Mets Escape Bullpen Meltdown

It started out as a beautiful day.

First came Ramon Castro's 3-run homer in the 2nd innning to give the Mets a comfortable 3-0 lead with Pedro on the mound.

Then in that same inning came Jose Reyes' 2-run homer which ended a 4 month homerless draught and gave the Mets a 5-0 with Pedro on the mound.

And even with Pedro's fastball only registering in the low 80s, when David Wright his yet another three run homer, this time in the 3rd inning, the Mets had an 8-0 lead with Pedro on the mound and the three homers represented 25% of the homeruns Nats starter Livan Hernandez had given up all season.

Indeed, a beautiful day.

Pedro's stiff lower back and the massive run advantage was plenty of reason for Manager Willie to pull Pedro after 78 pitches and give him some well deserved rest after 6 scoreless innings of work with only 4 strikeouts to show for it.

And then, the clouds came in.

Danny Graves, making just his fourth appearance of the month showed his rust and perhaps some of why a miserable team like the Reds got rid of him in the first place by giving up five runs in the seventh innning, yet only one of them earned, in a mere third inning of work following a Jose Reyes error, two hits and two walks.

Koo Koo Kachoog was also unable to fend off the 7th when he allowed a hit and another earned run to make the score 8-6 before Aaron Heilman finally came in to put the fires out.

Heilman pitched through the 8th, allowing only one hit in one and a third innings before giving way to closer Bradon Looper for the 9th inning to finish off the Nats after a little belch of indigestion. Heilman, by the way, has pitched in seven games during August and has allowed only one earned run in 11 innings of work, an 0.82 ERA, and one wonders if next spring he shouldn't be given a shot at the closer spot.

Because Looper nearly blew it again for the Mets in the 9th in what is rapidly becoming a familar yet ugly scene.

Looper gave up three hits and two earned runs in one lousy inning of work, just enough to allow the Nats to tie the game but not enough to blow it. Lucky us.

Let's play a little game called How Not To Be A Closer:

It's becoming the Bradon Looper game as, completely opposite of Heilman's sparkling numbers for August, by contrast Looper's ERA over this month is a gruesome 5.19 with a 1-2 record. He has blown only five saves all season but with Looper's constant trouble it always seems as though he's blown the game, even when he hasn't.

So there we were.

8-0 lead destroyed. Extra innings, bullpen wasted.

Chris Woodward's run-scoring pinch-hit single knocked Gerald Williams home with the winning run as the Mets rallied back to edge the Washington Nationals, 9-8, in 10 innings but this was too edgy, even for the Mets.

Instead of a laughter they were almost caught with a kidney punch.

But, as they say, no use worryin' about what ain't.

The Mets won the game, their third in a row and are right in the thick of everything all over again.


With the extra-inning victory, the Mets (63-59) inched to within a half-game of the Nationals, with an opportunity to overtake them in the NL East and the NL Wild Card race on Sunday. New York trails Philadelphia by two games for the league's fourth playoff berth, though Houston and Florida are also between Washington and Philly.

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