Wright Saves Mets From An Ugly Loss

Maybe some day Johan Santana will positively sparkle at Shea when it really matters, say in the NLCS. So far though, his two starts at Shea have been less than impressive yet optimism prevailed last night. He walked off the field to cheers rather than boos.


Maybe some day David Wright will get the MVP award he deserves but for the moment, he'll have to settle for a game-winning, 11th inning walk-off hit to avoid what would have been a gutting loss.

Billy Wagner's first blown save of the season wasn't necessarily his fault. Jose Reyes' error certainly didn't help but considering he managed two full innings of relief, Wagner was able to escape Shea's now-notorious boo-birds.

Better Wright than Never...

Overall, last night's 5-4 11 inning win inched them that much closer to the NL East lead but frankly, it was hardly a heart-warming performance.

Mr No Curtain Call Strikes out with the bases loaded...hardly breaking news.

Consider that Reyes was on base SIX times; three hits and three walks, but scored only ONCE the whole game and you'll have a good idea of some of the frustration involved in listening/watching to last night's game. Leaving 19 on base throughout the course of the game, so many blown chances can be frustrating - until you realise you should be thankful the opponent was the Pirates, who left 21 on base, lead the league in errors and as you witnessed, seem to have trouble throwing strikes.

So rather than needing this to be a long whinge and moan session about the inadequacies of this season's version of the Mets, it's safe to applaud Ryan Church's two-run homerun that tied the game in the 4th. Give a cheer for Santana, yes, even though he didn't get the win, didn't last six full innings or strike out double digit batters. His ERA is down to 3.12.

Or how about an ironic cheer for Jorge Sosa whose one inning of relief earned him a third victory of the season which ties him with Santana for the team lead - quite a triumph considering he isn't a starter.

Aaron Heilman
proved at least he is consistent. A third of an inning, 17 pitches, one walk and one hit. Maybe a change of scenery would do him well. Somewhere like Pittsburgh, which seems to have worked wonders for Xavier Nady.

So anyway kids, message is: sigh of relief.

This is the third victory in a row after a harsh lull and if you want to REALLY hear some crazy speculation, (no not reaching the top of the NL East) Moises Alou could be back in the lineup by Friday!

Is there no end to the madness?


Rainy Off Day Mailbag

Is it raining in Queens today? I dunno, but it's raining here in the UK. Again. And again, etc. Like Pittsburgh, maybe.

Nobody will be playing two in this fucking weather...

But seeing as how the Army itself has been in some serious neglect when it comes to regular updates on the ups and downs of the Mets, I thought it would be appropriate to open the mailbag for a change and actually answer readers' questions.

Why have you been skiving off the Mets reports most games? Have you lost interest? Have you switched allegiances? Too busy watching bloody rugby and Indian billionaire league cricket matches until the wee hours of the morning?--Concerned in Barnstaple

I waiting for a curtain call after every article and if I don't get it, well, I'll probably strike out with the bases loaded...

Bearing in mind the excitement the trade generated, do you think Johan Santana's performance so far this season has disappointed, inspired or simply been adequate?--Viktor Rice, 11th St East.

Viktor, there is little doubt few Mets have had such a large weight of expectation on their shoulders before they'd even played a game in a Mets uniform but bearing in mind he's still hitting 26 points higher than Carlos Delgado this season with a massively higher slugging percentage, I'd say the season is a success to date.

Who says it's always about baseball??

Which surprises you most so far, that Billy Wagner hasn't surrendered a run all season yet or that Aaron Heilman has given up so many?
--Gavin McLoud, NYC

It doesn't surprise me that Wagner has a run-less streak so far this season, he hasn't pitched in any pressure games yet. And it doesn't surprise me that Heilman continues to be the worst arm in the bullpen because you see, if Heilman were pitching scoreless outings every night, Wagner would be blowing them anyway so you see it's one or the other, never both.

Why hasn't the rediscovery of his perma-smile sorted out Jose Reyes' batting woes as fully as was originally hyped after his little chat with Carlos Beltran? - Ursula Pindrop, Westchester

Wow, Ursula, your cynicism and impatience is to be commended. Reyes has 3 hits in his last 30 at-bats and whilst initially, flashing his teeth and showing off his secret handshakes had a mild impact, the fact that he's hitting only .210 off right handed pitchers means that he should only smile out of the left side of his face.

I've noticed you're crap at putting up timely game summaries so far this season and give yourself stoopid DL comparisons like El Duque and Pedro and Moises. Why don't you just write about the games and leave the excuses to the professionals?-- Prisoner X, Laredo

Because in reality, my failure to quickly summarise Mets games this season really IS like a professional, aging Hispanic athlete struggling again and again with health issues which are primarily owed to being too bloody old to play. In my case, senility, alcoholism, a fevered gigging schedule, increased inability to stay up until the wee hours of the morning listening live and a rubbish wireless connection have rendered me, if not equal to these Met greats who are forced to succumb to reality, at least capable of being mentioned in the same paragraph on the Ultimate Scale of 2008 Disappointments.

Has Willie passed the grade yet? Does he deserve to be fired BEFORE or AFTER the All Star break? -- Mario B., Loisada

It's not Willie's fault that Delgado can't hit his weight, Beltran is once again tied for the team lead in strikeouts and unproductive clutch at-bats, Reyes is rubbish and Alou hasn't played a game all season. The batting order is shite, there's no two ways about it and the fact that Ryan Church has the highest batting average amongst the starters is telling. But the starting pitching and most of the bullpen have been pleasantly better than expected so it's an even trade off in a way. Bearing in mind the Marlins are leading the NL East, I don't think it's time to push the panic button just yet.

Is this still Archie Bunker's Army or is it now like Archie Bunkers Weekend Reservist Army? I mean jaysus, how about some Mets reports that are two weeks after the fact?--Alice, Sunset Strip

It's more like the Archie Bunker Quagmire Army so far this season, Alice. But have faith. Once the English Premiership has ended in a few weeks, I will unleash the full capabilities of my journalistic powers.

What ever happened to Endy Chavez?
Monty McPherson, Philly.

All you need to know is that even Carlos Delgado is out-hitting him. That's like losing a beauty contest to...well, you do the maths...

Who is the team MVP thus far this season? Cheyenne Ching, Bayside

I hate to say it after bashing his trade all off-season but given the paucity of legitimate candidates, Ryan Church, by default.

Do you have a favourite quote so far this season from a Met? Gaspard D., White Plains

Well, she is more a Bermudan idol than a Met but Larrita Adderley's shocking candor; "This may be a blessing in disguise — presumably more Bermudians will have time to plan for the second Bermuda Night and be a part of this exciting partnership..." when her singing of the National Anthem at Shea was cancelled due to scheduling eff ups, was quite impressive more for her interpretation of Burmudan support of the Mets than it was for her smooth and sophisticated acceptance of being bumped for some muppet from the cast of Hairspray. Well done, Larrita.

Why do you write nothing when the Mets are playing a big series, like say against the Braves or the Phillies but when they aren't even effin playing a game, you've got like, pages and pages of idiotic reader mail to slog through?--Karl Kinderspiel, Glastonbury

It's called irony, Karl. And a big boot of it is coming up your arse in a moment if the proper respet ent forthcoming from you, matey.

How does Moises Alou get injured even whilst he's on the DL? Is it time to shoot him like an old horse or should we wait until September when the trio of Los Amigos Incapables all make their respect and miraculous comebacks in time for the Mets to snatch the NL East from the clutches of their most hated rivals? - Michael S., Chicago

Because when you're 40 going on 400, Michael, the slightest gust of wind can ruin your season. I think he'll be better off marketing the Moises Alou urinal cakes...

Does your half-assed coverage of the Mets' season so far to date symbolize your growing apathy for the Mets and their plight? Tray Buffonegro

The way I see it Tray, I've dedicated the last three or four years to covering most Mets games regardless of the insomnia it has induced due to the time differences and the Mets haven't won the World Series yet so this season I thought I'd try a little reverse psychology and like, cover them in what you call your half-assed way and see if this doesn't automatically lead to a World Championship. I do believe this is the power my blog holds over the Mets' season and invite you do acknowledge the same.

Is Delgado an ingrate or a hero for ignoring Shea's cry for a curtain call after his second homer the other night? Sheila E., Minneapolis.

Look, Lastings Milledge leapt into the stands at the behest of an overzealous Shea crowd and look where it got HIM. Should Carlos be grateful he isn't pelted with batteries every time he takes the field? In a perfect world, no. I think it would have been money if he'd stepped out of the dugout, took a microphone off the PA man and boo'd the Shea crowd. I dunno, I'm still bitter about that time he signed with the Marlins as a free agent and said it was because they had the best chance to win the World Series but not as bitter as Carlos. The timing wasn't "appropriate" indeed. These stupid fans. How dare they show a modicum of even-handedness. Or perhaps it was just sarcasm.

Two part question Mr Bunker, firstly, can someone explain to me how Chipper Jones could get back spasms from putting his jersey on? And secondly, would the Mets lose every game they played if they were facing minor league pitchers with stupid names like Jair Jurrjens all season? And what's Jair's parents' obsession with J anyway. Is this some sort of Roger Clemens tribute? Ok, I'll hang up now and listen...--Fat Sid, Astoria

Well Fat Sid, that's really three questions, but they all qualify. Yes, the unwritten rule of Douchebaginess is that you can get back spasms doing all sorts of things, like getting dressed, talking to reporters, naming your children after baseball stadiums. Secondly, yes, the Mets would lose every game they played against unknown, untalented pitchers who morph into Cy Young when they face the Mets and lastly, seeing as how his middle name is Francoise so there is no clear obsession with the letter J. In addition it would behoove you to note that he is a member of the Dutch National Baseball team and J isn't such a bad letter it turns out so watch your step, Fat Sid, or I might take your cheeseburgers away. And by the way, don't forget about John Lannan for gawd's sake.

Dear ABA, who is leading the race for LFM this season (Least Favourite Met)
--S Schoeneweiss

It's far too early to tell. However if you ask me who is doing the LEAST for the Mets so far this season, I dunno, Moises Alou, El Duque, Carlos Delgado, Aaron Heilman...the list seems endless.

For now, I'll close the little mail bag up, seal it up nice and tight and prepare myself for the possibility the game won't get rained out again tonight...


Another Ugly Loss

Well of course the season is full of pitfalls, valleys and peaks and of course, the consecutive day embarrassment in Wrigley Field, this time a hideous 8-1 loss, is the valley with the potential peak of the Nats rising on the horizon but, woa - losing this ugly is boring, unpalatable and a dreary exercise.

At least someone has a hero

Don't hesitate to blame Jorge Sosa but by that same token, whilst he did surrender a disgusting grand slam to little Ronnie Cedeno, ultimately, the Mets were heading nowhere rather rapidly without his assistance with no rally in sight.

Without the hometown crowd in his ear, Nelson looked well, Figueroa-ish

Are the Cubs really this good, the Mets this bad or is this just one of those cases of someone being high hitting someone low and an inevitable explosion? An aggregate 15-2 score over two disastrous days leaves one not pondering the source of the illness but frantically searching for the toilet.

There's a rather ponderous hole in the batting order where the Carlos' used to hit. Beltran and Delgado have managed to pinch out a meagre 5 hits cumulatively over the last 7 or 8 games and in this series alone, David Wright went a rather unceremonious 0 for 6.

Clearly the Mets aren't going anywhere when the meat of the order is rancid and fly-ridden.

Cy Young against the Mets

What's more insulting is that this anemic offensive patter came against the insalubrious Ted Lilly, who hadn't won a game all season and had been well-battered in the average outing thus far but sparkled against the pathetic and vulnerable Mets batting order.

Not even Angel could Aid the weak and feeble Met bats

So let's hope a trip to Washington will be just the tonic the Mets bats need but don't count on it. This sort of slump has all the characteristics of something ugly and futile growing uglier and more futile by the day.

Unless Johan can save the day, of course.


Bring Back The Angel!

There is one common denominator in the two consecutive road losses, including last night's disappointing 7-1 thrashing at the hands of the Cubs. No Angel Pagan.

Now, some might argue that it isn't the absence of Pagan so much as the presence of Endy Chavez out there in right field and perhaps when and if Moises Alou returns for a streak of 10 games before being befelled by some other mysterious old man misery, this point will be borne out with a little more clarity.

For the moment, the Mets are looking at two consecutive losses, either way and last night's embarrassment, although somewhat of a nail-biter before the game unraveled (shall we point fingers at the omnipresent scapegoat Aaron Heilman), blame Jose Reyes' duplicitous handling of a ground ball hit his way (whilst practicing elaborate handshakes??) or a murderous road trip schedule, the game unraveled and the loss was recorded.

Hard to imagine he hasn't eaten his way out of the league by now...

Yes, we could also say that the Mets simply weren't up for it, on a short sleep road trip, to handle Cubs' ace Carlos Zambrano and, let's face it, regardless of sleep or travel, few batting orders are, but you had to be somewhat aware in any event, watching John Maine labouring through his work inning after inning with distinct difficulty, that eventually, this game was going to get out of hand and it did.

You don't tug on Felix Pie's cape, you don't spit into the wind...

By the 8th, after Reyes' booted ball and Heilman's typically wincing performance, the Mets were well out of the running and hoping Nelson Figueroa can put the brakes on the sudden two-game losing streak this afternoon. Or perhaps with a little extra rest and the hideous Ted Lilly on the mound for the Cubs, the rest will take care of itself.


No, you weren't imagining it. Despite last night's performance, Carlos Delgado is fulfilling our lowest of expectations as the batting order's albatross, hitting a fulsome .082, or 2 hits in his last 25 at-bats.

Over the last 7 games, Met starters have pitched 44 1/3 innings (nearly 7 innings per outing which is fabulous) and have allowed 13 earned runs which is a 2.64 ERA. This is the secret to their recent success, without a doubt.

The bullpen, in the same period, have collectively pitched 21 2/3 innings whilst allowing only 5 "earned" runs. (amazingly, those 4 against Heilman didn't register, thanks to Jose...

Reyes and David Wright are hitting .402 and .462 respectively which seems like a pretty simple math to Mets victories.


A Pleasant Surprise On The Way To Insipidness

Aye, whilst away (rehearsals, gigs and packing for The Move) and incapable of commenting on this recent surge of victories by our favourite lads, (easy now, those of you kicking the newcomers off the rapidly departing bandwagon for being Doubting Thomases)it appears even an intriguing run of victories is insufficient to lift the
Mets to the rafters of the NL East but nevermind. Not even last night's exciting loss could deflate the enthusiasm deriving from a near sweep of Philly in their mutton chop little homer shop called home.

To briefly revisit the efficient mechanisms of this victories march, I thought it might be appropriate to allow some fellow bloggers' own words suffice wherein my own have been absent.

The funny thing is, going through my blog roll, I found so many of my fellow bloggers had either been equally busy, absent or unable to lend much commentary. Perhaps the Nats were simply not up to snuff when it comes to exciting opponents.

Wednesday, Game 2 at Shea v Nats: Over .500 reasons for Mets Win courtesy of IMFM (wot, spell it out? I ent got that many fingers!) relives the many reasons why Jose Reyes is suddenly alive and ebullient once again, a sign that the Mets chances are not necessarily sinking...but the main gist, ultimately, a victory, a 5-2 number which saw John Maine earn his first win of the season.

Thursday, Game 3 at Shea v Nats: For the sweep...Appropriately, Mets Walk-Offs to do this commentary on a narrow 3-2 14-inning victory which ended with Damion Easely scoring on a Wild Pitch and perhaps a little unsung, that nobody's favourite hero, Nelson Figueroa coming home again for another unexpectedly solid outing as 5th starter, well done.

Mets Take Turns Touching Johan To Make Sure He's Real

Friday Night Game 1 @ Philly
: On the road in Satan's Workshop,The Wunderkind, John Santana to earn his millions pitching lights out against our rivals and Metsradamus bemoans Heilman's near-drop meaning the Mets withstood a near-rally or Aaron Heilman is going to be the death of us before Billy Wagner gets a chance to when the games really matter? But, as they say, a win is a win is a win. Beating the Phillies in Philly is a lovely, novel approach to this NL East thing.

Billy Thanks Someone That He Didn't Get Embarassed

Saturday Game 2 @ Philly
: Another helter skelter outing by Oliver Perez but effective enough for, brace yourself, another victory over the Phucking Phillies and Brooklyn Mets Fan was there to cover it, complete with very telling photos.

Awwww, a Little Phrustration Rears It's Philly Head

Sunday Game 3 @ Philly
: A chance for a sweep over the Phillies in Philly. Too good to be true? Indeed.

Subjected, owed to the ESPN coverage, to another series of , this game was at least televised here in England, albeit at the traditional 1:00 AM start time. Yes Joe, It's Toasted offers some entertaining insight into Joe Morgan's "skills" as a baseball commentator whilst skillfully evading the ugly reality of a loss at the hand of Pedro Feliciano, who gave up Pedro "Happy" Feliz's pinch hit homer and the glove of Jimmy Rollins' ghost which robbed the Mets of a game-tying hit.

The only encouraging outcome of the series was winning two of three in Philly but David Wright, another Met taking his turn in the leadership role, wasn't satisfied. "These are the games than can bite you later on" he said of their failure to sweep. "We had a chance to deliver a knockout blow, and we didn't. We won a series ... great. But we had a chance to make a statement."

Well blown opportunity or not, it was a nice 5 game run and hopefully an encouraging sign of things to come....


Were These The Mets We've Been Waiting For?

Oh, c'mon.

Yes, it was nice to see a little modicum of efficiency displayed by the favourites to win the NL East. A 5-0 victory is something to be cherished, especially as it was led by persistent mouth guard chewer, Mike Pelfrey.

Realistically, it was one game. One game against what is arguably the worst team in the East. One victory against a team who has lost 10 of their last 11.

The Magical Lastings, Captain Bonehead, tossed out trying to steal third by the man he was partially traded for...

Regardless, perhaps the wisest words on dealing with this Mets squad are found in this paean to mediocrity:

"So, get 2006 out of your minds. In actuality, this is more like 1998, when a superstar joined a bunch of middling players. (Although clearly Wright & Reyes > Alfonzo & Olerud). In other words, go to Shea, have fun, cheer the wins, shrug your shoulders at the losses, and, above all, feel free to make other plans this October."

But now I've wandered off course like a Jorge Sosa strike zone.

I tried to savour this in the wee hours of the morning over here but couldn't help noticing the tinge of bitterness, that eagerness to jump on the shit pile bandwagon of frustration with the Mets. For several innings, clinging to their fragile 2-0 lead thanks to David Wright's homer, WFAN announcers were pointedly disgusted by the Mets' continued failure with runners in scoring position.

I couldn't blame them. After all, Pelfrey was on the mound and an Nats outburst, a Lastings Milledge revenge grand slam just didn't seem very far away you see because we're becoming accustomed to this. So we were all a little fearful.

But for one fantastic night any way, Pelfrey pitched with promise. Seven scoreless innings of promise to lift his record to 2-0 on the season. That's Pelfrey, 2 and oh this season, yaaaas, I know, bring us a little water to revive us on that one...

And for a night anyway, Jose Reyes played as if his hammies were made of steel and he hadn't a care in the world as he shot out of the blocks following his brief layover threatening to hit for the cycle.

Wait. There's MORE good news?

Mr I Hope The Mets Lose Every Game missed out on his Shea return because he what, got scared his eardrums might burst from the booing?

Ah yes, Duaner Sanchez making a scoreless 2008 debut after nearly two years off. Again, like all else this accomplishment is weighted by the caveat that it was only one night and it was only against the Nats but still, if he'd hung a curveball for a three run homer we wouldn't just shrug and think, eff it, it's only one night? Of course not, we'd be screaming with anger, our eyes would be bulging in frustration, our brains prone to aneurysms. So cut the kid with the bad cab some slack. Maybe he's finally going to start showing some promise again.

And Willie, everyone's Mr Punching Bag this season, finally showed a little managerial initiative, dropping Luis Castillo to 8th in the order whilst promoting Ryan Church to bat second, a strange and curious move that paid a few dividends.

So for one night anyway, be grateful. For all we know the Nats will take the next two on the trot and we'll all be pissing and moaning into our little plastic cups of stale, watery beers.

For now, enjoy. Relax. Maybe these Mets will one day pleasantly surprise us again.


Mets New Hobby: Losing Ugly

You could go a long way in life making up empty excuses and bromidic slogans about losing, can't you? Not long ago, the signing of Johan Santana had every pundit drooling saliva which formed in the pattern of Mets Are The Team To Beat. Now look at them. Mutts.

Mets performance leads to a slight variation on the fit bird spread...

Lose a 6-2 lead, well hell, that's nothing, how about losing an entire season long choke hold on first place in compellingly choking fashion?

Double plays in five straight innings squashing any tic of hope as the Brewers tried over and over to GIVE this game to the Mets only to see the Mets didn't appear to want to take it.

No, we'd rather bounce into double plays every effin inning and complain about the quality of the dirt on the base paths. (Well, no one actually did the last bit to my knowledge but why let reality get in the way of a good whinge...) You don't hear see Willie crying in his Cornflakes over this one. Maybe he's a little miffed:

"If we're going to be a solid ballclub," he said, "we can't play
like that."

That's great news, Willie. That you've sussed that bit out anyway. Brilliant. Problem is, this is YOUR problem, just as it was last season and no one is going to sit on their hands waiting for you to finally figure out how to cure the Mets Malaise. Art Howe was the master of telling us how they couldn't play "like that" and win. Look where it got him, Willie. The corner of Ridicule and Irrelevancy. Better watch your step.

Soooo, what did we leave out? Double plays, stooopid baserunning (that means YOU, Brady Clark), dodgy fielding blech, blech, blech.

Bring me a bucket!

Sadder still, they couldn't even touch Steroid Boy after he'd loaded the
bases. I mean Guillermo Mota gives up runs like Paris Hilton gives up cheap sex to whatever creepy, slobbering monkey will have it. If you can't score against Mota well, you just aren't playing baseball, are you?

Pretty much every outing last season which featured Mota was a shit sandwich but stick him in a Brewers uniform and well, I won't say magic, after all, two walks, wild pitch and two hits in an inning's work, but the Mets couldn't do anything with him. Mota was a Run Tease. The Mets couldn't score off this bastid even after he'd practically HANDED them the lead.

And Shea, recognising a good outlet for their growing bile, gave him a good hometown booing when he left the field. Not sure if that was for last season or failing to give up that three-run homer he would have done if he were in a Mets jersey. Carlos Delgado, you should be ashamed for popping up to end the inning against this muppet. They should make him wear a Guillermo Mota mask the rest of the season for that one.

It's like Shea visitors no longer have any ability to judge good from bad. The new Shea motto: If it moves, boo it. How do you boo Johan Santana AND Guillermo Mota in the same series? These guys aren't even pitching in the same universe...

But on the bright side perhaps we've discovered a Mets Song we can all get behind. The lyrics are real simple to remember and go something along the lines of BOOOOOOOOO!

Predictably, Oliver Perez was all over the jernt with his pitches.

This ent no winter league game, hermano...

No big surprise, you can set your watch by Ollie's rubbish outings and inconsistency. But even for him, I mean jeez, hitting the first batter you face and then giving up a home run? Does it get any more crap than that? And the crazy part is, he still had a bloody lead and couldn't hold it.

Mind you, even with yesterday's hideous outing, his ERA was still a respectable 3.38, outperforming The Franchise in his three starts to date. Still, ugly ugly, Oliver. Baaaad Oliver.

And where did this Welcome Back Kapler come from? 2 homers and 5 RBIs in two days meant he almost single-handedly put the Mets down but for the fact that there were plenty of other homers and runs generally to his teammates.

So many the Mets lost both games and tumbled below .500 in a division being led by the Minor League Marlins, a division whose baseball is as appealing as a Sunday picnic in Chernobyl. And Kapler? He's got nearly a quarter of the total of his career-best homeruns in one season (18 in '99 with theTigers)

The funny thing is, it ent the new guys who are effin it up for the Mets.

Schneider and Church, ridiculed for the lack of quality in return for
Lastings Milledge, had 5 of the Mets' 14 hits and are hitting .324 and .326
respectively. Lastings is "only" hitting .308 but expect that average to
soar upwards when he comes to visit Shea this week.

Should we lament Brian Bannister pitching in the rags of the Royals in lieu
of at Shea?

No, better still - how about we have a larf about David Letterman hitting David Wright with a pitch in the back. Or listen to Scotty Schoeneweis puckering up his lips to blow the Mets fans a kiss:

"I don't really want to care about the fans anymore," he said. "If they want
to boo, let them boo. I'm not going to take them out to dinner."

Shit, there goes my free meal. From a very bitter man.

And if that's not enough, the hunger pangs, the losing nights, the general ugliness of the entire affair, why not pull up a seat and listen to Hillbilly Wagner wax poetic about his favourite fans:

"If they're booing for ridiculous reasons, you just let them look like
idiots and go about your business,"
he said. "Their expectations are high, just like ours. It's been 11 games and we've got a lot of baseball left. But they're booing now because they must have expected us to go undefeated this year."

Yeah, that must be it, Billy. Just be glad the Mets are floundering. It saves you from coughing up cheap losses in clutch games, your favourite past time.


Santana's Shea Opener Stinks

Ahhh, staring down Fred Wilpon in his personalised contract negotiations has a price for Johan Santana. The saviour who has the weight of the Mets on his shoulders did not exactly knock 'em dead in his Shea debut in a Mets uniform.

Three of his pitches were knocked dead though. Dead over the fence and the Mets took the loss which had the nightmarish trifecta of the Saviour Disappointing, Reyes On The Mend and David Wright looking like Billy No Mates trying to work his way through some intense fielding yips.

No tears of joy for this outing...

But I'm all for looking on the bright side of this. Yes, the home town fans gave him an earful. Yes, he took the loss, yes the Mets winning streak ended at 3 and no, Johan did not do a Cy Young impersonation that was very believable.

thanks but no thanks

Still, he lasted more than 5 innings which is rare for a Mets starter, he took the gruff from the fans and the booing in stride and doesn't seem too fazed at all that he is disappointing thousands around the world. In fact, he seemed a bit cheeky:

"If they boo, that's fine," Santana said. "That's the history they've got from not being so good, I guess."

Nothing like dumping a little petrol on the fire, eh Johan? But that's the kind of cojones you need when you've got a franchise's faith resting on your shoulders in a merciless city of disappointed supporters who don't want to know about reality, they want their dreams coming true.

That he is now 1-2 in 3 starts is no reason to push the panic button. Not even if Ben Sheets did a better Johan Santana impression than Johan himself, but there will inevitably be days like these when the bile is oozing and everyone is tired of excuses.

Suffice it to say it's early in the season and perhaps the Mets' plan is to take the lead in the NL East so late in the season this year there won't be time for a late-season collapse again.

Or maybe, well, let's not go there just yet. The booing is premature, even if this is still all the bitterness of last season overflowing early. Let's face it, even if the Mets atarted this season undefeated we'd all be hanging there waiting for the penny to drop again anyway...


Figuero, Figuero, Figuero!

There probably aren't too many willing to bet he'll do it again but for a night anyway, the local boy, Nelson Figueroa done good; retiring the first 14 batters in order-sort-of-good and the Mets snuck away with an improbable 4-2 victory over the Brewers.

Pedro's replacement shines on the home town stage: Perhaps it was the quirky underarmed delivery that befuddled Brewers.

That's three victories in a row and a leg over .500 again as the bullpen did it's job in efficient order: Joe Smith and Aaron Heilman retiring 6 in a row through innings 7 and 8 leading up to Billy Wagner's first save of the season, just like they draw it up on the board in class, for a change. No bases loaded melodramas or white-knuckle moments, just a simple victory.

But aha, not entirely simple. Jose's Hammies have made an unexpected visit again after hiding away for a couple of years. Unlike most of the Mets' injury worries, this has nothing to do with age and given his slow start this season, one might also begin to wonder if there isn't, on the heels of last season's controversies and nose-dive performances, if there isn't a deeper, unspeakable malaise Jose is hiding.

Regardless, Angel Pagan continued his recent success in Luis Castillo's second spot in the order, Carlos Delgado drove home another run and if you didn't bother listening to the whispers, you might have heard a moment of peace in a thus-far delicate season.

For one night anyway, King of Queens...


Extra Love For Mets: Demons Exorcised?

A play at the plate, Jose Reyes sliding safely home, Angel Pagan, delivering the game-winning two-out hit in the 12th inning, wow. On Rally Towel Night nonetheless.

Yes, we'll take it...

"I had the plate blocked. I had the ball before [Reyes] got there,"
Phillies catcher Chris Coste whinged afterwards in a moment of sour grapes as the Phillies lost a pair on the trot to the Mets. "He hit my glove [as] he reached for the plate. It's simple. I tagged him before he touched the plate." Yeah, right. Except that's Jose Reyes, speed demon and you're...Chris Coste, who's the judge gonna

Bring on delirium...

Sure, Reyes didn't touch the plate the first time in. But home-plate umpire Ted Barrett ruled that there was no tag, either so on his second try, Reyes touched the plate with his left hand, before Coste could land the glove.

Oh yes, it's early days but I believe there's a little chap whose head is still emerging from the womb called Moises Who? with all the runs Pagan delivered last night, not JUST the game-winner but three hits and two-runs plugging the Luis Castillo-sized hole in the second spot in the batting order.

That's what this is all about, isn't it? No Alou, No Castillo, No Pedro, No Duque, No Worries? Just ask the Phillies, who have lost twice in a row with their MVP limited to one pinch hit at-bat in two games.

It isn't always about the starter looking confused by allowing only a lone run in 6 innings of work but walking 5 in that same period to keep things interesting. It isn't always about some of the bullpen showing up and a certain few others, well, perhaps just one in the form of Aaron Heilman doing their bast 2007 Choke-a-thon imitation. Here's a little message to the sometimes hard-of-hearing Willie. Aaron Heilman has a career 8.00 ERA against the Phillies. Do us all favour and leave him out of the festivities when the Phillies are in town. Even on nights when they go 0-12 with runners in scoring position. Or 4 for 33 with runners in scoring position for the series. With hitting like that you almost wonder how the Phillies won any of these games.

Sometimes it's just about winning in crazy fashion, the kind of wins that couldn't be bought late last season, the kind of wins that sing of teamwork and hard work and well, let's be fair, a little luck.

Two things to take from this:

1. Two out of three from the Phillies, with our record against them last season being what it was, is an encouraging sign that the Phillies won't become our new Braves, the team we can never beat when it matters.
2. This is only a little more than one week under the belt. You can't expect Pagan and the angelic Damon Easley to fill in all season. Or Ryan Church to hit the ball like he means it all season, can you? I mean it could happen, but a healthy Alou and Castillo would be nice, just to be on the safe side. So would a rotation that doesn't need to be bolstered by a laundry list of mysterious, hungry faces summoned from the waiver wire and the minor leagues.

Oh yeah, and don't look to lovingly at having crawled back to the .500 mark because the Braves are coming to town.


Thank You For Not Losing

It's a strange world I inhabit when I open the London Times this morning only to find out about Rick Astley, Champion Muppet and the song contest gone awry. It takes news a long time to travel buddy but when the Mets get a big plug in the London Times, even if it's as the butt of some sick internet joke well, we've made it. Just remember this, it could have been much, much worse: an internet conspiracy to include a Culture Club tune or a George Michaels ditty.

And yes, I'm pulling an El Puque having missed the first two games of the Home Opening series and worse still against the Phillies - and can I get confirmation on who I am supposed to hate more these days the Effin Braves or the Phucking Phillies? Is there a consensus on this somewhere out there? Hate in equal parts?

And yes, whilst I'm temporarily on the Blogging DL with calloused fingertips and repetitive motion strain, I am lusting in my heart for the Mets.

So, yes, Tuesday appeared to be an unmitigated disaster but Wednesday was a little better - it's winning those you aren't supposed to win that count the most - let's put away the vicious hyperbole for a time and settle slowly into the season. It's early and well, hmmm. I'm out of cliches for the day.

Let's go Maine Mets!


A Weekend Worth Forgetting

Maybe it would have been better to have been pissing down rain all weekend.

A grand summation of a futile weekend.

Two days, two losses show the Mets, even with Santana, haven't moved far from the miserable collapse of 2007.

You'll struggle to excuse this ugly weekend.

The Mets had John Maine and Johan Santana going for them. Carlos Delgado, thought to be spinning out of his prime at light speed, Ryan Church, Angel Pagan and Brian Schneider, all thought to be potentially equal part of offensive inadequacy, are hitting .350, .381, .313 and .357 respectively.

But if you examine Games 4 and 5 of the 2008 season you will notice that not only did the Mets lose to their arch rivals. Not only did they lose twice. Not only did they fall into the bowels of the NL East, most importantly, they just didn't impress.

Maine's debut was hardly representative of his Spring. Four innings pitched? Three walks, eight hits, four earned runs? Is this an attempt at sabotage or further proof that Spring Training stats are utterly useless when it comes to predicting a regular season performance.

Meanwhile, Jorge Sosa and Nelson Figueroa, both tabbed as potential Pedro replacements, shat themselves harder with every pitch and in essence, destroyed any prayer the Mets had of a comeback in Game One.

Sosa surrendered a grand slam to pinch hitter Kelly Johnson in the 7th and allowed two hits, walked a man and surrendered two earned runs just to make sure there was no chance for the Mets batters to stage a miraculous comeback.

End result? An 11-5 loss. An ugly 11-5 loss that was just compounded and grew worse seemingly with every inning until eventually, whilst listening, one became convinced of the argument the Mets appeared to making. Yes, they are no good. Yes, their rotation is in tatters, yes, their hitters can't hit with men on base again, yes, their bullpen is woefully inadequate and no, these are challengers for the NL East.

Please save my job! Please save my job!

The second game wasn't much better in that the Mets lost again and worse still, lost with their ace on the mound.

You were allowed your 20 some odd hours of optimism with Santana taking the mound against Brave ace John Smoltz who was making his first start of the season.

And frankly, the Mets were never too far from snatching an important victory but yet again, reality conspired against them. The 1-0 deficit they carried with them from the bottom of the 3rd inning until the bottom of the 7th when the deficit doubled>

They even made things exciting for a few seconds, managing to score their first run of Sunday in the 9th before gently succumbing again; a second loss in two games against what might now be the favourites to win the NL East.

That certainly can not describe the Mets any more.


The Effin Braves Already

After reading about the latest Mike Hampton injury you might almost wonder how this guy escaped Omar's radar. He's got real DL cred: 2005, 12 games pitched, then DL. 2006, Disabled all season. 2007, Disabled all season. 2008, DL'd after "warming up" before pitching his first game.

Now Pedro's made of a little tougher mettle. 2006: All winter and Spring Training worries about The Toe, ended up turning in a decent performance most of the season before season-ending shoulder surgery. 2007: out nearly the entire season before a brief comeback 2008, DL'd after less than 4 innings pitched.

On the other hand, we could think about the fact that three games into the season and there's yet to be a fit bird photo appearance, so here's a few extra:

But forget it. I'm done feeling bitter about Pedro's latest injury and the Old Timer's roster Omar has assembled to lead the Mets to the promised land this season. I'm declaring a moratorium on whingeing about the average age of the average Met or who is hurt or who isn't playing. Done, you hear me? Just be happy Omar never signed Barry Zito. Life could be ALOT worse, believe me. And let's not forget that Omar is solely responsible for fleecing the O's, getting John Maine and Jorge The Human Comedy Machine Julio in return for Mr and Mrs Benson for crissakes. Julio's hanging on by his fingernails in Cleveland (1 inning pitched, 1 homer surrendered), one step away from Buffalo and Mr and Mrs Benson are toiling away in Clearwater, rehabbing for the Phillies, of all teams.

There's your little retrospective for the day, a glimpse of hindsight for your rear view mirror.
But none of it matters any more because whatever your misgivings or fears, the exhibition games against the minor league Marlins are over and even though it's early in the season it's time to try and work up a little rabid spittle and bile for the Braves.

Tonight it's going to be John Maine going up against Tim Hudson. Maine had a ferocious Spring Training and I don't mind admitting I've got him on my fantasy team, even over Johan, because frankly, he's alot cheaper and his numbers at times, can be nearly as impressive. He went 1-1 against the Braves last year with a 3.93 ERA. Hudson is in essence, the Braves' staff ace, 2-2 3.33 against the Mets last season. Fortunately, he's a righty meaning what, the Mets won't have trouble hitting him like they allegedly will do against lefties this season? The opening game, Atlanta's Home Opener, will likely be close and go down to the wire. Braves bullpen is a little overworked after last night's extra inning loss to the Pirates and having to fill in for Hampton at the last minute so I'm predicting a Mets victory.

But then in Saturday's game, we've got Glavine making his return to his beloved, precious little Braves after his four year fling with the Mets. Naturally any of us would like to see him shattered into a thousand pieces like he was for us in that final game of the season against the Marlins last year. Give up 17 runs in the first inning and slink away whingeing about calf cramps or the weather being too cold to grip the ball. But he's a lefty and the word on the street has been the Mets can't hit lefties so he's advantaged there. And moreso because he's taking the mound against Mike Pelfrey whose pitching was about as impressive in Spring Training as Rituparno Ghosh's directing in Draupadi. This does not bode well for the Mets although IF I had to choose between the Mets winning two of three or the Mets losing all but the game against Glavine and really, REALLY pounding Glavine in a career-threatening sort of way on Saturday, I'd go for the pounding of Glavine. I admit it. It's early in the season and regardless of all that mumbo-jumbo about this being an early test, these games don't mean diddly in September.

And Sunday it's Godzilla versus Mothra and all bets are off.


Here Goes Another Round Without Pedro

Perhaps, this is the theme song the Mets should go with...something, a Marley tune like No Pedro No Cry, or Jennings/Nelsonesque along the lines of Mamas Don't Let Your GMs Grow Up To Sign Pedros.

I mean I think it's safe to say at this juncture that well, Petey's a little injury-prone. I'm not moanin, mind you. I have always been for Pedro's signing and have always enjoyed seeing him in a Met uniform when his toe, or his shoulder or his ankle or his hamstring allows.

But c'mon kids, the theme is getting just a little tiresome, isn't it?

So whilst the Mets were putting an appropriate 13-0 hammering of the Marlins in the books in Game Three of the season the Mets Collective was in the midst of a mid season sort of starting rotation musical chairs, debating the merits of Jorge Sosa or the readily unheralded Nelson Figueroa or the also oft-injured ageing wonder of the DL, El Duque.

And the logic, the optimistic and favourite spin du jour was obviously to point out that we went nearly the entire season without Pedro last year and made the best of it anyway so this is nothing considering what an upgrade Johan Santana is over Tom Glavine. But that logic rather confuses the point in that it misses the fact that this is the second season in a row we're starting on the Pedro Wait and instead we begin to hear the disturbing sort of Willieism we heard all during last season's collapse, the whistling in the dark sort of what me worried?, stoicism that defies the burning pieces of reality all around them.

"I don't have to answer yet." Willie was heard admitting bravely. "We don't how long Pedro will be out. Anytime a pitcher has a hamstring, it's usually automatic DL. And we don't know how his will be. Hamstrings are tricky."

Now it certainly isn't Willie's fault that Pedro's health has done another runner. And he's certainly got to steady the ship rather than run around inside the dugout and the clubhouse screaming in panic, the hairs of his mustache falling out much like they did at the end of last season. (What, you thought he shaved that mustache off? Nooooo. That was hair falling out from stress...)

And yes, being as that this song, whatever we choose to title it about Pedro's perma-presence on the DL, is indeed a familiar one perhaps we'd be best served simply forgetting about it rather than wondering what if. Because frankly, those what-if scenarios go both ways as in: What if Omar hadn't signed Johan? Then we'd really be looking at a potentially fatal disaster. For the time being it's better to simply shrug and get on with it. What, me worry?

Church comes home after pounding the pavement for Jesus.

So against what is, in essence, minor league pitching, the Mets took out their frustrations. David Wright, a 3-run homer. Sweet Jesus Church, a 2-run homer. Carlos Beltran, a trio of doubles, one of which was certainly a home run and further proof of the blindness and inequities of umpires. 17 hits in all. I mean hell, even Carlos Delgado had two hits so you've got to figure the pitching sucked.


As in, sure, Pedro's on the DL, but I'd hate to see the other guy.

Who's bothered about the fact that after this outburst the Mets probably won't score more than a pair of runs in one game for a week?

Well, someone's got to pick up the slack...

Yes, Oliver Perez was simply spell-binding; 6 innings of nearly flawless 5 hit shutout, 8 strikeout ball. But this was the Marlins after all and Perez is always one outing away from sending us all running for the toilets when he has another stint of allowing 6 walks in a matter of innings, hittting batsman and making everyone shake their head in wonder like, yeah, but where is the real Oliver Perez?

So I don't know what to make of this 2008 season just yet and well I shouldn't given that we're only 3 games into it.

This weekend against the Hated Braves should do it, should give us a little inkling of where we're headed.

But for now, even whilst Pedro's hamstring injury is rumoured to be high up the hamstring, a notoriously difficult place to recover quickly from, at least we have one consolation: Hey, at least we don't support the Marlins!


Game 2: Not A Good Omen

How's THAT for a quick hangover following the Opening Game of the season?

Well, if they were holding a contest you'd probably have to wonder yourself, which is worse, losing to the bloody Marlins in the bottom of the 10th on a walk off homer by some tosser named Robert Andino (who had NEVER hit a homer in the majors before!) in the second game of the season OR watching Pedro fall down like he'd been shot in the hammy less than four full innings into his first start of the season?

And raise your hand if you weren't cursing by then telling yourself you knew it, you knew it all along goddamn it, that it was too good to be true, the Johan and Pedro show.

No, you didn't know - you just sensed it and watching Pedro stumble around for the first few innings before pulling up lame seemed to reaffirm it. Wait now, reaffirmation didn't come officially until Rick Wise surrendered the game-losing homer to the no-name Marlin but yaaaaas, the answer was there, waiting to be read as all the euphoria of Opening Day slowly drained from your veins and spilled out on to the carpeting.

But then again, take a deep breath and grap a nice cuppa, like perspective.

It IS only the second game of the season, after all.

It ISN'T the same as Pedro tearing his labrum of some other terrible, season-ending injury. He's a skinny old man and skinny old men are prone, as Pedro has been for some time now, to niggling little hamstring and calf sort of problems.

We can't really be sure what sort of omens to read into this. Not if we're going to maintain our sanity throughout the course of the season, so you know what you do?

Nothing, that's what.

It's too bloody early to panic just as yesterday it was too early to allow yourself to become filled with glee and gloating. Wallace Matthews wisely told us that yesterday. How you start the season is alot less important than how you finish it. Of course, he hadn't predicted a Pedro injury in the second game of the season. He didn't need to. It was all implied.

And nothing excuses failing to batter that pathetic Marlin bullpen and making the game a runaway victory regardless of Pedro's situation. Church didn't come through, Delgado didn't come through and the mighty Met batting order mustered nothing against a bullpen of nobodies. Now THAT is disturbing.

In any event, the one loss, annoying as it is, is not the important news we'll be waiting for over the next day or two. That news will be the degree of injury Pedro suffered. Is this going to be a season-long, teeth-grinding sort of experience wherein the delicate maestro never quite achieves full effectiveness or is he going to miss a start or two and come back twice as strong? We all know he's heard it "pop".

The answer is: we don't know, yet.

The Mets haven't even made an official announcement about the injury yet.

So we'll wait and hopefully by tomorrow, with the second of our first three games wrapped up in victory, we'll hear that the Pedro Hammy is not the end of the world or omens of our doom and gloom.

And if Pedro's injury is more serious well, perhaps we can preoccupy ourselves with the Willie Countdown.

That and the question of who will replace Pedro, Jorge Sosa or some other schmuck from AAA?