Bullpen Blows Another

It's becoming such an every day occurance you'd think it was almost fashionable for the Mets to build a lead for their starting pitcher only to see him exit and the bullpen to enter and the lead to be lost.

Last night it was Brian Lawrence's turn.

Not simply sufficient for the elder statesman to pitch 5 reasonably solid innings as the number 5 starter - four runs and four walks but at the plate, two hits on his own and two runs driven in. When he left the game for a pinch hitter in the 6th with a 7-4 lead.

Of course to get there, they had to squander a 5 run lead for the third time in two nights.

Of course, David Wright had to have an inopportune time for the yips, throwing away what should have been an inning-ending out and extending the miserable 8th inning beyond its shelf life.

Once again, Willie's favourite play thing, the incomparable Guillermo Mota, was summoned from the pen to make the game exciting.

Mota, in one inning nearly managed to give the lead back to the Pirates and when both he and Feliciano and perhaps the worst offender of all, Homer Heilman, were finished with their hideous outings, the bullpen collectively had managed to surrender 9 hits and 6 runs in a mere three innings of work and all this, lest yea forget, against a miserable team like the Pirates.

The loss is not the end of the world, of course. It really only meant they couldn't complete their sweep in Pittsburgh. Their lead in the NL East over the Phillies and the Braves remained 3 games and 3 1/2 games respectively.

But the loss is just a variation of this lousy bullpen theme that keeps creeping up with all the same culprits to be held to blame. And if they can't hold a lead against the likes of the Marlins and the Pirates to whom will they turn, with a rotation of starters who never make it past the sixth, to hold a bloody lead against a team that is actually good?

And yes, the Mets are capable of scoring runs in bunches - that much they've demonstrated but the question is, can they score more runs than their ineffective bullpen surrender every night?


1st and 9th And Nothing In Between

In the first and last innings the Mets managed to score 10 runs. Between those innings virtually nothing happened between their bats and the balls thrown by Pirates pitching.

And despite all that scoring it wasn't until Billy Wagner struck out Xavier Nady to finally shut the door once and for all on the evening, that the Mets could relax with another stressful victory over one of the laughingstocks of the league.

(The displeasure of listening to the FSN Pittsburgh affiliates Greg Brown and Bob Walk drone on in mournful, depressing, utterly unexciting voices as though instead of a baseball game they were broadcasting a funeral - and all this despite playing in what by all sights appears to be a beautiful stadium...)

Flawless but for the fatal first...

You could perhaps be encouraged by John Maine's performance. After two consecutive appearances involved Maine Meltdowns one could be excused for feeling uncomfortable in the 2nd inning when he looked potentially to be in the midst of another perfect storm - even Willie thought it prudent to send Rick Peterson out to the mound for a little chat.

And even in lucky number 13 victory Maine was less than impressive, especially considering the opponent. 117 pitches for 5 innings? Yes 8 Ks (again, consider the opponent) but equally, 3 walks, 5 hits, 1 hit batsman, 3 earned runs.

Why don't the Mets have a Slovak Day like the Pirates do? The Pirates run the gamut of excitement to make up for the paucity of talent - Ralph Kiner Hall of Fame coin Night last night and Styxx concert and fireworks after tomorrow night's game. Styxx? The quality of music is the quality of the home team it appears although it looks like Smashmouoth will play after a Phillies game here in a few nights...

But back to that wild 9th...

Clinging to a one-run lead having squandered their 5 run lead from the first inning and fallen silent offensively the rest of the eve, the Met rally was nearly snuffed out when Shawn Chacon gifted them a run after making a fantastic backhand, barehand spinning catch off Castillo's bat and Milledge was caught between third and home only to have Chacon throw the ball away and instead of a second out, Castillo was safe, Milledge had scored. From then their singles, doubles and runs built what was presumed to be a safe lead. So safe Aaron Sele was warming up in the pen instead of Billy Wagner.

Sele promptly loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th with none out and the Pirate broadcasters began spinning their dreamy hallucinations of massive comeback. Of course, opponents are hitting .327 off of Sele - which says about all you need to know about Sele's season.

So instead of a laughter the Mets were forced to chew their nails again as Wagner entered the game in a save situation. Thanks to the athleticism in centerfield by Beltran, the damage didn't get worse - not immediately anyway. Wagner didn't make things easy for himself and found himself with a two-run lead with Nady to the plate as the tying run.

Nady as we know, swung at the stars and the Mets had their nerve-jangling finish.


For One Night, Squeaking By Is Enough

How many games in a row can Jorge Sosa pitch?

So far, four. And the last two have earned him victories, for himself and for the Mets. More victories in four games than he would have had in a month of starting. A total of 6 2/3 innings tossed, 8 hits and two earned runs. He's nearly obtained Aaron Heilman status when it comes to decisions by a relief pitcher.

Call me crazy but is it a wise move to have your senior citizen starter like El Duque throw 130 pitches so late in the season against a team like the Pirates? Is the bullpen getting that dodgy?

Something funny's going on - why else would Scott Schoeneweis be out there trying to give up the lead in the 8th inning? The rest of the pen was suffering from botulism? Or was he the only one available who could give up a long out to the warning track that Lastings Milledge could almost misjudge and then make an athletic diving catch to redeem himself? Is Willie trying hard to give us all a little excitement in our victories?

The Mets now have the best record in the league but if you think about their having lost two out of three against the Braves, losing two out of three to the Marlins and then this squeaky victory over the lowly Pirates you have to wonder aloud, is the quality of the NL that low that the Mets, even playing as poorly as they have of late, winning ugly when they win, are still the league's best?

It doesn't matter really. The season is about people like DeFelice rising to the occasion with a pair of hits although you have to wonder how long his octagenarian knees can keep squatting - and was the Duque/DeFelice battery the oldest in baseball? Certainly it was last night.

Funny thing how you can't hit homers from the DL

And it's also about the two most frequently injured outfielders, Alou and Beltran getting a pair of hits each, Alou's the deciding two-run single and Beltran adding a homer.

But once you're back...


Bullpen Redeems Itself - Sweep Averted

Didn't think you'd have to say this against the Marlins did you, but, good news, the Mets avoided a sweep.

And making up for 2 consecutive blown saves the bullpen tossed 4 scoreless innings to hold the Marlins whilst power sources like Moises Alou (7 homers all season, 3 multi-homer games...) and Carlos Delgado (who was not robbed today for a change...) helped push the Mets up to 10 runs on the day allowing everyone to breath a sigh of relief.

So for the moment everyone can put away their bulleye's and their scorecards and let those laments about the bullpen being their great undoing die mid-sentence. For a night, all is back to normal.

Jose Reyes had a nice comeback on his own as well, one day after wrongly being called out at home plate he managed to kick the Marlins catcher "unintentionally" in the face, watch the ball squirt loose and avoided another fatal cock-up by the home plate umpire.

All in all a redeeming day which almost made up for the long gaps in Tom Seaver's rambling theories on the death of the 300 game winners and Ralph Kiner's slurring and off speed pronouncements about...well, I dunno, I couldn't really understand him. Well done in the booth! It beats Fox and ESPN any day.


Another Rotten Day In The Bullpen

Oh, sure. We could go ahead and add Alfonso Marquez to the Blind Umpires of America Federation.

But we already spent that loss, that pitiful John Maine meltdown in Chicago last weekend blaming an ump for the demise of the Mets and after awhile, the story just isn't going to be very credible.

Yes, Marquez bleeeeeeeew a call at home, calling Jose Reyes out when he was clearly safe and cutting short a rally, stopping the Mets from taking the lead, emptying the Mets ballon of Momentum as if he'd just popped it with a pin and stuck a wad of Marlin 50 dollar bills in his back pocket.

But more troubling still was the fact that for the second night in a row the bullpen failed to hold a lead, failed to secure a victory.

You pick your poison: Guillermo Mota or Aaron Heilman.

Willington send's Mota's lame offering to the bank

Personally, I thought Mota's the more predictable and Heilman's 30 or 40 pitch screed the more antagonising. I was climbing the walls by the time Cabrera hit that two-run single.

I mean Mota, baddabing, baddabang; two straight sliders for balls and there he is, 2-0 throwing to a fastball hitter like Willingham on a fastball count and there it is, in all its hideous predictability, simple grand slam surrendered. Typical mutt sort of pitching performance from a guy Willie keeps stubbornly insisting is the bad penny that won't leave his bullpen and keeps turning up over and over again to send the Mets stumbling.

Really, I thought the Mets had it after David Wright's second homer of the day. Did you see HJ and Willie giggling to each other in the dugout right after that shot? They thought it was in the bag as well. I mean, this is the Marlins after all. What is this, some sort of sick practical joke?

Who's Laughing Now?

So Tom Glavine can thank his bullpen for blowing another victory for him. Or maybe he's just thankful they didn't blow that lead for him last week that got him to 300. Either way, he's got no chance to be like Warren Spahn, who threw 7 complete game victories in his first 7 games pitched after reaching 300. Maybe Spahny had a few mutts like Mota and Heilman to keep him throwing.

On The Heels Of Another Series Lost To The Braves

Daniel Barone, starting his first game EVER, perhaps predictably, kept the Mets silent through four innings, coming off the hangover of the lost series to the Braves and considering the Mets' historic record against first-time starters.

But then in the 5th Jose Reyes reached first as a leadoff hitter via Marlin error and was followed by a perfect bunt by Luis Castillo to put two men on with none out and Carlos Beltran with a chance of redeeming all those lost games and all those poor performances whilst he probably should have been on the DL.

Kaaa-Ching. Beltran belts a three-run homer and the Mets took the lead.

In a way, you probably figured, game over, it's just a matter of time.

And in nearly every game this season, you'd have been correct.

But on the heels of that near-miss against the Braves, Billy Wagner entered the game in the top of the 9th with a one-run lead not having given up a run eight weeks. Eight weeks, boys and girls. That's either domination or an accident waiting to happen.

Kevin Gregg does what Billy Wagner couldn't last night...

Wednesday night redux - is Wagner just searching for some excitement when he puts two men on with one out and the top of the Marlins order coming to bat?

What do we say, Carlos Beltran, put your centerfielder glasses back on? Did he step in went he should have stepped back the minute the ball left Hanley Ramirez's bat? Or Billy, play with fire, play with fire, finally get burned?

Either way, Wagner's second blown save of the season and the Mets' third loss in four games.

Granted it was only the Marlins but Brian Lawrence should be golf-clapped, even in a loss that he didn't earn himself, for a six-inning performance he allowed only two runs in, a gutty, gobby performance consisting of 8 hits and 3 walks surrendered.

And golf clap for the Phillies who did what the Mets so rarily do, beat the Braves.

And for Mets hopefuls, let's have a look at that lineup, the regular lineup we've waited so long to see:


That's a frightening sight to every rotation in the National League.


Braves At Shea Revisited

Two out of three, lost.

At home, against your arch-rivals.

Here are some of the Highlights and Lowlights:

GAME ONE: Braves 7 Mets 3:

Perez wasn't able to hide from the Braves for very long.

1. Odalis Perez, former conquerer of the hated Braves with three victories in three tries this season, 1.31 ERA, the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal showing against the Braves so far this year, flopped. The Braves didn't waste alot of time with their progressively larger outburst: One run in the 1st, two runs in the 2nd, three runs in the 3rd topped by the Jeff Francoeur three-run job.

bye bye sweet dreams of victory, gloried domination is now history...

2. Francoeur 4 hits, Chipper Jones, 3 hits. No surprises there. By contrast, Mets bats quiet as church mice making the casually ineffective "Buddy" Carlyle seem like Vern bloody Bickford.

3. If you're going to burst a bubble better that it's burst early and quickly to give the mind more time to acquiese the pain. The terrible thing is you came to believe Perez was infallable against the Braves, that the charm and mystique would last forever. This was a painful and perhaps even brutal clarification.

GAME TWO: Mets 4 Braves 3

1. Gotta win this game to make sure there is no sweep at home. That's how bad it is against the Braves. You lose the first game and even through you're at home, you don't think about taking two out of three. No, that's imponderable. You pray you salvage one meagre victory and stave off humiliation.

2. Heroes in the crowd: It's Outta Here!

Or what about El Duque putting in another stellar performance - not allowing even a hit from these miserable Braves until the 5th inning. As fast as Oliver Perez gave up the ghost in Game one, Duque shut them down in Game Two. Three of the first four Braves batters he faced were struck out swinging. That was big, keeping the Braves silent for so long. Yeah, the 6th was a sheets-wet, white-knuckled nightmare but keeping the Braves quiet for the first five innings was big news.

THERE goes your Teixeira moment, mothahfuckah!

Luis Castillo's broken-bat single to score two and tie the game in the 7th? Shawn Green, four hits and a diving grab to rob Andruw Jones in the 7th? Whatta game. Shawn Green, .352 lifetime against the Braves...

3. Near Goats In the Crowd:
The Sweetest Relief We Know...

How close did the Mets come to ruin? Bases loaded no outs with your ace closer having put them all there to begin with? No realistic choices left in the bullpen? By god if that wasn't the moment you were ready to explode with disgust, that your anger wasn't percolating and ready to burst like Mt Saint Helens, I don't know what is. Close to being the absolute low point of the season until magically and perhaps even unpredictably, there was Billy Wagner recovering: Jeff Francoeur forcing a play at home and not killing us, Andruw Jones grounding into that thank almighty god double play to finally snuff the fire that was threatening to destroy the Mets season. You won't have a closer call until the post-season. Guaranteed.

4. Chipper Jones, 2 more hits, including the attempted rally-starter in the 9th. For a change, John Smoltz pitches good, but not good enough.

GAME THREE: Braves 8 Mets 7

This was the holy shit moment that well and truly did the Mets in...taking the potential game-tying homer away from Carlos Delgado, Mr Willie Harris.

1. Another game with the makings of a pitcher's duel: Tim Hudson v John Maine, the marbles in a row...

2. This one had everything you'd want to see in this series, bar a Mets victory to take the series. A tight sort of pitcher's duel through 4 until John Maine began coming apart at the seams in the 5th. (Does that sound familiar, The Maine Meltdown, now running two starts on the trot, Chicago-redux?) Some might say it wasn't a proper meltdown, just a case of Chipper Jones' 3-run homer, another dagger in the heart, his 5th RBI of the series followed by a Teixeira homer, 4 runs total before the second bloody out was even recorded. John Maine Frustrated Body Language says it all.

Sure, the Mets had an opportunity to crack it open early in the 1st with Wright and Delgado on 1st and 2nd, a run in home already and only one out with Game Two's hero, Moises Alou's at the plate - Alou cracked what looked like either a 3-run homer or a multi-run extra base hit, robbed by Willie Harris.

And the Mets had another opportunity in the bottom of the 9th, trailing by four runs and seemingly out for the count, out-managed yet again by Bobby Cox.
David Wright's two-run homer to bring the Mets to within a run had all the earmarks of an historic Mets rally. You could sense it among those remaining hopefuls who hadn't left Shea early to beat the crowds, who hadn't given up with 3 outs to go and 4 runs behind.

Tyler Yates to thank but Cox went to Villarreal, who had never saved a game in his professional career, for the last two outs.

And that was when Delgado wuz robbed by Willie Harris and the series died.

Hand it to the Braves, the Mets didn't lose one, the Braves won it. Hats off, even if we hate them.

As for the Mets, they haven't been able to win a series from the Braves all season. Whilst they maintain their grip on first place in the NL East, their victory the night before haven't secured a larger chunk, the Mets have to wonder what might happen should they face these Braves in the postseason...


Congrats, Tom

It only took one extra start for Tom Glavine last night to earn his 300th career win as the Mets won another series on the road, taking their 2nd of 3 games in an 8-3 victory over the Cubs.

The victory was powered by 3 hits from Jose Reyes, 4 hits from Luis Castillo, a pair of hits and 4 RBIs from Carlos Delgado who continues to look on the verge of a massive late season break out.

Part This Is Your Life, eulogy and part celebration as directed by the ESPN duo of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller, Glavine's 300th was earned by five opening shut out innings, driving in the first run of the game with his own bat and watching the offense make certain the bullpen couldn't blow this one, this time.

Only 58 of his 300 victories came in a Mets uniform but each season since his magical signing for the 2003 season, his victory total has grown; from 9 to 11 to 13 and 15 last season - he could well continue to surpass that mark again as he already has 10 at the beginning of August.

So congrats, Tom - even if the majority of those victories came as a hated Brave, I do believe you are finally forgiven...


Fire Joe Morgan website saves me countless words and all my breath wasted on whingeing about his existence in the ESPN booth.


Idiots and Maine Meltdown Cost Mets The Game

My name is Marty Foster and I am the bĂȘte sauvage of incompetence.

If I were John Maine I would be completing Marty Foster's application for lifetime membership with the American Council of the Blind, have his union card revoked and kick him penniless and humiliated to the kerb for demonstrating such an inexorable ineptitude umping from first.

Indeed, it was Foster's failure to make a simple out call at first base that precipitated the meltdown of Maine in yesterday's demoralising loss to the Cubs, led to the wildness, walk after walk after hit batsman after run-scoring hits and sent Maine to an early shower in the 3rd inning with a 6 run deficit hung around his neck.


Because Foster blew the call that would have ended the inning and did so just a few batters after the third base umpire almost blew a call at third base which forced David Wright to tag out a runner he'd already forced out in the first place.

The only consolation a viewer might have found in the wuthering heights of hopelessly inane umpiring was that it temporarily distracted one from the banal, mindless chatter of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck who are, in essence, the baseball broadcasting equivalence of Mutt and Jeff, captains of unparalleled stupidity.

Behind the scenes of the Fox Channel baseball broadcast booth...

And while we're on it, who is Ken Rosenthal blowing to keep his job giving sotto voce discourses on self-inflicted moronity masquerading as "insider" knowledge and insight, Mistress of the Painfully Obvious?

And when Fox isn't carpet bombing you with the insipid slow-wittedness of its painfully untalented staff it is giving you the Chinese water torture of corporate junk food sponsorship. What the hell does the Burger King Hot Zone or the Pepsi Clutch (Performer) really have to do with baseball?

Sweet eff all, that's what. Just more mind sewage gobbing up the works of baseball, that's what. Thanks, Fox. You've almost made baseball ugly.


And yes, of course it all distracted one from a Mets loss. John Maine was certainly the engineer of his own demise growing wilder by the pitch and perhaps had he been a little steadier fielder in the 3rd inning it never would have come down to the blind incompetence of the umps but why blame oneself when there are such blatant scapegoats setting themselves up there as targets?

Quite frankly, Moises Alou's sweet pair of homers were almost lost in the swill of frustration. The fatuous bile oozing from the lips of McCarver and Buck distracting to the depths of temporary insanity, almost caused us to overlook Aaron Sele's three innings of scoreless pitching. How often have scoreless and Sele been in the same sentence this season?

But all those rotten things put together still doesn't explain Ted Lilly and the Mets' inability to score runs on Saturday. It doesn't explain Lastings Milledge's ugly E8 in the 7th.

Ugh, blech.

Let's hope Tom Glavine has better luck than his two predecesors, Roger Clemens in 2003 and Greg Maddux in 2004, at winning number 300 at Wrigley Field. Clemens lost his chance and Maddux received a no decision. Glavine's might be the last 300 put up for a long, long while.


The only mildly uplifting episode was the discovery of Lastings Milledge Facts which I credit BMF for pointing out.


Delgado and Dempster Do Cubbies In Again

Hard to say who has done the Mets more good in their matchups this season with the Cubs. On the one hand, Carlos Delgado has now had three late-inning, game-changing at-bats in 5 games against the Cubs, all three of which have resulted in victories and Ryan Dempster has given up 9 earned runs in 1 1/3 innings against the Mets this season.

Either way, the Mets banged out 4 runs in an explosive 9th to humiliate the Cubbies pen yet again with a 6-2 victory.

From the onset, this game had all the markings of an exciting postseason game.

The NL's winningest pitcher in Carlos Zambrano against El Duque, who is 3-0 with 2.48 ERA since the All Star game. Eddie Vedder singing Take Me Out To The Ball Game for the 7th inning stretch. Wrigley Field, beautiful summer afternoon and both teams in first place for the first time EVER in a game played in August or later.

Other than the 9th inning, this was the highlight of the game although the wuthering arse kissing by Lem and Bob in the WGN booth when Eddie came down from the mountain to discuss baseball was a bit disheartening...

For a long time the Mets didn't look like they were capable of clutch hits, another crap performance with runners in scoring position looked like it was going to be their downfall.

Zambrano walked seven batters on his own through his 5 innings of work before Ramon Castro's silencing shot and "heat-related" cramping forced him from the game. Overall, by the 9th inning the Mets had gone 1 for 9 with RISP and had left 12 runners on base, 9 of whom made it on free passes. The victory couldn't have been more gift-wrapped.

Duque outdueled the NL's winningest pitcher but didn't get the victory...

In fact, the 10th walk of the game for the Cubs' staff turned out to be the winning run when Delgado doubled David Wright home in the 9th to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Delgado had himself been walked his first four times to the plate.

Lingering Thoughts

David Newhan nearly causing another outfield gaffe

1. David Newhan - replacing Moises Alou in left field and batting second, Newhan had a wretched ballgame until his grab in the 8th prevented a certain extra base hit and probably prevented Guillermo Mota from coming apart at the seams. Still, that ugly run into the ivy wall on a ball that probably couldn't have been caught but still could have been dealt with a little more dexterity than a simple blind run into the wall, was a mark against Newhan in leftfield in lieu of Lastings. Worse still, when the Cubbies put Reyes on with an intentional walk in the 8th (which is in essence, an intentional two-base walk) to put men on second and third with the score tied, Newhan had his chance to shine. Instead he struck out, a meak whiff, another failed Met with RISP. The Cubs were proved right, gambling they'd rather put a second run in scoring position than have to pitch to Reyes when a Newhan was there waiting to be fooled.

2. Mota - I have to say, I thought for sure summoning Mota, (and Willie seems determined to keep going to Guillermo until it starts to pay off,) was simply trouble waiting to happen with the score tied. However, Mota had a respectable outing and kept trouble at bay. Is there a method to Willie's madness perhaps? Work Mota over and over until he gets it right and gets in the groove? Stayed tuned.

3. Ramon Castro - A solid replacement catcher and hell, his homer to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the 6th was his 6th homer in his last 20 games, a pace for about 48 homers on the season but damn, he's also doing a helluva Mike Piazza impersonation out there; lame failures at throwing runners out. When Derek Lee stole 2nd in the 8th it meant that for the season Castro has only thrown out 2 runners out of 25 steal attempts. That's Piazza Country for defensive uselessness behind the plate.

4. It's a testament to the Mets bench, commentary on Newhan, Castro's and perhaps even Gotay's fielding aside, that with Moises Alou, Castillo, Lo Duca and Beltran out of the starting lineup, the replacement team of Newhan, Gotay, Castro and Marlon Anderson respectively, was more than inadequate if not impressive.

5. Lou Piniella, go on a diet you fat bastid. Watching him waddle out to the mound several times for conversations with his pitchers was positively excruciating. It's hard to believe this guy was ever an athlete watching him with those spindly arms, sumo gut and bird legs and hey, as a manager, your team was just dropped from first place again so...


Mets Take Series From Brewers, 12-4

This might just be one of the more unlikely wins you're going to see from the Mets this season.

With the Brewers at home, a game after the Mets had knocked them from their high perch in the NL Central down to a tie with the Cubbies, you'd have expected some sort of rip-roaring return, especially with the likes of Brian Lawrence making his return to the Major Leagues on the mound for the first time since 2005.

Or maybe you'd have questioned how the Mets planned on scoring enough runs for what was certain to be a double digit output against Lawrence with Beltran on the DL, Damion Easely replacing Shawn Green in right field, and Lo Duca still recovering and out of action, playing Wally Pipp to Ramon Castro's Lou Gehrig.

The 40-something doing his part to join the others on the DL...

And if that didn't kill him, maybe running into Lastings Milledge would - Who is this Alou character, Wiley Coyote?

Or maybe some faith that even with a few stars out this was no rag-tag group the Mets fielded out there with the likes of Reyes, Castillo, Wright, Delgado and Alou batting 1-5. They combined for 9 hits and 6 runs on their own last night (mostly courtesy of Wright's massive night at the plate) whilst bringing up the back were people like Easley and his unlikely in the park homer and Lasting Milledge's trio of hits.

Basically, 18 hits and 12 runs scored is going to be enough unless you're the NY Yankees and for Brian Lawrence, it amounted to his first victory since 2005 whilst for the Mets it meant taking the series from the Brewers in Milwaukee. The team with the best homefield record in the National League.

Not bad for a three-game series even if it did come on the heels of a blown victory 300 for Glavine and a pen that has been refurbished only by the demotion of Jorge Sosa.

Maybe Sosa wants to be in on the game the next time Willie decides to mismanage his bench and is left with only a pitcher to pinch hit in the 9th inning of a tight game, who knows but last night he managed an rbi double hitting for himself and threw two more scoreless innings to boot.

The Brewers have now lost seven of their last nine and perhaps the Mets merely caught them at the right time what with public team spats opening like chancres and the heat of a pennant race getting to them.

But the Mets can do them a huge favour by sweeping the Cubs in this next series and do themselves a favour by providing Glavine some of the run support they've given to Lawrence and Oliver Perez the last two nights when he pitches on Sunday night in a game broadcast in England for the economic and strategic political ramifications tied with it. (Well, that or the fact it's the Sunday Night game which is broadcast here every Sunday night/Monday dawn.)


With certain people grumbling about not enough fit birds filling the pages of late, perhaps down to jet lag or over-stimulation in Pacific cultures, difficult to say, let us hereby welcome the return of It's Mets For Me with the gratuitous posting of a few fit birds. Welcome home, wherever that is...

The Auld One Gun Salute...


One Night Too Late The Mets Show Some Run Support

Well it isn't quite on par with denying Tom Glavine his 300th win but knocking the Brewers out of sole possession of first place in the NL Central for the first time since April is certainly some modicum of revenge.

But aha, it isn't the Brewers we should be seeking revenge against it's the Mets own bullpen, isn't it?

In any event for a few shocking moments this game seemed on the verge of being over before it started. That was the moment when you could sense Oliver Perez falling to pieces after he'd foolishly thrown away a likely inning-ending double play grounder to put two men on with one out and The Fat Prince coming to the plate.

The Fat Prince jogs around the bases whilst Oliver Perez begins his nervous breakdown

The Fat Prince hammered a Perez offering off the Miller Lite Live Responsibly sign so goddamned hard and far the Brewers announcers couldn't stop talking about it for an inning and a half and all of the sudden the Brewers were ahead 3-0.

But instead of a nervous breakdown, instead of wild pitches, hit batsmen, walks, Perez sorted himself out and lived to pitch another inning.

In the interim the Mets took the lead right back highlighted by Ramon Castro's three-run shot to silence the crowd and make it a 4-3 lead before Claudio Vargas had even gotten his first out of the second inning.

But that wasn't enough. An abortion of a diving catch cum retarded goal keeper impersonation by Shawn Green in right field turned a single into a double and a second run that gave the Brewers the lead back again and added up to two errors in the first two innings by the Mets that cost 4 runs. One might have wondered at that point with some chagrin, are these the actions of a playoff team?

Vargas appeared eager to give the lead right back though, let the first two men of the inning on base again with no outs. But a bizarre strike out call against Delgado on a pitch that nearly hit him on the hands followed by a trememdous diving grab by Ryan Braun of a sizzling shot off of Alou's bat down the third base line off Alou's bat appeared to seal a scorless fate.

But no, Vargas was more than eager, he seemed downright determined to let the Mets score again and there it was, Marlon Anderson, of all Mets, starting in centerfield for Carlos Beltran doing what Beltran himself can rarily due when he's not on the DL or spending a week and a half getting ready to go on the DL which is, snap a three run homer. That made it 7-5 in favour of the Mets. Vargas' shortest outing of the season was over.

In a way, it sort of looks like Marlon Anderson is goose stepping whilst shooting imaginary birds in the sky with an imaginary shotgun that is really his bat that he hits homeruns with but I think this is just the reaction when you drive in four runs on the night and finally have a stab at failure...

And yeah, the game went on but in essence, that was it. With 7 runs of support Perez finally settled down shutting the Brewers out over the next four innings and finishing with 11 strikeouts although it took him 115 pitches to do it.

Guillermo Mota tried to redeem himself by pitching two scoreless innings of relief - actually two perfect innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts to boot. Think Glavine wasn't seething to see that one night after Mota helped blow his chance for 300? Mota should be pulling horse heads out of his bed every night for the rest of the season for that shameless choke two nights ago.

And then Billy Wagner had to go and give us all mini-aneurysms because, well perhaps because Mota let everyone down by actually pitching well so Billy Ball figured hell, we've gotta create some fun and artificial excitement somewhere here so he allowed two hits before finally shutting the door on the Brewers for the night.

Unless the Mets score a dozen runs in this afternoon's rubber match, don't count on a win with Brian Lawrence out there.

I know, Sosa has sucked of late and deserves his bullpen demotion but really, Brian Lawrence? What is that going to prove? We can still beat you with one hand tied behind our back and both feet caught in bear traps?


Mets Blow It For Selves And Glavine

Well, looks like Tom Glavine's 30 family members and friends will have to go back on the road again soon.

Say Good Bye To 300, Tommy Boy

Rather than celebrating his 300th career victory in his first try, Glavine and friends went home disappointed as the Mets bullpen, which was not strengthened as expected before the trade deadline, blew the lead Glavine and Mets batters had left for them as the Mets lost in 13 unlucky innings to the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Aaron Sele was the culprit justifiably hung with the loss but Aaron Heilman, Pedro Feliciano and of course, Guillermo Mota, could all be named and shamed for their failure to do what they're paid to do: get outs without surrendering runs.

With one out in the 8th, Glavine exited. Heilman allowed a leadoff bloop single by J.J. Hardy before retiring Ryan Braun. Feliciano hit Prince Fielder, the only batter he faced but perhaps better than allowing a homerun and Mota, dear auld Mota who appears disfunctional without his little needle and kit, surrendered a run-scoring double by Bill Hall, his first batter.

That the Mets managed to go another 5 innings before Sele allowed the fatal homer is a testament to the Mets generally but does nothing to soften the blow of:

A. Glavine's failure to reach 300 and the bullpen's failure to hold the lead.
B. Omar's failure to obtain any of the half dozen relievers who switched teams as the trade window closed.
C. Mets failure to beat the team with the best home record in the National League when they themselves have the best road record.

There were other culprits alright. You could mock the lack of timely hitting, the number of runners left on base, the usual culprits.

Will Castillo make up for a Rubbish Pen?

Or you could choose to take the high road, marvel in some of the defensive exploits; the unexpected grab by Shawn Green, the sparkling fielding by Luis Castillo in his debut, Jorge Sosa's scoreless debut in the bullpen. (and don't think you can get away with that slight of hand, obtaining no bullpen help and sticking Sosa in instead, we can tell the difference...)

There will be better days. Perhaps the pen itself was a bit deflated watching the water rising to near-nose high with no help summoned by Omar.

Or perhaps like most other pitchers bar 4, getting 300 in your first try is rather difficult. After all, look at how many embarassments Clemens suffered before getting there.