Pedro Does His Part But Bullpen Doesn't -- Mets Give One Away To Brewers

Two nights ago, Roberto Hernandez and Bradon Looper played a large role to enable the Mets to stage their 11th inning comeback and win the game against the Brewers but two inning outings from the both of them to do it so perhaps when called upon again last night they were a little too fatigued for a repeat performance.

So when Pedro left the game after 7 innings with a 4-3 lead after a less-than-stellar performance, or perhaps a less-than-Pedro performance, it was up to Hernandez and Looper to save the game and they couldn't do it.

The result was the Brewers scoring 3 runs in two innings, one after Hernandez surrendered a homer in the 8th to tie the game, which was his second costly homer surrendered in two days. In fact, over the last 7 days, Hernandez has made four appearances, has pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowed 5 hits and three earned runs for a chunky 6.23 ERA which makes you wonder if his old body isn't finally beginning to tire.

The 9th inning was a bit of a rollercoaster ride from the beginning when David Wright's throwing error let the first man on board. Typical of Wright's play all season: a two-run single one minute, a devastating error the next. One hopes he spends the offseason fielding grounders and throwing cleanly to first.

Then, quite amazingly in fact, after a bunt advanced the lead runner, Trent Durrington to 2nd, none other than the rapidly aged Mike Piazza shocked the stadium by throwing out Durrington at 3rd on an attempted steal to give the Mets their second out and seemingly choke the rally before it could get started. Mike Piazza throwing out a runner, granted, even if it was to third instead of a three hop to second, is a rare and almost miraculous event and as such, should have been a bright portent to the Mets chances.

But instead, more sturm und drang lay ahead on the Mets horizan. Instead of taking advantage of the Piazza miracle and getting the final out, Looper allowed two-out singles by Wes Helms and Brady Clark before walking Richie Weeks and letting Lyle Overbay hit what turned out to be the game-winning single in a 6-4 Brewer victory. It was Looper's fifth loss of the season which is quite an accomplishment considering that out of 26 save opportunities, he's blown only 4. (Last night, the save opportunity was blown by Hernandez leaving Looper free to earn his 5th victory or his 5th loss and the later rather than the former appeared more appealing.)

In addition to the tiring performance by the bullpen, the Mets future, Carlos Beltran, continued to be booed last night and his game-ending out with runners on 2nd and 3rd in the bottom of the 9th was particularly painful. Especially when you consider he left so many runners on base the night before whilst going 0 for 6.

To be fair, Beltran hit only .267 last season whilst earning his coveted superstar status and is hitting .263 this season but he isn't hitting homers in bunches and isn't driving in the runs, two things the Mets sorely need. 3 homeruns and 15 RBIs over the last 30 days isn't going to chase away the boos and no matter how much Beltran professes to love god, the boos are going to get to him eventually if he doesn't start hitting in key situations.

On a happier note, Cliff Floyd's 25th homerun of the season bounced off the apple in top hat in centerfield some 420 feet away to pull them within one. Further still, Mike Piazza, dropped all the way down to 7th in the order, his lowest spot of the season, hit a redeeming homerun to tie the game in the 4th. As is becoming the trend, rightly or not, his homer spawned a curtain call from fans who seem unbearably capable of forgiving his selfish obsession with catching over playing first base and seem willing to appear grateful instead, for the several years of success he helped bring the Mets when he was not the mere shadow of his former self that he is now. Curtain calls would be more appropriate if the Mets were in the heat of the race for the NL East, not floundering in this sea of mediocrity and consistent inconsistency that sees them still only one game above .500.

Nevertheless, the Mets lost a game that Pedro pitched which is never a good thing for the Mets. Instead of following up their dramatic 11th inning win with another victory and being three games over .500, they sputtered and choked again and are only one game above water. Instead of making ground against their competitors for the wildcard spot, they gave ground.

In all, typical of the 2005 Mets. Just when you want to let hope saunter into the room like an unbearably beautiful woman, the dream ends, the sheets are wet and reality rears its ugly head.


Tonight it will be Kris Benson's turn at the wheel. Benson is 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 10 starts at Shea and in addition, was 2-0 with a 1.84 ERA against the Brewers whilst with the Pirates last season. Good omens, one would suspect but then again, Pedro pitching last night was a good omen as well and look at where that got us.


Better news still is that barring any major injury to the starting rotation we may well have seen the last of Kaz Ishii taking the mound for the Mets. There are ugly rumours going round that Jae Seo will take his place until Steve Trachsel is ready to begin his long road back to Shea.

What has been perhaps well painful this season is not that the Mets traded for Ishii and that Ishii for the greater majority of the time has sucked far worse than could have been imagined, but that to get him the Mets surrendered a very talented back-up catcher who could have easily taken over for Piazza next year. Granted, it was a panic move following Trachsel's move to the DL, but a costly lesson learned by the management.

That they have not made any earth-shattering moves prior to the deadline means that barring a miracle, the Mets will be stuck fighting for the wildcard with the team they have. This doesn't mean they aren't capable, it just means that someone on the team, be it Piazza, Beltran or someone else we haven't yet dreamt of, will have to seize the reigns of the team, take charge and start hitting the hell out of the ball. We won't hold our breath.

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