1.6.05

May Ends Like April: Another Cruel Loss

"Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date."

- William Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII

Like a bullet entering through the flesh at one end and exiting through the flesh out another, so were the losses that ended the month of April for the Mets and then ended the month of May.

It would be an exaggeration to say that the in-between was nothing but pain and blood and fracturing bone, but last night's utterly uninspiring 7-0 loss was almost too tedious to comment upon nonetheless.

After seeming almost heroic in pulling the Mets from the fire against both the Yankees and the Marlins, Kris Benson was decidedly bourgeois last night, allowing four runs and eight hits in six innings in earning his second loss of the season.

Not that his pitching mattered all that much in the end - after two innings of mercilessly squandered opportunities, Diamondbacks starter Brad Halsey kept the Mets quiet thereafter. Beltran, Piazza and Floyd left a combined 11 men on base which, after some careful thought, is not so surprising after all. Beltran is coming off an injury and this was his first game back. Piazza, other than a few spurts of shocking offensive prowess sprinkled sporadically throughout the season, has become an offensive liability and Floyd, after dazzling us all in the first month of the season, hit only .191 in May. With the heart of your order suffering seizures of ineffectiveness on such a pronounced level, it's sometimes amazing that the Mets managed to somehow cobble together a winning month of May to begin with.

For a change, we can overlook KooKooKachoog's second consecutive dismal outing in the instant case last night since it didn't really seem to matter much anyway but as our lefty out of the bullpen, it is rather disheartening to note that his ERA for May was 7.04. Of course, the fact that he's surrendered 4 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning in the last two games doesn't help but inflate the ERA but it should be noted that prior to those outings, he'd had 8 consecutive scoreless outings.

It's not the way I would have wanted to start a 12-game homestand, but these are the Mets after all and if the last series against the Marlins taught us anything it is that they don't quit when you most expect them to.

It would be nice to consider this a temporary glitch however, the always-uncertain Victor Zambrano will take the mound tonight against Brandon Webb (6-1, 3.39) for the Diamonbacks. Expect the unexpected, like a three game losing streak.

*****

No suprise that Manager Willie decided on the flight back from FLA that he wanted Miguel Cairo starting at second over Kaz Matsui after all. What it proves is that Manager Willie is not an idiot. He plays the hot hand as any wise manager would and was rewarded last night with a 2 for 3 performance by Cairo at the plate to extend his hitting streak to 9 games.

*****

Mike "I Can See The End Is Here" Piazza complimented his tragic night at the plate by bouncing a throw to second on an attempted sacrifice in the second inning proving that he is equally adept at bouncing throws to second whether he's making a mockery of throwing out a base runner stealing or advancing by sacrifice. Is there no limit to his talents?

Good news for us is that backup Ramon Castro is expected back from the DL on Thursday. Wonder how long before Castro playing Piazza's late-inning "defensive" replacement (as if Piazza didn't need a late-inning offensive replacement as well) will expand from the 8th inning to say, the 3rd or 4th inning. However much we might like to bash Piazza, he ain't no Mike DeFelice, that's for certain. DeFelice did a wonderful Piazza impression by going 0-8 with 2 strikeouts as Piazza's replacement but he wasn't able to master the old three hop throw to second so he'll probably be gone by the end of the week.

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