El Duque's Audition Ends In Loss

Whilst the results hardly seem to matter with the NL East and homefield advantage in the NL postseason clinched, there is still the sticky wicket of finalising the postseason rotation.

Pedro is still making his slow return to full strength. Tom Glavine looks sharp and El Duque launched his campaign last night with a 7 inning, 8 strikeout performance which earned him a loss against the Nats.

The overall picture, since that Cosmic Debacle against the Phillies in August when he gave up 11 earned runs in 4 innings, he's allowed three earned runs or less in his last five starts and is 6-2 with three no-decisions in 11 starts since July 5.

El Duque de Angulema, son of the future Charles the 10th of France.

El Duque de Queens and hopefully LA, SD, St Louis and Philadelphia...just imagine him taking the mound against his former team in the World Series...

Ratings against potential National League playoff opponents:

v. LA Dodgers He has started 3 games against the Dodgers all season with mixed results. His sole win came in his sole outing as a Met against them - whilst with the Diamondbacks he gave up 9 earned runs and 16 hits in a little under 9 innings of work. Then again, just last week he faced them and gave up only 4 hits over 7 innings.

v. Padres: Again, 3 starts, 2 of them with the Dbacks and all of them an unqualified success. 2-0 with a 2.40 ERA. Unqualified success.

v. Phillies: Three starts, all of them as a Met. 0-1 with an 11.08 ERA. Might rather see (gulp) Trachsel or maybe even John Maine out there. Quite frankly, given the success rate of wild cards in the post season, I don't even want to see the Phillies, period.

v. Cardinals: Never faced them. Ever. Not even in Cuba as a traveling exhibition. Well, perhaps in Spring Training but...


In other developments, Pedro is keeping silent. Perhaps he's playing Petey Possum, perhaps he's secretly concerned. His next start will hopefully clarify the situation for the better because even though I'm capable of suggesting he need not be starting Game One of the postseason, the World Series looks much more reachable with Pedro in Tune.

Paul LoDuca is getting some well-deserved rest for the remainder of the regular season.

"I don't want to get an MRI, because I don't want to find out what's in there," he said of his sore left thumb.

This is precisely the sort of luxury clinching so early can afford the Mets. A chance to rest their weary bones. The fine tuning comes in not resting everyone so much they're in a hitting funk to start the postseason. A very difficult balancing act not only for Willie, but all the Mets who need and deserve a little rest. They can ease off the accelerator but they'd better still keep their foot paused over it in case they need to give a little gas in October.

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