Mets Abandon Playoffs

In a bizarre announcement the Mets decided yesterday to abandon their efforts to advance further in the Second Annual What If The Mets HADN'T Blown It Again fantasy playoffs.

"The season is over," an anonymous team source reported exclusively to Archie Bunker's Army in the wee hours of the morning. "We now believe our participation in some sort of weird 'what if' scenario is actually counter productive to moving forward from the humiliation of a second consecutive September collapse," the anonymous source, head covered by a blue and orange balaklava, reitterated in terse tones.

Later, the Qatar-based Arabic news channel, Al Jazeera, announced receipt of the audio tape purportedly from Mets third baseman David Wright. Portions were broadcast in which Wright bitterly denounced Archie Bunker's Army for furthering the myth that Ollie Perez was capable of the pitching performance alleged to have taken place in Game 3 of the Second Annual What If The Mets HADN'T Blown It Again fantasy playoffs and for insinuating parenthetically or even subliminally that he (Wright) had a history of padding his stats with meaningless hits and empty RBIs, choking repeatedly when the game or season was on the line.

It was further rumoured that the results of Game 4, wherein Pedro turned back the clock and pitched 8 scoreless innings to clinch the series against the Cubs was "so fantastical" that censors feared it might cause temporary insanity in some readers.

Jaap Stijl, author of the aforementioned blog was unavailable for comment but Award-winning author Buzz Bissinger (or someone impersonating him) said "This guy or his stupid blog, whether we like it or not, is the future for Mets fans who find themselves year after year mired in a senseless reality."

Sources close to Stijl insisted the fantasy post season was merely a defence mechanism against he inevitable tide of WFAN callers demanding the Mets sign Manny, K-Rod and CC as the only means of salvaging the franchise.


Delgado's Slam, Perez Gem Lead Mets 4-0

For 7 1/2 tense innings the Mets and supporters at Shea finally had something other than Santana's knee injury to worry about.

True enough, Oliver Perez, in a likely bid for big bucks, pitched last night as he never had before in a Mets uniform despite a pretty decent record against top opponents. A two-hit complete game shut out however, was in danger of being wasted until the decisive 8th.

"Today, that was the real Ollie," Perez said, keeping the inflatable imposter stuffed in his battered suitcase.

"If we can get Ollie to be consistent, which has been the dilemma for him his whole career, we will have an excellent pitcher, no question," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "Just don't tell Scott Boras that."

Cubs starter Rich Harden was cruising along on his own, having allowed only a single to Ryan Church through seven innings. It looked for all the world like the game would come down to the pens, a thought that made Shea uneasy to say the least.

But then with 1 out in the 8th, Brian Schneider singled. Shockingly, rather than turn to his bench for a pinch hitter for Perez, Manuel allowed Perez to hit.

"The way Ollie was pitching and the way the pen was pitching, what choice did I have?" Manuel asked rhetorically afterwards in explanation. "All he had to do was move the runner over."

Perez struck out instead, causing a cascade of booing in Manuel's direction.

Reyes followed with an infield single to move Schneider and again, Manuel's tactics were screamingly called into question when he failed to replace Schneider, the lead run, with a pinch runner.

Bizarrely, despite the rally, the booing became louder, more hateful, almost feral, when Beltran singled and Schneider was held up at 3rd by the third base clown, Luis Aguayo, who was showered with garbage from as far away as the Mezzanine Boxes, section 572.

Why, Jerry, why?

"Just like Ollie, Carlos Delgado is facing a big off season contractually. I thought I'd give him a chance to prove himself worthy of having his option picked up." Manuel explained rather improbably. And what if he'd struck out or otherwise failed? Manuel shrugged. "I guess he'd be playing in KC or someplace similar next season."

For his part, Lou Piniella was also criticised for leaving Harden in too long and letting him face Delgado instead of calling on his fabled bullpen. When questioned after the game why he didn't bring in someone from the pen, Piniella fumed: "Why don't you go and fuck yourself? How many years have you managed a Major League team? How many years were you a professional baseball player? What's that? None? Zero? That's what I figured. Now go write a story about O.J. or something you fucking idiot!"

Delgado saw two pitches outside the strike zone, willing himself not to swing but then hammered a low fastball out over the left field fence to turn the game. He even came out for a curtain call.

Game over...thanks, Lou

Whilst the victory puts the Mets one win away from the NLCS for the second time in three years, the worries about Santana and the rotation continues.

It is rumoured that the injury would not necessarily worsen by pitching, the brass is not eager to gamble on ruining a big contract career for the sake of one postseason. The Mets may have to make due without him, possibly pitching Pedro Sunday and Pelfrey if there is a Game 5.


Santana Exits Early, Mets Lose 4-2

He carried the Mets to the brink five days ago following a brilliant 125 pitch outing with an even more heroic 3 hit shutout on only 3 days rest but last night in Game 2 of the Division Series, Johan Santana had finally shot his wad.

Exiting the game for a pinch hitter in the 5th Santana had given up 4 earned runs, walking a career high 6 batters and worse still, complaining of left knee pain which is rumoured to be a possible torn meniscus.

Pain was the name of the game last night

"I was going for it," Santana said afterwards, clearly as dejected as the rest of his team. "We worked really hard between this start and the last one to make sure my arm, my legs, everything was in place. But this time, it was simply too much"

The pain clearly effected his delivery, hence his difficulty finding the strike zone.

The Cubs, desperate for a win, took advantage in the 2nd inning when a walk to Geovany Soto was followed by a Jim Edmonds double. With two outs and men on 2nd and 3rd, Theriot was intentionally and foolishly walked to get to winning pitcher Carlos Zambrano, a .337 hitter, who drew a run-scoring, 11 pitch walk. Santana then unleahed a wild pitch, scoring Edmonds.

He composed himself but with the Mets flailing at Zambrano's pitches, the Cubs struck again in the bottom of the 4th when Edmonds doubled again to lead off and Mark DeRosa hammered the next pitch into the bleachers to make it 4-0.

The Mets scratched out a lone run in reply in the 5th when Evans, pinch hitting for Santana, doubled with none out, Reyes sacrificed him to 3rd and he scored on a DeRosa error of a Carlos Beltran grounder. But one pitch later, Beltran was then picked off first and the rally fizzled.

In the 8th, still down 4-1, Beltran led off with a single and was driven home by Carlos Delgado's double to cut the lead to 2. Typically, with none out and the tying run at the plate, the rally died in its tracks. David Wright popped a weak fly to center. The Magical Murph singled but Luis Aguayo, scared of his own shadow, forced Delgado to hold at 3rd. Murph was caught stealing and Castro flew out to end the inning.

They even fought back once more in the 9th when, with Zambrano tiring, Ryan Church and Martinez led off with back to back singles to put the lead run at the plate.

But guess what? Kerry Wood came in and the Mets went down without another peep.

"We got to have an optimistic mind-set," Wright, who was 0-3, said. "That the glass is half-full." he reassured himself.

Fat Lou doesn't care. At least his Cubbies aren't heading to Shea down 2 games to none.

Whilst to a man the Mets were happy to come out of Wrigley with one win and a chance to clinch at Shea, they are understandably disheartened by the potential loss of Santana.

"We have to look at this with half-full, rose coloured glasses," Wright elaborated afterwards. "We are only thinking of this one step at a time. Just like the Cubs only put on pants one leg at a time and the time is now."


Mets Take Opener In 12

Jerry Manuel prophesied after the Mets dramatic win on Sunday in the 9th inning over the Marlins that they were primed for "good things".

Last night, for openers anyway, he was right.

Mike Pelfrey, whose unexpected emergence solidified the rotation this season, opened a star-studded Wrigley Divisional Playoff by throwing 8 surprisingly solid innings, scattering 8 hits and a trio of walks to allow only a single run before exiting for a pinch hitter in the 9th with the score tied in his first-ever post season start.

"Nervous? I vomited so much before the game I was almost dehydrated," the young staradmitted afterwards.

The Cubs opened the scoring in this dramatic pither's duel when Mike Fontenot RBI single scored Derrek Lee in the bottom of the
6th for a 1-0 led.

Although the Mets managed only 3 hits in the first 7 innings off of an uncharacteristically wild Ryan Dempster, who walked 7 on the night, after 7 innings of typically frustrating inability to capitalise, they finally broke through in the 8th when with none out, David Wright managed an RBI single to score Reyes and tie the game.

Unfortunately, that hopeful rally was extinguished by Sean Marshall, who retired 6 the 7 Mets he faced.

Having weathered Pelf's start, Wrigley's partisans figured their team would feast on the Mets' notoriously shitty bullpen in the 8th and 9th.

Where is this shitty bullpen I heard so much about?

"We figured we had them," Lou Piniella admitted in a gutted clubhouse afterwards.

Piniella of course, had an equally disappointing 23-24 career post season record, 15-22 if you discount his improbable run managing the Reds in 1990.

Enter Brian Stokes who, with the reduced playoff rosters and thus, smaller pen, figures to play a key role for Manuel in the late innings.

"I told him I'd cut his balls off and feed them to Luis Castillo in a sopa de cajones if he let me down," Manuel joked with reporters afterwards.

Stokes tossed two scoreless innings before giving way to Luis Ayala in the 11th.

Ramon Castro's pinch hit RBI single off Jeff Samardzija gave the Mets a fragile 2-1 lead in the 12th.

"I told Ayala I'd slit his throat with a corkscrew if he let me down," Manuel joked with reporters afterwards.

Ayala walked three and allowed a hit over two innings but held the Cubs scoreless, somehow, with the game on the line.

The Cubs, with a miserable stretch of failure nearly a century long, now face what is considered a must-win game already against Johan Santana with Carlos Zambrano starting fo the Cubs.

The Magical Postseason

Once again, in blissful ignorance, ABA presents the Second Annual What If The Mets HADN'T Blown It Again fantasy playoffs.

Cautiously optimistic

Tonight the Mets will open in Chicago at 6:30.

Probable pitching matchups:

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 6:30 p.m @ Chicago M. Pelfrey (13-11) v Dempster (17-6)

Thursday, October 2, 2008 9:30 p.m @ Chicago J. Santana (16-7) v Zambrano (14-6)

Saturday, October 4, 2008 6:00 a.m. @ Shea Perez (10-7) v Harden (10-2)

Sunday, October 5, 2008 TBD @ Shea TBD v Lilly (17-9)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 TBD @ Chicago TBD v TBD

Experts are picking the Cubs in 4.

Tonight's rumoured lineup:

Reyes ss
Beltran cf
Delgado 1b
Wright 3b
Murphy lf
Martinez 2b
Church rf
Schneider c