a 1-0 lead going into the bottom of the first inning, birthed another pitching mongoloid and started even worse than Capuano. It only took him two batters to surrender his first run, an opening walk to Brady Clark and an RBI double to Bill Hall to tie the game before he'd recorded his first out.

After Miguel Cairo threw out Hall at the plate two batters later, it appeared Glavine's damage could be limited. But then he walked Lyle Overbay and then he allowed ANOTHER RBI double this time to Jeff Cirillo, who is hitting .218. So there you have it: two walks, two doubles, two runs.

For an encore, Glavine gave up two more runs an inning later after two consecutive singles and yet another RBI double, this time to Geoff Jenkins. When Carlos Lee followed with an RBI single, the 4th consecutive hit of the inning off Glavine, the only thing that saved him was Victor Diaz throwing out Geoff Jenkins at the plate to end the inning.

So after two innings, the Mets were down 4-1, Glavine had faced 13 batters and allowed 6 hits and two walks. In all, for his 109 pitches, Glavine allowed 11 hits and 4 earned runs. Not as gruesome as his standard outing but hardly the stuff of the number two man in the rotation.

That the Mets were able to make a comeback and even put themselves in position to have the combination of Mike Piazza's weak arm and Mike DeJean's dodgy two thirds innings of relief undermine them, speaks volumes of the character of the team. The Brewers had a seven game winning streak going into this series and only managed to eke out a single victory in three games and even that victory required a few innings of Tom Glavine's pitching, Mike Piazza's limp arm, Mike DeJean and a questionable call to make it official. If it takes all these things conspiring together for the Mets to lose, well, things could be much worse indeed.


Aaron Heilman (3-2, 4.19) is back in the starting rotation after relieving Kris Benson on Thursday. He will face Jon Leicester, RHP (0-2, 7.50) who was called up from Triple-A Iowa to make his first big-league start. The right-hander opened the season with the Cubs, but was sent down to Iowa on April 27. He is stepping in for Ryan Dempster, who has been moved to the bullpen. Leicester faced the Mets in 1 2/3 innings of relief last year. He did not allow any runs.

The Cubs, after losing a three game series to the Phillies, are 13-17 for the season.

Thanks to the brill summary in the Trib:

Season series: First meeting. Cubs won 2004 series 4-2.

Monday: 7:05 p.m., WCIU-Ch. 26.
RH Aaron Heilman (3-2, 4.19 ERA) vs. RH Jon Leicester (0-2, 7.50).

Tuesday: 7:05 p.m., Comcast SportsNet.
RH Kris Benson (0-0, 3.86) vs. RH Greg Maddux (1-1, 4.50).

Wednesday: 1:20 p.m., WGN-Ch. 9.
RH Victor Zambrano (2-3, 5.63) vs. RH Mark Prior (3-1, 3.09).


Who's hot: Prior has 39 strikeouts in 32 innings and is limiting opposing hitters to a .202 average. Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran is hitting .382 in May with three homers and 11 RBIs.

Who's not: Jeromy Burnitz is 1-for-10 on the homestand. The Cubs have dropped to 10th in the National League in runs scored after being fourth on April 27. They've scored two or fewer runs in four of their last six games.

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