Rain Gives Bullpen A Well-Deserved Rest

It's raining so much in England, it's flooding and chaos is about to burst.

It's raining so much in Texas and Oklahoma, it caused the cancellation of the Heartland Flyer.

At Shea last night, rain and monsoon-like rains were enough to get Tom Glavine win number 297 and end the game after six innings with the Mets having taken two out of three from the "Defending World Champion" Cardinals and earning their 5th win in their last 6 games.

Running, before swimming 'round the bases.

All it really took was David Wright's two-run homer in the first inning to give Anthony Reyes his 10th loss against Zero wins this season.

Yeah, it's ok to make fun of that, no one will sue you for being politically incorrect. It ent a typo. Anthony Reyes is 0-10 for 2007. And I thought I was having a rough year.

It didn't hurt that Carlos Gomez continued his month-long quest to steal Moises Alou's job in left field with another dazzling catch, this one in the 4th inning off of Juan Encarnacion's fly ball to deep left. It didn't necessarily save the game but it saved Glavine alot of unnecessary angst.

And a further bright side, Carlos Delgado was only up to the plate twice last night so another hitless appearance only lowered his average to .223. But give him a break, he might have broken out given more time. After all, he's had two hits in his last 14 at-bats.

Overall you could say that in this series the Mets won despite a flailing plate performance. When you think about it, entering last night's 2-hit performance the Mets had only eeked out 9 hits over 22 innings. That's 11 hits over three games which still managed to produce 2 victories. Not bad. The shift of momentum or perhaps luck or perhaps skill overcoming bad luck, may have happened faster than we imagined.

And as for the rest of the world, well in England this morning, the rain has for at least the early hours, lifted. Sunshine prevails.


Lightening Don't Strike Twice In The 11th

The Extra Innings Gods Giveth and the Extra Innings Gods Taketh Away.

One night after an 11th inning homer gave them their 4th victory in a row (and kept them unbeaten against the defending World Champion Cardinals, the Mets were set down, the bullpen let up and the Mets had an 11th inning loss under their belts.

Whereas the bullpen had pitched 5 scoreless innings the night before, holding off the Cardinals long enough for Shawn Green to save the day, yesterday's humid, draining affair saw no such heroics.

Predictably perhaps, Scott Schoeneweis was the primary culprit, the modus loserendi, so to speak. But Aaron Heilman, after getting the victory and throwing a scoreless inning the night before, he replaced Oliver Perez in the seventh and, for the first time this season, allowed an inherited runner to score. He allowed another run in the eighth, giving up four hits in a seven-batter sequence in parts of two innings.

A rougher night watch the pen than pitching...

Schoeneweis, on the other hand, lost his second game of the year after seeing his own personal scoreless streak carry on for 7 appearances. Yes, it might SEEM like Schoeneweis surrenders runs every appearance but the truth is, his last bout of ugliness hadn't come since the debacle against the Phillies, the 3 earned runs in a third of an inning.

It wasn't quite as ugly a breach of the public trust this time around. After all, it wasn't until his 8th pitch of the game that he surrendered run number one, the first homer of Brendan Ryan's thus-far quiet career to give the Cards a one-run 11th inning lead.

And after Adam Kennedy followed that with a single you're thinking to yourself of course, oh christ, the floodgates are opening!

"My mom could be up right now and hit a home run," Schoeneweiss was heard to mutter post-game. All good and well, Scott, but maybe if your mom could be out there on the mound she wouldn't be giving up game-winning homers...

But Schoeneweiss managed to get by three more batters, including an intentional walk of Albert Pujols before wiser heads prevailed and Joe Smith, whose 7.60 June ERA was rather foreboding, entered the game.

He might have gotten them out as well were it not for a run-scoring error by Jose Valentin. In fact, Valentin had a rather dodgy night all around from the field. In the 7th, he lost the handle on a ball that allowed Ryan to score.

He tried to make up for it with his game-tying double in the 9th but by the 11th, the 12-6 advantage the Cards held over the Mets proved to be too much to overcome.


11th Inning Ending

Hard to believe it: three hits net two runs and another notch in the victory belt.

Well, ok. Three hits, two walks and two Cardinal errors.

Two lead off homers from unreliable sources: Carlos Gomez and Shawn Green.

Pop goes the weasel - considering he is hitting only .192 in June...

Amazing that whilst Moises Alou totters along into the eternity of the disabled list, Gomez has hit .322 in June.

Amazing that upon six pitching-duel innings from Jorge Sosa,wherein Sosa barely flinched, the Mets bullpen followed with five scoreless innings of relief not only to keep the Mets in the game but to oversee the victory, Heilman's 6th of the season. He may not be a starter, but he's got starter's numbers.

Sosa, of course, was 0-1 last season with a 5.28 ERA pitching FOR the Cards rather than against them.

And Smith, Feliciano, Wagner and Heilman, the local heroes, the quiet ones, for the night.

Sweeping Out The Bad News

A sweep.

Snap your fingers and just like that the angst, the sturm und drang is rapidly fading to be replaced by the auld, bold sense of entitlement the Mets and their fans have felt since their opening series sweep of the World Champions two months ago.

After a white-knuckled, tight-fisted affair on Saturday the Mets, perhaps having reasserted themselves and deflated the A's simultaneously, made things as easy and as pleasing to the viewers' eyes as they had on Friday, this time coasting to a 10-2, sweep-inducing victory.

All the good ingredients were at the ready.

Is we happy or is we ent?

Firstly, Carlos Delgado had a deserved seat on the bench. Considering his .139 career average against Kennedy, the A's lefty starter, it was a good idea. Even Carlos thought so allegedly: "If you're thinking about giving me a day off, this would be a good time." - jeez Carlos and miss the entertainment of watching you flail both at the plate and at with a glove of stone at first base? Even Mike Piazza was having a larf at Delgado's fielding antics on Saturday.

Well, maybe not so funny after all...how many years can you expect standing Os?

Secondly, a third straight solid performance from the starters (John Maine, 7 innings, 5 hits, two runs) and a third straight relief performance worthy of relieving albeit in a situation with such a lead they'd have been hard pressed to blow it - just imagine, the two biggest bullpen slobs this month, Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis combining for two hitless innings of relief - and you'll see just how 360 the Mets have suddenly turned this around.

And lastly, 14 hits and 10 runs from the plate will do it for you. With Delgado out of the lineup, every single non-pitching starter had at least one hit, with Jose Valentin, Carlos Gomez (.364 over his last 10 games and not wanting to see a ticket to New Orleans) and Jose Reyes all getting on base three times.

Now they remember they can win. Now they remember there can be alot of laughs in a season and perhaps, whew, a wiped brow, having survived a sort of seasonal assassination attempt and lived to talk about it later.

And look at those Braves, 4 1/2 games back and stumbling. True, the Phillies, now pretending to be dangerous and having swept us at home not so long ago, are only 3 games back but frankly, the Mets would probably welcome the opportunity right now to see those Phillies again and settle the score.

For now they'll have to settle for the defending World Champion Cardinals who last sullied Shea with their ridiculous Game 7 victory on the way to the World Series.


Could It Be?


After last night's 9th inning walkoff victory, the second in a row for the Mets, you are almost afraid to exhale lest the good news escape with the breathing and this latest, faintest sign of life from the patient is extinguished before it gains any momentum.

As far as momentum-turners go, this game was a pretty quiet affair. With El Duque returning to form tossing 7 innings of six-hit, seven-K shoutout to keep the Mets in the game, a hurler oft-whispered to be offseason bait for the Mets, Joe Blanton, was pitching a gem of his own in the form of 8 shutout innings which saw only 5 Met hits.

At the risk of hyperbole, perhaps the most magical moment of the season to date

David Wright and Carlos Beltran provided 4 hits by themselves and it was David Wright's single, an off-kilter soft loop that scored an excruciatingly hopeful Ramon Castro and gave the Mets a 1-0 victory.

Shockingly, the bullpen held form - Feliciano struck out Nick Swisher in the top of the 8th only to be felled by a Carlos Delgado error, (the same Carlos Delgado who went 0-3 hitting from the 5th position and saw his season's batting average swawn dive back down to .225) and after a brief conference, Aaron Heilman was called in.

When you consider that the game was in effect, on the line, and you consider what our frustrated starter has done so often coming out of the pen with the game on the line (we shant elaborate, sparing the reader such pain...) the notion of Heilman coming in and giving up a two-run homer to Shannon Stewart, perhaps even on the first pitch, wasn't a ludicrous fear. After all June had been just as unkind to Heilman as it had to the Mets - his hideous 5.06 ERA the proof in the pudding.

But Heilman survived the inning easily, striking out Stewart swinging on 5 pitches and compelling the next A to bat into a simple force out. Billy Wagner provided his usual theatrics, allowing the leadoff hitter a single, seeing the potential go-ahead run bunted to second but then, miraculously perhaps, retiring the final two batters with reasonable ease.

And that of course, set up Wright's unexpected heroics. Oh, three weeks ago we would have certainly expected it. But the lustre of this slump has so tarnished expectation that one was more likely for a silent prayer than a confident certainty. Add to that the fact that Santiago Casillo was on the mound. Since June, Casillo has been virtually untouchable; 10 appearances without surrendering a run and only five hits allowed.

But he was touched and touched fast once Castro had his double, Beltran was intentionally walked and David Wright ended the game.

That was it. Just like that you get the impression that the Mets just might have turned the corner. After all, how long have they waited to put back-to-back victories togethe, claimed a series victory? Since their victory over the Giants on May 29th, a long wait but a wait that wasn't quite long enough to destroy a season.

And let us not forget the man of spark, the de facto Captain of this listing ship, Paul Lo Duca, who perhaps ingrained a deeper sense of urgency in the 6th when he was tossed from the game for exploding over a strike call. His ejection was followed by a ritual rejection of his batting glove, his helmet and bat on the field whilst stomping back to the dugout whereafter he attempted to throw his chest protector only to see the water cooler get in the way.

Moidah in his eyes...


At Last!

Good afternoon, you've reached the home of the 2007 World Champion NY Mets, how may I help you?

Sorry? You're not getting excited about one stinking little victory over the Oakland A's?

Let me put you on hold for a moment...


It Could Be Worse....

Does a day off help a struggling team to clear its collective head or does a day off merely allow the doubts and insecurities to multiply?

In struggling to find reasons for optimism despite this horrific June, I thought about last season's World Series opponents, both of whom struggled mightily at points in the season, overcame those struggles and went on to reach (or quite nearly reach their goals.)

The Cardinals had a seven-game lead with 12 games to go but wasted nearly all of it by losing 8 of 9 games towards season's end. A final, struggling push birthed them into the postseason and thereafter, look where they ended up.

The Tigers had a massive, massive season last year but it also included an incredible nose dive that saw them lose 31 out of their final 50 games of the season and also saw them bounced from first place. They only made the post season via wild card and yet, was their season destroyed?

Two other major factors in the Mets favour are that this season is still reasonably young and they are still in fact, in first place.

Perhpas the quality of the NL East has been reduced to the leagues worst division however, given the Mets' swoon, the fact that their lead wasn't very big to begin with and yet they still hold on to first, it must be a bit demoralising for the Braves and Phillies who have missed their golden opportunity once the Mets turn it around again.

It ent over 'til the fat lady sings

We haven't yet hit July and if this series of June haymakers have sent the Mets reeling, dazed and confused around the ring of the 2007 season, they aren't nearly knocked out yet and there are still many rounds left to recover clarity.

Of course, all of this might be moot.

Perhaps this shocking and sudden decline is an indication that this team was never so duty bound to win to begin with.

But I don't really believe that. This team is solid with what had been one of the most feared batting orders in baseball. That hasn't disappeared overnight.

The starting pitching and bullpen, aye, these were worries before the season started and whilst the season's beginning led us to unreasonable hope, it isn't as bad as it has appeared the last few weeks. Not to mention that even if it is, Omar will surely find another arm or two or three to provide an answer.

So whilst the Mets have appeared to be kicking themselves when they are down they haven't kicked themselves out of the running.

There may be a few more leagues lower to sink before the Mets finally turn their season back around but be assured, it will indeed turn around.


Losing Becomes Habitual

Although it certainly isn't unprecedented, the Collapse of the Mets is beginning to exceed the patience of even the most optimistic of followers.

Last night another loss to the Twins which made it their second in a row and resulted in another series lost, their sixth series lost in a row.

Certainly after riding the high seas of expectation with such brilliance early in the season this three week collapse is now beginning to bear the hallmarks not of a temporary glitch, a stutter, a momentary illusion, but a flawed team that whilst once played above its head, is now suffocating under the weight of its own expectation incapable of righting its own path.

5 walks? No wonder he looks so laboured.

Last night's 6-2 deafeat was not only the 14th loss of their last 18 games but was also significant for it coming with Oliver Perez on the mound. Perez had been the Mets staff ace of sorts having gone 5-2 following a Mets loss previously.

Particular abhorrent was the fact that the Mets lineup was so ineffective, so mewling against the likes of Scott Baker, who had allowed 39 baserunners and 20 runs in his four most recent starts.

Baker allowed seven hits but only two earned runs over his five inning spell and the Twins' bullpen did the rest.

It used to be that the Mets could be counted on not to give up, to batter opposing bullpens and terrify late inning lead-holders with the potential of their explosive rallies.

No more. Now the batting sides for the Mets retire weakly. The ONLY regular with a late-inning batting average over .300 for the Mets is David Wright, who is hitting a monstrous .571 in the late inning of close games.

Conversely, Jose Reyes is hitting .067 in similar circumstances, Beltran and Delgado .200 each.

Bullpens need not fear the late-inning Mets when it matters.

And if you look over the last 30 days, batting orders need not worry about the Mets' bullpen shutting them down. Not when Mota has an ERA of 5.54, Heilman's is 5.40, Joe Smith, having lost the early lustre, has an ERA of 5.56 over the last 30 days and Aaron Sele's is 7.00.

Is it any wonder both the team and the fans are beginnig to become demoralised in the late innings?


The rest of this hopestand does not look any more promising, even with Oakland and St Louis looming on the horizan.

It will not be the quality of the opponents that seals the fate of the Mets this season if they do not pull out of this morass, but the quality of their own team which now, seriously, must be called into question.


Obviously, God Doesn't Love Us


We didn't lose, we just regained reality...

The game isn't even over yet.

Fuz Me Jedus

Not even 'cross the Ocean is the game over despite the time differences and I'm reading 8-0.


Sorry, now it's NINE to NOTHING

You want grasping at straws?

How about this? AT LEAST WE WEREN'T NO-HIT. Not today anyway.

We did squeak out three hits AND FOUR FUCKING ERRORS

And David Wright, spokemodel for the Armageddon, managed more errors than hits tonight.

And the game isn't even over yet.

I typed "stupid fucking losers" into google images and this is what came up:

Why not me?

And I could type one hundred or a thousand words about this every bit jab of pain of failure and if I were actually a Met, what would I do?


Not Dead Yet

The Mets have done this before in June, winning the opening game of a series (once in Detroit and once in the Bronx) before weakly submitting to their desperate June destiny, but this one had a different feel.

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not dead.
The Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm not.
The Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I'm getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, don't be such a baby.
The Dead Collector: I can't take him.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, do me a favor.
The Dead Collector: I can't.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The Dead Collector: I promised I'd be at the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, when's your next round?
The Dead Collector: Thursday.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I think I'll go for a walk.
Large Man with Dead Body: You're not fooling anyone, you know. Isn't there anything you could do?
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't: I feel happy. I feel happy.


Sure that's what anyone would say under the circumstances. It's a team-wide manhunt for hope and an 8-1 victory, an ace-like performance from John Maine, small signs of life from the dying patient on the table, Carlos Delgado, and for one bloody night anyway the Mets can allow themselves a mild sense of relief.

Maine threw 77 of his 115 pitches for strikes and the difference showed. He took a three-hit shutout into the 8th inning before giving way to Pedro Feliciano with one out and a man on. Felciano blew the shutout by surrendering a meaningless double to Mike Cuddyer for the Twins' only run but on a night that victory came by such a wide margin and even Aaron Heilman threw a scoreless inning of relief because the game wasn't on the line, Feliciano's flub could be forgiven.

Must be the high-sock look, Papi...

You'd be hard-pressed to make the argument that Carlos Delgado is on his way back but when you're grasping at straws like he is you might be encouraged by a homerun and his second multi-hit night in three games. Yes, feel free to rejoice in it, over the last three games, Carlos Delgado has had 5 hits in 13 at-bats (.385) and a double and a homer and two RBIs to show for it. Sign of life or the last murmurs of a dying patient? Is it amazing that Delgado has 41 RBIs and 11 homers despite his .229 batting average or am I merely hallucinating?

But those high socks don't make you faster...

For one night anyway the Mets got the pitching, the hitting (10 hits against a starting pitcher in the form of Carlos Silva hardly merits a golf clap but 15 overall looks impressive anyway) and the defence (no errors).

Of course you might point out that Carlos Beltran left 3 runners in scoring position with two outs even though he did manage a lone RBI however. And that Jose Valentin did much the same and is still hitting only .229 since returning from injury.)

But if you did, you might as well mention that the next pitcher the Mets are due to face is Johan Santana who is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two career appearances against the Mets. Santana has been less than superlative so far this season but more encouraging perhaps is that the Twins have supplied three or fewer runs for him in 10 of his 14 starts this season.

So we aren't over the hump by any means simply because for one night the Mets gave the appearance they were still interested in maintaining their NL East lead (maintained it was, as Atlanta ko'd Schilling whilst the Phillies were crushed 10-1 by the Indians), but even two out of three in this series would be a relief, something to stop the bleeding.


Mets Disappearing Without a Whimper

It's especially annoying when you make a special point of waking up just after 1 am simply to watch the Mets struggle and wriggle themselves deeper down into their hole as they did last night against the Yankees.

Two consecutive bad outings by the two starters the Mets allege to count on most...

So whilst the Yankees won their 5th straight series the Mets were busy losing their 5th straight series.

12 losses in 15 games is downright ugly and whilst the Mets are still managing to maintain a thin hold on their lead in the NL East, unless they turn things around fast, the taste of what once seemed like a very promising season could turn sour very quickly. The fruit that has been hanging from the bough like a promise is beginning to rot.

Last night it was the fault of El Duque, six runs and seven hits over less than five innings of work was hardly what you would expect out of the number two starter and whilst both he and Glavine have pitched brilliantly at times this season, they have both begun to struggle at the same time and simultaneously as the Mets themselves are dealing with what might be the lowest, most uninspirational point of the season.

Chien Ming Wang is 4-0 for June with a 2.08 ERA, the kind of stretch that most of the Mets starting rotation seemed to experience earlier this season. The kind of stretch we now sit back and salivate for, watching our batting order swing and struggle. There wasn't much of an issue of not hitting with men in scoring position because the opportunity didn't come along very often in an 8-2 pimp-shoe smacking.

And yes, after all this, turning off the telly with disgust as dawn was just creeping up over the hills of Warwickshire, a shitty Monday on the horizon with another weekend pissed away with losses and the lone highlight that semi-brilliant Friday evening far behind us.

We are, like the Mets it seems, at a loss to explain what has suddenly gone so terribly wrong. A little funk yes, you expect it here and there during the course of the season. But this isn't like a head cold or a mild case of gastroenteritis. This is a full blown outbreak of ineptitude, night after ugly night which has carried on for a little more than two weeks now.

What will halt the slide?

Perhaps nothing. Perhaps the Mets were the rabbit of this NL East race, rushing out ahead in impressive fashion only to run out of gas with a wobbling starting rotation, an injury-decimated batting order, the combination of a slumping Delgado and slumping Beltran, a bullpen whose middle relief has been sporadically disgusting and a manager who what, has run out of little miracles before we've even reached the All Star break?

Their lead in the NL East is tenuous at best, a mere game and a half of breathing space but fortunately, whilst the Mets will host the Twins the Braves will have to face the Red Sox and the Phillies will take on the Indians. With any luck, their equally inept colleagues in the NL East will continue to be almost as bad as the Mets and the eventual winner might end up being by default.

And whilst we were once the toast of the National League we are now in tatters, a mere 7 games above .500 with four teams sporting better records than us.

And no help on the way.

It will be an interesting and perhaps defining week ahead of these Mets.


So Much For Momentum

For one night anyway the Mets could exhale but only for one night as they were dealt another shot to the solar plexus, this time with their "ace" on the mound.

Wright sums up the frustration that is building by the game...

Tom Glavine had his second straight rotten outing, keeping himself stuck on 295 victories through poor pitching rather than suffering at the hands of his own sickly run support.

Perhaps worse still was the fact that Mets pitching in general surrendered three separate leads, 1-0 then 3-2 and finally 5-4 as they allowed the Yankees to score a pair of runs in five straight innings - even a brief awakening of Met bats wasn't enough to overcome that kind of pitching ineptitude.

Yes, Glavine was dogged by 8 hits and 7 earned runs over a mere 4 innings to bring his record to a decidedly mediocre 5-5 on the season and raise his once-sterling ERA all the way up to 4.67.

But equally disappointing was Guillermo Mota who continued his downward spiral off drugs. After allowing another pair of runs, three hits and two walks over a mere 2 innings of work, Mota's ERA has now spiralled to levels deserving of a quick demotion back down to New Orleans to find a new dealer.

No, when you think about it, pitching did the Mets in but worse still was another loss despite scoring 8 runs of their own and seeming on the verge of making a miraculous comeback in the 8th and 9th innings. Another loss that put them on the verge of losing another series, their 5th in a row. An official slump.

It didn't help that Carlos Beltran continued to prove that playing hurt is no answer to helping the lineup - his 0 for 6 night resulted in 9 stranded runners and it's clear that Beltran needs several days or even as much as a week off to heal himself. Problem is, with all the other absences in the outfield this isn't really a feasible option so Beltran is left to struggle, dangle on a rope.

It didn't even matter that Carlos Delgado woke up for a night with a pair of primarily useless singles or that Lo Duca had a trio of hits or that Jose Reyes was running wild again with a pair of walks, a pair of runs, a pair of runs batted in and a pair of stolen bases. The Mets may have managed an impressive run tally for their 14 hits but it fell just short enough to earn the loss.

Two Trains Travelling In Opposite Directions...

Not so fast.

10 games without an extra base hit comes to an abrupt end.

Remember the euphoria of shutting out the Tigers to open a big series following getting swept by the Phillies last week?

After the five game losing streak that followed, I'm holding back until the Mets take the second game of this series before I start getting excited.

Well, really excited, that is.


After all, snapping a Yankees 9-game winning streak, a Mets 5-game losing streak and stuffing Roger Clemens for his first loss of the season all in one game is bloody well exciting in itself.

Just enough to top the Rocket

Watching Jose Reyes run wild on the basepaths with three stolen bases, homer into right field off Clemens, add a pair of singles, one which drove in the other Mets run, to an overall dominating evening, was exicting.

Carlos Gomez making a Chavez-like (or what it more reminiscent of Jeffrey Maier?) grab to rob Miguel Cairo and then double Matsui off of second base to kill a potential Yankee rally in the bottom of the 4th, was exciting.

What, me worry? I'm the clutchest pitcher in the Mets rotation...

Clutch defence (let's not forget Valentin's grab at the tarp and Beltran's routinely amazing grab in the 8th)) solid pitching (Oliver Perez tossing a 5-hit shutout) were two of the ingredients the Mets have been missing in their recent tailspin blending together in one night of euphoric oneupmanship as the Mets defeated the Yankees in the Bronx 2-0.

You might point out, if you weren't ready to get too excited just yet that the Mets still struggled at the plate, going 1 for 9 with men in scoring position, but the pitching and the defence and Reyes were enough to offset some other glaring deficiencies.

Not that Willie didn't try to shake things up a bit, moving Carlos Beltran into the number two spot and batting David Wright behind him.

But it's rather difficult to have much of an impact when your clean up hitter in Carlos Delgado, who I think we can now officially confirm is locked in a career-worse season long struggle at the plate, striking out four times in four at-bats.

And Billy Wagner, who put it in the books with a 1-2-3 9th ending with a strikeout, got it right when he pointed out "It's just one game, and it doesn't mean anything if we don't back it up [on Saturday]."

And let's not forget on Saturday, with Glavine going for his 296th win yet again, the Mets will see even more pressure facing Tyler Clippard, who we all remember as the nobody who threw six shutout innings against the Mets to prevent a Subway Series sweep last month.


Let's just be thankful it wasn't auld Cliffy I was going to catch it Floyd out their in left last night...


More Depressing Than A Bad Haircut - Mets Lose Lose Lose

Brad Penny's cousin watches last night's action with studied intent...

For four innings, the Mets clung to a 1-0 lead.

Jorge Sosa was sailing along through four having allowed only a lone single, locked in what appeared to be a pitcher's duel with Brad Penny.

Wasn't he going to be ours one day?

Of course, a pitcher's duel would imply both pitchers kept up the tight, steady pitching prowess for more than four innings. In the Dodger 5th, Sosa began by giving up a lead off homerun to the man hot on Henry Aaron's All-Time Homerun record, Wilson Betemit, the one hitting .223 but who has homered two nights on the trot.

That Matt Kemp followed with a mere single rather than another homerun, I suppose we should be grateful for. And even more grateful when the next two batters were induced into striking out and sacrificing a runner.

But a Rafael Furcal triple followed by a Juan Pierre single made it 3-1 rather quickly and straight away there was a putrid smell coming from this game. With the way the Mets have been hitting of late, making up a two-run deficit (forget about a five-run deficit an inning later,) appeared as likely as a Carol Jager getting laid.

Ooooolala, sister, bring it on...

The three-game sweep was the Dodgers' first over the Mets in Los Angeles since August 1996. For the Mets, other than cosmic humiliation of getting swept by the Dodgers, the loss was their 5th straight and they've only got a lone victory over the Tigers to show over the last 9 games.


But I'm not going to bothering lingering on these rather unsalient points.

I'd much rather read the gossip and fluent baseball chatter on Alyssa Milano's blog, Touch Em All where I can learn not only that Eddie Murray tossed her a baseball but that the REAL highlight of Tuesday Night's revolting loss to the Dodgers was apparently Alyssa Milano catcihng a foul ball without breaking a nail. Not as impressive as catching a Hong-Chih Kuo homer or flipped bat with her teeth mind you, but readers seem simply agog with delight...

Hey Alyssa.
My family is planning a trip to San Fran for the Dodgers/Giants series in July and my momma and I just bought our TOUCH shirts for San Fran! Last night I went on your blog and shes like "Alyssa Milano has clothes?!?" and we looked and she loved them as much as me!



CONGRATULATIONS ALYSSA!! I am so happy for you catching the ball.
Liv :)


So how's that for a West Coast Trip? Six games, five losses. Five in a row. And the Yankees, running in the opposite direction with 8 straight wins.

Wonder how many more days we will be able to console ourselves with the mantra of Hey, At Least We're Still In First Place...


Mets Done By 2nd Inning In Losing Again

I seem to recall only last week the Mets hit three homers in a row against the Phillies and the Phillies came back to win the game anyway.

Last night, the bottom of the Dodgers batting order (including the pitcher) hit three homers in a row on three pitches and the Mets were unable to manage even the tiniest whimper of protest in going down to another loss, their 8th in 9 games.

What is this, the Little League World Series? Hong Kong Kuo pitches seven nearly-flawless innings AND hits his first MLB homer to boot?

I mean four of the last six Mets to bat in the 8th and 9th inning against the Dodgers bullpen, struck out swinging. The idea of a game-winning rally seemed about as likely as Rupa Mehta taking up chain-smoking.

So, who's to blame today?

Well, John Maine, not only for allowing the three weakest Dodger hitters to hit three consecutive homers on three consecutive pitches but also for popping up on a bunt attempt with one out and a man on to kill a rally in the 5th, is certainly a candidate.

Perhaps you'd prefer to hurl tomatoes at Joe Smith for allowing his 10th consecutive inherited runner to score - o, remember those days of the 0.00 ERA?

The truth is, this was a team effort of failure. There isn't really one particular player to blame - even if Carlos Delgado, with a lone hit, kept his batting average hovering at .228. Even if Carlos Beltran is hitting .171 since coming back from injury.

Team effort, as in Paul Lo Duca hitting .225 for June, or Jose Valentin hitting .200 since coming back from injury.

You see? There isn't a finger big enough to point. It's a team-wide malaise with no end in sight!

Maybe it was just the recurring nightmare of Posh Spice tossing out the ceremonial pitch in Monday's game that continues to haunt the Mets...

I'm not ready to be as grumpy as some just yet.

Yes, bad times at the moment, bad month. These swoons happen to nearly every team, teams that win World Championships and frankly, I like a little adversity with my brilliant championship season. Otherwise, without ever having been through the valleys, we will not know what we are looking down from the mountain tops.

Or some such rubbish.

On the bright side, the Braves lost again to keep them 2 games back but perhaps worryingly, just slightly, the Phillies have now crept to within 3 games of the lead. And after their start they sure give the Mets a run for their money in the season glitch adversity category.

Until tomorrow, well, I dunno. Let's see what interesting things Manager Willie has up his sleeve to deal with the most trying weeks of the Mets season to date. Do we really miss Moises that much?


Mets Lose Third In A Row, Tailspin Official

Wow, after such a euphoric beginning, what a miserable, bloody stretch.

Is there a second gunman from the window shooting down our dreams or the Mets merely shooting themselves in the foot?

Lose two of three to the D-bags at home. Get swept by the Phillies at home. Lose two of three to the Tigers and now this: losing the opener of their series against the Dodgers.

Willie knows that second spot in the batting order is sweet nestled between Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran - isn't that why Shawn Green returning from the DL and returning to LA, was slotted there and got two hits, including an RBI single AND stole a base?

Well that's the highlight reel, folks.

El Duque tossed the work of mere mortals after two consecutive beaming outings, the Mets returned to scratching out runs like an inmate scratches out tiny little openings in the prison wall eventually hoping to build a tunnel and the Mets lost 5-3, their 8th loss in 10 games.

But look, the first two months of this season were so goddamned beautiful you had to expect this at some point. What kind of story doesn't have the hero having to overcome some epic inner or external struggle before finally seizing the day again?

Let's not be sad about this streak...

I'm not going to worry. I'm going to be happy. Here are my Top Three Reasons To Be Happy In The Face Of Epic Adversity:

1. Despite this miserable stretch, The Mets are still 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves and 4 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies.

2. The bullpen outings of Schoeneweis, Mota and Feliciano combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings and only Schoeneweis even allowed a hit.

3. Another day closer to the epic return of Pedro. (oh, let's not start slating Pedro as the turning point of the season already. By August our lead should be double digits already...)

Granted, these are all weak premises but note I didn't include Shawn Green's return. The day that Shawn Green makes the difference in a Mets tailspin and turns the team around, I too, will shave my head in solidarity...


Mets Sacrificial Goats, Glavine Pounded

Hey, can you blame him?

I mean how many games in a row has Tom Glavine, in his quest for 300, pitched almost immaculately only to see a lack of run support by his team lead to another painful loss?

So Glavine let loose a long and loud fart of a pitching performance in protest. A sort of throw your hands up, there's no dog in the room to blame, open all the windows, run for the hills sort of stinker that reminds us all how much very excellent starting pitching has been wasted in this recent tailspin stretch.

Glavine clears the dugout with a stink bomb

In this 15-9 beating, Glavine allowed nine runs and 11 hits against him whilst recording just 13 outs of his own.

But hey, let's all look on the bright side.

The Mets scored lots of runs again.

Must be the hitting slump is over. Replaced by the starting pitching slump, the inevitable flounder, early-summer swoon after so many weeks of blessed starting pitching. This is where the real test of the bullpen will take place.

Yes, Detroit leads the majors with 374 runs, an average of just over six per game, but hell, that isn't 15, is it?

"I'm getting tired of talking about the whole 300 win thing," Glavine pointed out with gnawing fatigue. "Everybody thinks that's all I'm thinking about and it's not."

On the bright side, a few seasons ago, the way Glavine was pitching for the Mets, 300 wins seemed as far away as 400 so count your blessings...

And hey, here's a shocker: Andrew Miller, only a year after being drafted sixth overall, made his second start in the majors. Let's see, starting pitcher with one previous ML start? Sounds like a shutout against the Mets. Well, the Mets did actually do something in the beginning, allowing David Wright's massive three-run homer in the first inning that made us all think, wow, the Mets aren't fooling around today.

But Miller finished with only one more run allowed, giving up five hits and three walks over 5 1-3 innings.

Of course, when your own starting pitcher, your ace, is giving up well, the most runs ever in his Hall of Fame career, (not EVER but close) you aren't going to have much a chance to win.

Then again, it wasn't all Glavine's fault. More worrying was that the bullpen stunk as much as well. Aaron Sele (two runs in 2 2/3 innings) and Joe Smith (four in the eighth) continued a steady lack of bullpen production. Worrying. Starting pitching and bullpen collapsing at the same time. Or is it just the Tigers?

Wright has homers in four straight games, one short of the franchise record. Carlos Gomez also hit a three-run homer, his first homer as a Met. How often do you hit TWO three-run homers and still lose the game?


Next up, Shawn Green will be back so perhaps we can add defensive woes to the growing list of aches and pains during this extended tumble.

And the Mets travel to LA to play the Dodgers. I can hardly wait to see what The little Dodger tart has to say about us.


Good Vibe Gone As Fast As It Arrived With Another Loss

A day after the Mets were back on the winning track, after they'd become the first team to shut the defending AL Champ Tigers out all season, they were back glumly in the loss column following a miserable 8-7 loss, their 5th in 6 games.

On the bright side, perhaps even as they continue to await the return of Shawn Green and Moises Alou, the offense scored more than 3 runs for the first time in a week. But those injuries have been a convenient excuse for the Mets' first real rocky streak this season. The truth is, had the bullpen maintained its stature over the last week, they'd still have won more games than lost.

As it was, for a rare change, it was the starting pitching of Oliver Perez that conspired to keep the Mets out of this game.

Pitching like a shot-putter for a day...

Just a half inning after Jose Reyes' well-timed two-out, two-run single that tied the game in the 5th inning, Perez gave the Tigers a two-run lead after only three batters. Perez finished by allowing more runs than any Mets starter had allowed in any number of innings in 15 games since May 22.

They say the Tigers pound lefties and apparently, they weren't kidding.

Worse still perhaps, Guillermo Mota, pitching legally, continued to struggle to find his drug-adled harmony on the mound and an inning later, had allowed the Tigers to expand that lead to five runs.

That isn't to say that the renewed batting order didn't fight back.

Trailing 8-3 going into the 7th, they managed not only three runs again what was perhaps an equally inept Tiger bullpen, but had the bases loaded for Carlos Delgado.

Delgado's ground out to second, the anti-climax to an otherwise exciting game, spellt the end of hope for this game with two innings to go.

Yes they did score again in the 8th and yes, one did believe they were only one tiny break from breaking the game but I'm not so sure that Willie was right in saying that "We just ran out of innings."

You had the standard, 9 bloody innings, mate. You didn't do it. Your favourite man out of the pen last season, Mota has an 8.10 ERA since his "clean" return although would you find it encouraging that Heilman had a spotless two inning stint?

A loss is a loss is a loss. The Braves and the Phillies both won, making paranoia all the creepinger.


Good Bye, Shea, We're On The Road To Winning

You can say what you like but this team, built for the road, has it's home away from home, its silky paradise between the thighs of other women.

"our revolution will not happen between these thighs
your revolution will not happen between these thighs

the real revolution
ain't about booty size
the Versaces you buys
or the Lexus you drives"
- Juice

It will happen away from Shea.

As per the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the league that wins the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco will control home field advantage in this year's World Series.

So root root root this July for the American League, because that's where you'll want Game 7 to be played, on the road, in front of hostile crowds, if you're a Mets fan.

We ain't winnin it at home.

On the road, Sosa Shines and the bullpen doesn't blow it.

Or maybe it's just out of the NL East.

Say what you like but the road to the World Championship of baseball will not go through Shea.

Not if the Mets have anything to say about it.

And No, That Ent No Moises Alou doing that...

Go Mets, far from home.

Breaking The Curse

These poor outfielders, these tired, these poor...

I want to give them sanctuary.

And so I will give them one Dutch song and one American song in solidarity.

And the American one, but of course...

Is the thrill gone already?


Season First: Swept Away

You had to believe that this was the Mets' night after Paul Lo Duca hit the third homer in a row off of Cole Hamels in the 6th with two out to give them a 3-2 lead.

Especially considering the umps overturned David Wright's triple into a homer following Lo Duca's and Willie's protest that the mightily struck ball had hit a yellow advertisement sign of the Official Potato Chips and Cheez Doodle® Sponsor of the Mets, just above the left centerfield fence.

I could go on and on with questions about why the Mets need an "official" potato chip and cheez doodle sponsor or even why they would choose to help market such unhealthy rubbish in the first place (perhaps this is why they are barely .500 at Shea this season, The Curse of the Cheez Doodle?)

But considering the Phillies had won the first two games of this series in what many might consider very dubious fashion, hell, what are the odds of them sweeping a third?

Considering Billy Wagner had reached the evil number 13 in consecutive save conversions, apparently the odds were pretty good.

Burrell trots around the bags in a surprisingly battery-less journey

Pat Burrell tied the game with a homer in the 9th, his 37 career homerun against the Mets, (17th at Shea) and then Scott Schoeneweis upheld the bullpen to ridicule for another night, allowing three runs in the 10th and giving the once-formidable pen a 9.00 ERA and an 0-3 record in this series.

Yes, these Phillies, the team ridiculed for dreaming they were the team to beat in the NL East this season and the team whose bullpen was ridiculed even harder for its own incapabilities and lack of promise, have swept the team to beat in the NL East.

And compared to the Mets' bullpen, you know what the Phillies pen did? Pitched 10 scoreless innings, gave up only 5 hits and earned a trio of saves.

Whose laughing now, funny boy?

Jimmy Rollins, whose three-run homer off of Aaron Heilman the night before led the Phillies to victory, raised his batting average to .406 (13-for-32) against the Mets this season by getting another pair of hits last night.

On the positive side, if in fact you could pluck a positive side from this like trying to find a penny farthing in a pile of faeces, you could note that Jose Valentin is back. Of course that really isn't much of a blessing in disguise considering the guy who replaced him already had 7 homers this season. Will Easley be reduced to a pinch hitter role again or will he replace the enemic hitting and in-over-his-head Ben Johnson in left until Moises Alou finds his way out of this eternal struggle with oblivion and injury?

You could also note that the Braves lost to the Cubs again, maintaining the Mets' lead in the NL East despite themselves.

John Maine's 7 impressive innings with nothing to show for it followed an easily traceable pattern of starters pitching great against the Phillies but apparently not great enough. Both El Duque and Glavine before him suffered similar fates and one might even question why the bullpen has started to stagger only since the drug-reformed Guillermo Mota has returned. Is that just the imagination? Is this the baseball gods punishing the bullpen for welcoming back a known steroid user?


Who Was the Bigger Villian, Jimmy Rollins Or Aaron Heilman?

We could ask that question all series it looks like. One Mets-killing Phillie batter and one gut-busting Mets reliever per game, at least that's the way it's gone so far.

And yes, Heilman took another on the chin, this time a three run homer to create a 4-2 loss, the second in a row to the Phillies which put the laughingstocks on the precipice of a series sweep.

But rather than dine on bile or recap this double nightmare, worry about Endy Chavez going down to injury (yes, an official Curse on The Outfield), it's best to shake it off, revel in a few nice fielding plays, whistle in the dark, forget it ever happened and try to avoid a sweep.

Let's see Moises Alou do this without tearing every muscle in his body

Reyes almost looks at home, floating in the air like that...

And yes, forget it. The Mets dropped another to the Phillies but it still doesn't hurt as much as dropping two to the Braves just yet...


Who Is The Bigger Villian, Chase Utley or Pedro Feliciano?

Aye, a strong case could be made for both me lads.

Chase Cameron Utley, on the one hand, notorious Mets Killah, hits a homerun in the 11th inning to send the Mets off on their first extra-inning loss of the season.

Woooo-Haaaa! Only SEVEN GAMES WORSE than the Mets now!

On the other hand, Pedro Feliciano surrenders his first homerun in 20 innings this season at the most inopportune moment and embarasses the ENTIRE bullpen by letting the notoriously crap Phillies bullpen outperform their own - you do the maths - Phillies pen, 4 innings of work, no runs and two hits allowed. Mets bullpen, 4 innings of work, 2 runs and 5 hits allowed.

Was this Utley's revenge for the night Feliciano helped end Utley's 35 game hitting streak last August?

Utley, 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs on the day, virtually single-handedly ruining the night at Shea.

Feliciano, ZERO outs obtained whilst surrendering the two runs that send the Mets down the drain to defeat.

A Duck's World Recreation of Last Night's 11th Inning With Utley of course on the left and Feliciano the tiny little yellow belly on the right...

But this is all wrong. Utley is no "true" Met Killah. He's only hit .310 against Met pitching over the last three seasons. True, he has 7 homers and 19 RBIs against the Mets over that span but it's nothing. He's really a Marlins Killah, if you'd like to know. Over the same period against Marlin pitching he's hitting .366 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs.

So it must have been the revenge factor.

If you ask me, Ryan Howard is a bigger thorn in the side. 8 homers and 21 RBIs against Met pitching last season alone and last night, despite a very slow start to his season, Howard had 3 hits (none of them homers, thankfully) and raised his batting average all the way up to .231 for the season. Beware of this man starting to warm up having started perhaps even slower than our own beloved Carlos Delgado. Both big men with big problems at the plate.

O horsehide sphere, why hast thou failed me again?

For Glavine, yet another case of too little being not enough or too much being too few or simply good but not good enough; 7 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs. For most, good enough. For Glavine, another goose egg in the victory column. Another day vanquished that much further from victory number 296.

Will he console himself with his 2-for-2 day at the plate which raised his batting average this season to .292? Will he be pulling a late-career Rick Ankiel Deal if he ever reaches 300 victories? Finish his career playing left field in place of the always-injured Moises Alou, a full-time job if ever there was one?

Did it matter that we had Carlos Beltran back or that the rest of the outfield was filled in by the sickly plate duo of Carlos Gomez (batting .200) and Ben Johnson batting a very stealth .125 this season?

The answer is no. The trio of outfielders combined to go an astounding 0 for 13 last night although Gomez throwing out another notorious Met Killah (15 homers over the last three seasons against the Mets), Pat Burrell, at third base in the 6th to short out another potential outburst against Glavine was almost worth the momentary giddiness that ensued.

Shall we point a finger at Jose Reyes? Of course not. Sure, he was picked off second base allegedly trying to steal third in the 7th inning but this was after Ruben Gotay had embarassed himself by striking out pinch hitting for Glavine who'd already had two hits that night. And yes, with men on first and second and only one out and Carlos Beltran at the plate, could Reyes have been a little more patient, a little closer to the bag, a little less the chance-taker and game-breaker? Nah. You live on the edge, sometimes you fall off the edge. Can't second guess a man who disturbs opposing pitchers with such dexterity.

Kinkiest moment of the night ended in a run for the Mets in the 2nd...

There isn't really much to blame here. Beltran is playing hurt, two-thirds of the outfield is missing. Glavine pitched well, Feliciano was stoned by the law of averages catching up to him, Lo Duca and Wright both had a pair of hits, Damon Easley got on base three times. Ok, Delgado is still hitting below his weight at .222 but we've seen how quickly he can change the fortunes of the Mets...Maybe the blame rests with Shea Stadium itself, cursing the Mets for those plans of leaving. Maybe because the Mets are a miserable 17-14 at home. But hey, it can't mean too much. The Braves are only 16-13 and home and let's not even get started on the Phillies, barely standing at .500 in their newish stadium.

Here's the word of the day: You lose this one but take the next two and all is forgotten. The Braves lost last night as well so no harm done. Sure, the Phillies are "only" 7 games behind the pace now but hey, throw the silly Phillies a bone, they've had a rough go of it this season to date whilst the Mets have been sunning themselves with success.

How upsetting can all this be in light of Pedro pitching off a mound and feeling "encouraged"?

"It feels really high when you first go to the mound," he said. "It's tougher than you think."

Wouldn't it be poetic justice if he ended up being ready to pitch before the steroid harlot?

But one night is enough. The Phillies have won their one game. They aren't the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks swept the Phillies in Philly, right before they took two out of three from us at Shea.

The way we can look at it Adam Eaton is pitching for the Phillies Wednesday night, a chance for everyone to fatten up their batting averages (are you listening, Carlos Delgado?)

But beware, Cole Hamels lurks in the shadows of Thursday and although it might be a nice pitching duel between two young and budding prospect pitchers with John Maine facing him, let's hope the Mets' bullpen and the Phillies bullpen stop this Freaky Friday business and go back to their regular scheduled programming.


No No-No And No Win

"We're not that special, either. We're not as good as last year." - Billy Wagner's post-loss speech of encouragement.

So, the Mets have lost a series and their opponents weren't the Braves.

Easily the Mets could blame the absence of Carlos Beltran, Moises Alou and Shawn Green.

On the other hand, their replacements; Endy Chavez, Ben Johnson and Carlos Gomez were a combined 4 for 11 from the plate and played sound defence.

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's the end of a no-hit game...

Oliver Perez pitched another quasi-stellar game, a no-hitter and four strikeouts through the first four innings and gave up only four hits all game, a performance tainted by three walks and a trio of runs - good for a win most days but on Sunday, not. Not on a day where the margin for error was so small.

And whilst the subs were doing their bit the rest of the starting batting order of regulars went a combined 2 for 16 at the plate, shut down by an incomprehensibly effective Doug Davis and a pair of relievers after blowing a bases-loaded opportunity in the 8th - an opportunity which was foul by two feet and could have changed the face of the game but didn't as the D'Backs won their 9th game out of 10 and moved into a tie for first place in the NL West.

Davis puts together meticulous game plans for each of his games using the team's BATS video scouting reports, and one of the things he learned in researching the Mets is that they don't hit curveballs well. So he threw more of them -- 35 of his 111 pitches, Davis estimated.

And now, a day off to heal both the bodies and the minds and prepare for battle with the Phillies coming to town.

Help on the horizan

Carlos Beltran said he is certain he will play on Tuesday.

Three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., the team said.

Back-Up Mets Bring Mets Back Over D'Backs

If Friday was an ugly 4-hit performance that was better forgotten, Saturday afternoon was a celebration of the depth of the Mets' bench.

With a starting lineup that consisted of Endy Chavez in centerfield, Ramon Castro catching, backup backup second baseman Ruben Gotay, David Newhan playing left field and Ben Johnson playing right, the game was less a matter of what could be expected and more a matter of hoping for the best.

Back Up Day at Shea Turns Out Ok, thanks to Gotay

The best came in the form of Gotay, among others, whose three-run homer in the 7th ripped the game wide open and gave a 7-1 victory not only to the Mets, but to Jorge Sosa, yet another Met starter who wasn't here when the season began, yet improved to 5-1.

Sosa has started 6 games since called up in May and, bar one bad outing against the Braves has pitched more like a staff ace than an unexpected Triple AAA success. It was the fifth time in six starts that Sosa has allowed two runs or fewer and the fourth time he has pitched at least six innings.

Before this season, Sosa was 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA in four games against the D-backs.

Joining him and Gotay in the new face celebration was Castro, who had a pair of hits and against whom none of the 8 Diamondback runners dared steal against. You might also count David Wright, who returned to the lineup after missing Friday's loss.

The victory also brought the Diamondbacks' absurdist run of 8 victories in a row to a screeching halt and maintained the Mets lead over the Braves in the NL East.


These Things Too, Will Pass

Ok, we lost one.

It's the weekend. Let's relax.

Yeah, 5-1. So what.

It could be worse


Another Outfielder Bites The Dust

Losing Moises Alou created hardly a blip on the worry radar. We all expected as much, given his advanced age and Endy Chavez filled his post so capably it might be said that Moises wasn't missed.

And Shawn Green went down and even then, impressed as we were with the kid Carlos Gomez, we could point out that yeah, whilst the batting order might have suffered, the outfield defence was significantly improved. If we missed anything it was the suspense of the unknown every time a fly ball was popped Shawn Green's way.

Chavez was moved to right field and a host of other characters filled in over in left; Damon Easley had his stint, Gomez and Ben Johnson, another kid from nowhere was called up.

Even our top outfield prospect, Lastings Milledge was hurt.

But no matter, we still had Carlos Beltran in center and with Chavez in right and the all-night auditions in left there still wasn't as much as a sputter.

The visions of an All-Minor League Outfield

So when Beltran collided with Giants first baseman Rich Aurelia
in the 1st inning and then exited the game with a bum knee after scoring on David Wright's double, there were finally no starting outfielders left in the Mets lineup. The DL trio complete.

Yes, El Duque settled down to pitch seven brilliant innings of 2-hit ball and the Mets took another from the Giants and another series for the season to climb to a dizzying 34-18, 2nd best in baseball behind only the Boston Red Sox.

Yes, Joe Smith and Billy Wagner pitched two scoreless innings of relief.

But still, depending on the MRI results on Friday for Beltran, the Mets outfield might be experiencing the unique trifecta of a DL berth for every outfield position.

Will Mets be running nekkid in the outfield?

Sure, you could warily point out that Beltran has been hitting just .226 in May, but you'd be whistling in the dark, forgetting his team-leading 35 RBIs. Gomez, although exciting on the rare occasion he gets on base, is in the midst of an 0-for-14 slide at the plate including 8 strikeouts in 29 at-bats. Ben Johnson earned his first hit as a Met last night but the pedigree of a lifetime .236 Major League batting average will hardly cause hearts to flutter.

Of the replacement trio only Chavez with his sturdy team-high .323 batting average and stirling glove is of any particular Major League calibre.

A team can lose Moises Alou, Shawn Green and even Carlos Beltran for a spell but if the Mets are forced to field an all-replacement outfield for very long, eventually a few cracks are going to start to show. Not only in the batting order but from the bench as well where there aren't too many more options to draw from.

Let me be the first to say, Ricky Ledee, Ricky Ledee. As if sensing the opportunity on the horizan, Ledee has hit .435 with a pair of homers, 8 walks and 5 RBIs over the last 10 games...

Moises is due back shortly, Green by mid-June and Beltran's MRI fate might not be so bad after all so perhaps this is indeed just a little blip on the worry radar.

And hell, blowing away the competition like the Mets have of late, perhaps a blip or two on the worry screen is needed, just to keep the regular season interesting.


Goddamn, forgot to take my anti-balking pills this morning...

And whilst this game was going on, the worries growing, Armando Benitez became another team's headache.

Amazing what a few balks can do for you these days...


Next up at Shea are the Arizona Diamondbacks who have won five of their last six against the likes of the Astros and the Phillies.

As a team, the D'Backs are hitting almost 20 points below the Mets, have a third of the number of stolen bases and have scored 20 fewer runs despite playing 3 more games than the Mets. Given Mets pitching and the state of their outfield, I suspect this will be a series of low-scoring thrillers, especially considering the D'Backs pitching ranks 4th in the National League, just behind the Mets.

Over the last month however, the D'backs are on par with the Mets at the plate, both teams hitting .267 over the last 30 days, both teams with 27 homers.

The biggest question, after Carlos Beltran's MRI results will be how Willie juggles the batting order now.