Scoreless in Seattle

"Pop my balloon
Can you pop my balloon?
West Seattle hardcore
Pop my balloon"

--Mudhoney, West Seattle Hardcore

Well, it was fun for a day.

One game after exploding for 7 runs in the 5th inning against the A's, the Mets were right back into their dreary, saccharine hitting inertia, getting shut out by the first starting battery in baseball history with both pitcher and catcher being 42 years or older. Shut out by senior citizens. How low will we go?

Yes, it was a battle of two Japanese players:


Won in flagrant fashion by Ichiro with a three run homer and 4 RBIs on the day off of Ishii.

Ishii has now won a grand total of one game in his 9 starts for the Mets.

Can I get an Aaron Heilman? Can I get a hallelujah?


While the real story , other than this curious matchup and this curious battery, was of course, not Ishii's 10 hit, 5 run performance over 5 2/3 innings, rather the continued inability of the Mets to shake their hitting slump.

Stat of the evening came with the ritual pounding home of the message of how enigmatic Mets hitting has been over the last month or so:

The Mets have scored 3 runs or less in 22 of their last 34 games and they are 5-17 in those games with 3 or less runs, proving that not even Mets starters, who have performed admirably over that stretch, are good enough to overcome the new Achilles Heel.

Last night they were 0-8 with runners in scoring position, getting shutout for the sixth time this season and the second time in four games. This isn't like getting shutout back to back in Atlanta, this, if possible, is worse.

And the losses of late aren't like those earlier losses this season wherein you'd be capable of imagining that if they'd done just a leeeetle more, they could have won. This loss, like the other two in Oakland before it is like a bad head cold you can't shake, sniffles on the mound, sneezes in the field and a hacking cough at the plate.

Why just last month, in the good auld days, the Mets were ranked second in the league in runs scored. Since this recent plate plague, they've fallen all the way to 10th.

And having once prospered on the homerun ball, (back on the 10th of May, their 43 homers led the league and since then, they've hit only 25 more to fall to 7th in the league), the Mets are now leaving a trail of scoreless misery behind them as they struggle to recapture that mystical enamouration with the homerun and trying to do it all in one at-bat. The problem is, the earlier power was a bit of a fluke. The Mets are not build to play homerun ball and the longer they try to disprove that fact, the longer they are going to struggle.


The battery of the 42 year old Jamie Moyer throwing to the 42 year old Pat Borders bedeviled the Mets inning after inning. Despite getting the first two batters on in the 1st, again in the 7th and two on with only one out in the 8th, the Mets were simply incapable of getting a run on the board.

Not that a single run would have mattered much. In addition to Ichiro's humiliation of his countryman, the Mets also allowed a pair of unearned runs with a pair of errors. Granted, one of them was by Woodward, playing second base in place of the rattled Kaz Matsui, but the general malaise, at the plate, on the mound and in the field was so stultifying, not even Pedro's 13-0 record in Seattle is cause for much hope. 13, after all, is an unlucky number as they say.


Marlon Anderson, pinch hitting for Woodward in the 8th with two outs and the bases loaded, struck out looking against reliever Jeff Nelson and seconds later, was ejected from the game for arguing strikes. He joins Mike Piazza as the second Met in five games to be ejected for arguing about the strikezone. Better still, his ejection after replacing Woodward meant there were no more capable, healthy second basemen available so Kaz Matsui was forced into a game he was meant to miss after getting knocked senseless the night before by a hard but clean slide into second base by Jason Kendall.

According to the Gospel of Manager Willie, had Matsui not been hurt, Woodward would have played first base and Brian Daubach might have sat. Silly notions. Daubach has reached base in 5 of 8 appearances: one double, three walks and one HBP. If Jose Reyes could be half as creative, he wouldn't have been on base just three times in his last 27 at-bats and there might be some life at the top of the order. But he hasn't and there won't be whilst his massive, millstone-around-the-neck sort of slump continues. He is hitting .217 for June. Why Manager Willie hasn't been more experimental with the top of the order is baffling with these kinds of numbers.

His move of Wright to second in the order is paying off to the tune of Wright's three hits last night, which were exactly half of the Mets total hit output for the night.


Tonight Pedro will take his 13-0 record against the Mariners and Ryan Franklin, a righty with a 2-8 record and a 4.81. As the Mets aptly proved against the A's, an opposing pitcher's history of bad outings has no bearing on the Mets bats at the moment. You sometimes get the feeling that even if Megumi Takemoto took the mound for the Mariners tonight the Mets would still be somnambulent swingers, pinching out runs like a constipated sumo wrestler pinches out last night's fifth helping of Chanko-nabe.

Let this much be noted about tonight's game:

A loss by Pedro after 13 wins without a loss playing for the Expos and Red Sox will symbolically seal the Mets fate for the first half of the season as miserable and bordering on the hopeless.

So let's all join hands and pray for Pedro.

Iconoclastically speaking, of course.

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