Nieve and Mets Fall to the Inevitability of Reality

"We're a below-average team, period. That's all you can say,"

Jerry Manuel reflecting on the team he manages.

Well, well. The cat is finally out of the bag.

The dream stops here.

All it took was a guy who'd been released by the Houston Astros, a guy whom the Mets had a suddenly started to rely upon as their 2nd best starter, coming apart at the seams against the suddenly first place Milwaukee Brewers.

That and 19 hits surrendered. 11 by Nieve alone in less than four innings pitched.

That and the three game sweep by the Yankees.

That and the decimation of the batting order.

That and dropping to third in the NL East.

But let's be fair, the Mets milked as much out of Nieve as was probably possible. Three good starts. Against the Yankees, Rays and Cardinals in order. Next up? Whew, look out on the horizon and there's the Titanic, looking for icebergs; Oliver Perez.

I like that Omar is "trying" to look for a deal. I mean, why should he actually make a deal? What, and spoil all this great malaise and depression?

Ole, Fernando!

Well, little point in belabouring the obvious.

Mets play, Mets lose. But c'mon, batting Argenis Reyes in the lead off spot you kind of had to figure this was grasping at straws at its finest. Argenis Reyes shouldn't even be batting lead off for the Brooklyn Cyclones, let alone in the Major Leagues.

But what's the point? This is what's left to work with.


Swept by the Yankees and Yet Tragically, Not the Low Point of the Season

You'd think automatically that in most seasons, getting swept by your cross town rivals including a finale on national television and at the hands of Mariano Rivera making history,you'd have hit the low point of the season.

Does it even count as a MLB statistic considering it came against the Mets?

Oh yeah, and before I forget, letting a guy like Chien-Ming Wang, a starter so bad he seems almost tailor-made for a Mets uniform, earn his first win of the season after getting absolutely shelled in every start he'd made prior to this all season.

But when you're fielding a pathetic lineup involving a batting order oozing with mediocrity and inexperience due to injury, when you've already lost to these Yankees by a ridiculous 15-0 margin, the bar for humiliation has already been set pretty high.

You almost want to see these Mets put down, just to put them out of their misery.

It's like watching a half-team take on a full team, amateurs against professionals and whilst for awhile you can watch the valiant effort made, applaud the way these nobodies, has-beens and wanna-bes gamely struggle on, after awhile, the mind screams for a mercy killing.

Last night gave us the rare opp to see a lumbering, speed-less and well, let's face it, nearly hitless Daniel Murphy in the lead off spot. A guy who is hitting .239 for the month. THAT is how desperate and hopeless this team is offensively.

And pitching-wise it barely merits discussion. Does it matter if your starter gives up only three runs over 7 innings? No, of course not. Because you're team is going to need two or three GAMES to outscore that weighty total, not nine innings, so you can forget about winning. Not even Frankie Boy, brought in just to see a little action, can find motivation in this game; walking three and giving up a run in the 9th.


Wunderbar! More Sand Kicked In The Face

Well now, that's an aggregate of 24-1 in the last two games. We've got the Yank-Mees right where we want them; cocky and over-confident. Just watch these Mets roll now!

Yep, that's right, Mr Rocky Outing himself

Innings Eater Pelf made it through five whole innings last night again, a lasting achievement for a bloke who has averaged almost precisely 5 innings per start this month. To his credit he wasn't abominable in for those 5 innings although it did take him some 93 pitches to make it before the ignominy of being replaced by Pat Misch in the 6th. The minor ignominy of course was being pinch hit for by Argenis Reyes which is like asking your cat to do your calculus homework. Pelf's ERA for June is a sparkling 6.39 demonstrating his growing experience in the Majors is having an impressive effect.

Misch and Elmer Dessens, no shock, were wretched, combining for 3 earned runs and 3 walks over 2.2 innings to help bury the Mets deeper. I told these dumb bastids in my weekly Flushing column that Tim McNab and Edgar Alfonso were the pair to summon up from the minors but did they listen? No, Omar, of course not. He's too busy coming up with redefining the term "Dysfunctional GM" to bother.

Ooof, how about a few free runs to add to the tally?

Shall I prattle on about the errors? Pshaw, why bother? Sure, errors led to two unearned runs but all that means is that the Mets would have lost 7-1 instead of 9-1.

That's because they were hitless until the 5th inning against CC Sabathia, when they unloaded for Sheff's homer and uh, a little sputtering.

On the bright side of the game, Parnell managed to get a guy out without surrendering 12 runs in the process so there's hope for him yet.

Oh yeah, and on the even brighter side, their rapidly decreasing their margin of loss and humiliation. At the current ratio (15 runs the last time compared to a mere 8 this time out) the Mets will only lose by 3 or 4 runs tonight.

I can't wait.


Mets Take Series Against Cards

The left field warning track got some serious work yesterday, first in the 2nd inning when Albert Pujols' fly ball died out there in the 2nd inning with the bases loaded and then again in the 9th when Yadier Molina's shot off a disconcerting Frankie Boy with two men on died to end the game. Both times, the Mets fragile hold on the game was saved.

And if you think that was close, think about the 4th inning when Nick Evans, the proverbial lightening in a bottle since getting his chance back up from the minors, hit a two run double to give the Mets a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Had it not been for Chris Carpenter deflecting David Wright's certain double play grounder, the rally would never have had wind in its sails to begin with.

F-Mart, showing zero proclivity at the plate, added at least two fielding gems out in centerfield which doesn't in its entirety redeem another O-fer outing which dropped his batting average down to .167, but at least partially justifies (well, that and Beltran's injury) his presence in the lineup. At least to Santana, who must have been ecstatic to get out of the 7th after Fmart's diving grab to end the inning.

And Santana, it should be said, showing himself to be a little dodgy in the first two innings, finally settled down to not only break a personal two-game losing streak, but perhaps putting to rest the concerns of injury that had been whispered around him for the last two weeks.

Just like that again, the Mets shocked themselves and their fans with an improbable series victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

This series victory in the wake of losing yet another every day starter, Carlos Beltran, must surprise everyone - as has often happened several times this season, just when you think the Mets are down and sinking fast, inexplicably, they rise to the occasion and even with lineup obliterated and littered with what appears to the naked eye, mediocre hitters, manage to outscore their opponents.

Sure, there were quibbling little irritants you could focus on, trying not to be drowned by the euphoria of such an improbable outcome, but for a day at least, let's just shrug our shoulders and admire the pluckiness of these Mets who continue to defy logic with another surprising outing from Fernando Nieve the night before, Evans' stunning return from a 7 for 75 start in Buffalo, Fill-in Mets taking turns making inexplicable starts with surprising results.

Of course, just when you start to feel good you need only remember that these sorts of surprising outcomes have been tempered by reality all season and this time around, that reality is the Yankees coming to Citi Field.

On the other hand, a great chance to redeem themselves after the humiliation they suffered in their last meeting at Yankee Stadium.

And if we're very, very lucky, redemption so indisputable that maybe they can even get a manager or a GM sacked, even if its not their own.


Wow, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson down in one day - I wouldn't normally comment on a baseball blog about these two newly dead media icons but well, Jackson in any event, has a Mets link, the auld Mets hat in the "Bad" video and Farrah Fawcett, as everyone knows, was a HUGE Mets fan. (Oh, alright, that's not really true but it beats having to include Ed McMahon in the Pop Culture Mourning....)


Mets Sneak One From Cardinals But Don't Expect Miracles

Losing Carlos Beltran and gaining Elmer Dessens and Pat Misch is no way to go into a four game series against the well-managed St Louis Cardinals but that's what these miserable, snake-bitten Mets had to face last night.

Alright for one, Omar waking up and bringing some fresh arms into the pen was a relief in and of itself although I can't say as I necessarily agree with the choice of who. Dessens has stumbled in his last few outings in Buffalo (try five earned runs in a total of 2 1/3 closer innings and you might come away unimpressed) and while he has big league experience, experience itself is not sufficient qualities. As for Misch, yeah, a guy with a 6.14 ERA in the minor leagues is not usually high on your list for promotion.

But not if you're Omar, right?

Now bringing Fmart back up straight away after he's obviously not ready, another smart move? Ok yes, Beltran sitting out until what is likely to be after the All Star game if not longer (let Reyes be your guide)is a massive hole but what, Fmart learned how to hit Major League pitching already? Alright, there's no one left in the goodies bag to choose from, that's clear, but that doesn't make the futility of these moves seem any less futile.

But I'm not going to belabour the point. I have a more specific plan, or non-plan, depending on how you look at it, at Flushing University which should be up for reading sometime today.

As for last night, wow, talk about smoke and mirrors. What else can explain a 6-4 victory over the red-hot Cardinals, a team that humiliated them back in April?

Redding, four reasonably good starts in a row means you stick with him, just like you stick with Nieve. Like any reasonable person, Jerry likes sticking with the hot hand and his abuse of the bullpen bears that philosophy out. So for the moment, I'm not worrying about Maine or Ollie bringing bullpen support. The weak link is now Pelf. Is it normal for a young big league pitcher to be "fatigued" after 88 pitches?

Very good to see this kid slowly regaining his stroke while simultaneously establishing himself as a decent fielding first baseman.

But anyway, I'm getting away from the game - Magical Murph shocking with a homer, Omir augmenting the suddenly hot Schneider with four hits turning this into a catcher's duel for the ages, and Alex Cora, my god, playing better, smarter baseball with one good thumb than Reyes ever did with two. (Not that Reyes thinks with his thumbs, clearly he uses his arse for that...) And how about Luis Castillo? Three hits and that brilliant stop in the 7th to help Redding make an early, uncomplicated exit. Keep trying Luis, you're going to have to do that and more for every night for the rest of the season before anyone even begins to forget that dropped pop up.

Lastly, Brian Stokes saving the game by inducing that miraculous double play off the bat of Albert Pujols in the 8th has to be one of the more unexpected moments of the season.

"I can't get myself out?" Pujol asked bitterly afterwards. "He made a good pitch. I'm human. What, am I supposed to hit everything out of the park?" If you're playing in St Louis Albert, yes, you are.

This is precisely like one of those electrical impulses that causes movement in a body that is already dead, this victory.

But let's make it clear that Fernando Tatis is one electrical impulse away from fading fast. Making him the back up 2nd baseman, back up outfielder, back up first baseman is giving a little too much responsibility to a guy who is one season removed from being retired. He's a great clubhouse presence, wonderful. Make him the new third base coach but having his dying bat, Fmart's inexperience and a parade of fill-ins and hangers-on in the every day lineup is going to take its toll, quickly.

In any event, let's give credit where credit is due. For all their flaws, this Mets team is in a weird sort of way, a team to be proud of. What other team could take hit after hit after hit after hit and still keep on going like this?

The Mets are a major league-best 17-7 in the first game of a series.

Don't expect this feel-good story to carry on to the All Star break though.

Last night was a dream you won't want to wake up from.


Mets Continue Sitting Portrait Of Losing

You have to wonder about Jerry's bullpen acumen, using the same clowns over and over and over again. Or maybe you have to wonder if Omar is on fucking holiday. Maybe you can excuse his hands being tied by their own rubbish farm system in executing a trade for a decent bat or two to take some of the heat off of Wright and Beltran but this slow to the take sort of movement on hitters and pitchers is starting to make the Mets bleed more and more games. The bullpen sucks, they need help. How much more bloody obvious does it have to be?

For about five minutes yesterday, the Mets could be happy. The rest of the time, a miserable foreshadowing to what remains a miserable season.

Stokes came in for only an inning and then, after Scheider's happily unexpected three-run homer gave the Mets a slim one run lead, Jerry calls on Bobby Parnell to hold the lead in the 7th. Bobby Parnell has been crap lately, can't get any body out. So why is he out there trying to hold a one run lead? Who knows, but of course, he doesn't hold the lead. Instead he gives up a two run effing homer into the second deck. Bobby Parnell is not only no longer unhittable, he's a bloody batting practice pitcher. So HELLO Mets front office, stop dithering, drop Bobby Parnell already and call up Tim McNab, who has an 0.79 ERA over his last 10 outings. And why is that wanker Switzer still out there taking up a valid roster spot? Would you use him if you were Jerry?

Big Pelf was busy getting rocked in the 5th for the 2nd consecutive start but was saved by Carl Crawford's idiotic attempt to steal 3rd with no one out, the Rays best hitter at the plate and Big Pelf on the ropes. That kind of stupid aggression on the base paths is what usually kills the Mets, not their opponents. But it didn't do the Mets much good. By the way, Pelf's numbers with first pitch strikes is so daunting you'd think he'd be taking yoga lessons in the bullpen "seeing" the strike zone. Yet there he is out there, throwing first pitch balls over and over again.

Mercifully, a rain delay halted the Rays 4 run inning with two outs and the bases still loaded. Given that the Mets chances of coming back again from a deficit are about nil, you almost had to hope the rain didn't stop. A mercy killing.

The rain delay saw all sorts of interesting methods people used to entertain themselves

But no, the delay ended and the game went on with further humiliation still and in the end, the 10-6 loss, the 12th loss for these Mets in their last 18 games.

So if it feels like the Mets are losing too much to be taken seriously, you're right. And worse still the month isn't going to get any better. Next up, the St Louis Cardinals, who swept the Mets in St Louis back in April the last time these two teams met, totally outclassing and out-baseballing the Mets. And I mean TOTALLY.

So don't expect much but pain heaped upon more pain. One thing for certain is the Phillies won't keep losing. Secondly, Carlos Beltran's knee problems are not going away and sound ominously seriously - the MRI will probably only confirm our worst fears. Hope you enjoyed his play this year.

Lastly, whilst Omar continues sitting on his hands letting wishful thinking do his thinking for him, you can be sure, in light of watching A-Hole's laboured return from hip surgery, that Carlos Delgado is not going to be bouncing back this season as quickly and as optimistically as the Mets are deluding themselves into believing.

That's what sucks about this - watching a crap bullpen maintained, no activity. Watching a batting order of weaknesses continue to flourish and to pin their hopes on the ever-elusive recovery of Carlos Delgado and Who? Jose Reyes? That kid and his mystery hammies are never coming back.

But hey, don't worry the Mets front office chimps tell us like they're feeding us fertiliser and calling it caviar, John Maine and Oliver Perez are supposed to make Single A starts at St Lucie. Pretty soon our bullpen woes will be over.


The only prayer these Mets have is if someone buys out the Wilpons and completely sweeps clean the Idiot Collective of Delusionalists in the front office.

Until then we're going to be left with one mess of bad judgement after another.

The Good News? Johan's Not Injured

Well now, there's a shocker.

Game on the line, one man on, two out, tying run at the plate and David Wright, the ice cold David Wright, not the red hot David Wright, swings at two consecutive dirt balls to strike out on three pitches and end the game. That's David Wright, Ice Ice Baby:

Look at that ball. It's almost underground.

One good thing, one relief, is seeing confirmation for 7 innings that perhaps Johan Santana isn't suffering from some mysterious ailment after all. Last night was vintage Johan and vintage Mets - Santana gave up only two earned runs over 7 innings and the Mets scored one run in support, just like the old days. Not good but better than 15-0 to your cross town rivals, you have to admit.

New York, the new London?

And where were the Mets tonight? Not at the plate, for certain. After the 3rd inning they went down without so much as a whimper until Beltran's single with two out in the 9th. And even that, as we know, stifled by David Wright's miraculously feeble at-bat to end the game.

You'd like to think this kind of blatant attempt by Jerry to laugh his way into the ump's good graces would have resulted in some dodgy strikes and balls calls against the Rays but no, people like Ice Ice Baby were swinging at pitches beneath home plate making it difficult for the home plate ump to help.

Not going to go long into this one. A loss, ugly in most ways but feeling better at least than if Santana had given up a half dozen runs prompting further questions about his health.

I will say this though, the longer the lack of hitting goes unaddressed by Omar the more this season is going to hurt in the end if they miss out on the playoffs by only a few games. But Nick Evans, yeah, sure, HE'S the answer. Especially getting the call to sit there quietly on the bench all night.

The Bobby Parnell Watch continues. Last night yet another poor outing. That's six earned runs, 11 hits and 4 walks in less than 6 full innings this month. That's a disaster and lends more questions still to the bullpen issue of WHO is going to set up K-Rod's fantastic saves? Will we have to wait for Billygoat Wagner to rehab and get up to Queens by August?

Lastly, another little slice of good news; the Phillies bullpen AGAIN blowing a lead, this time giving the "mighty" O's three runs in the top of the 9th to give the Phillies yet another loss. Sadly, although their losing continues, the Mets aren't able to make much if any headway on the lead. They will live to regret it, no doubt.


Weekend Series Begins Nicely But We Know Where It All Will Lead

Hands together for Fernando Nieve. Two unexpected starts, two unexpectedly effective performances. Victories even. Good news what with Maine disappearing for longer than the front office had unrealistically expected.

Another King of Obscurity rises to the challenge

You have to admit, as much fun as it is propping up Omar as the punching bag for our collective frustrations, Nieve is another one of the occasional gems that surface stocking up the farm club with rejects and has-beens and nobody-wants-to-bes. He was plucked from obscurity but emerges not once, but twice to save the Mets after gutting performances with a brilliantly pitched victory. That's what an ace on the staff does.

The ace will back out there today trying to prove he hasn't lost his stuff already.

Big night for Mr Nowhere Man.

As for Friday night's victory, led in part by Brian Schneider's unexpected three-run blast, which may be indicative that perhaps like Church and The Magical Murph, the dry spell is almost over and a miraculous little burst of hitting competence is in foreshadowed.

That would be remarkably good timing considering we're now clearly in the David Wright low tide right now - three Ks last night, each one as inept as the last. I think when he senses that Wright is spinning off into another one of his spells of somnambulism, Jerry should drop him down to 9th in the order, firstly because he's absolutely useless at the plate during these spells and secondly, perhaps for comedic value, recognising how pathetic Wright becomes, worse than a pitcher, when he's off. Seriously though, I'm ready to predict that once he rides out this most recent slump, the homerun stroke will finally be regained and he'll go back to a little more consistency. How's that for wishful thinking?

Bobby Parnell, our hero of yesteryear, our set-up saviour, where the fuck have you gone? How about 0-2 and a 9.53 ERA in June, that's where! I'm wondering what the issue is here, too much too soon, burn out, injury?

Well, shock of shocks, Feliciano managed to get his one guy out and Sean Green struck out the side in the 8th after some painful deliberation. You get those two miraculous events happening in one night and chances for victory are good.

excitement for the relief was justified

And Frankie Boy eliminated the aftershocks of that first legit blown save with a quiet 9th.

Not a bad go for the Mets - of course the last time Nieve saved the Mets with a glorious outing they went out the next day and let the Yankees beat the piss out of them 15-0, with Johan on the mound so well, surprise, Johan is on the mound again tonight so we can finally see if there's anything to his ruckus about a devastating injury or if we can all exhale and wait for the victory to be brought to us.

For one night anyway, one night only folks, nothing to get excited about all the stars aligning properly not only for a Mets victory but the Phillies getting bitch-slapped by the O's even worse than they did to us.

The best you can hope for with these clowns is one night.

Lastly, bye bye, Fmart, hope to see you back up here again in September ready to sizzle. Hello Nick Evans after a long pause and concerns you'd lost your hitting stroke forever. Now it feels like 2008 all over again.

just don't give him the bat with the hole in it, David.


Huff's The Hero Again, Mets Suffer Further Humiliations

If the Mets were ever going to make a trade for first baseman Aubrey Huff they should have done so BEFORE this series.

Huff had his second game-winning hit in a row last night, this time a bases loaded single in the bottom of the 9th off Frankie Boy and let's face it, if you can't rely on Frankie Boy, who CAN you rely on? And the sad part is that you have to spend time emphasising this is the first "legitimate" blown save of the season for Frankie Boy because this wasn't caused by Luis Castillo dropping a simple game-ending pop up.

Hey Metsies, why not lose two of three to the bottom-dwelling Orioles?

If Felix Pie is this happy there must be something seriously wrong in the world.

After all, the fact that the Phillies were swept at home by the Blue Jays giving you a great opportunity to narrow their NL East lead shouldn't be taken advantage of. That should be ignored since you have no interest in climbing up in the standings. Now the Phillies are going to come to Baltimore and crush these same O's while you are going to roll like dogs on your backs against the Rays, right? Isn't that how this stuff works?

Let's see what excuses do we have in the magical excuses-for-losing hat tonight, kids?

Well, there's the usual moan about injuries of course; the fact that Fmart and Murph still form part of the every day batting order.

Then there's always the old how-could-we-ever-hope-to-score-on Jason Berken excuse. Ok, they did manage four runs off him officially, but those didn't come until the 6th and 7th innings. And that was only after the David-Wright-Strikes-Out-Swinging chorus kicked in. We are now entering the David Wright Ice Age again apparently wherein he will strike out mysteriously or ground out weekly in nearly every at-bat. One infield hit in the first five innings against Jason Berken? Why not just stay in your hotel rooms, getting your packing done a day early?

I not the guy, I not the guy...

Finally, there's the how-can-we-hope-to-win-with-Pedro-Feliciano-pitching-for-us excuse, perhaps the best one of them all.

As an encore to giving up the game-losing 2-run homer to Huff last night, Super Stink came in tonight and gave up a one-out double to Huff in the bottom of the 8th. Let's not forget that El Stinko is the lefty specialist, the guy whose only job, whose only exhibited major league characteristic is getting out lefties and who for the second night running, failed even in that tiny little job.

And because watching Feliciano fail again apparently wasn't funny enough, Jerry summoned in Sean Green to send us rolling in the aisles with side splitting humour. Sean Green? Major League pitcher? Heeheehee, Hohoho, Hahaha.

I mean why NOT Sean Green, right? Who else are you going to find who can give up a single and then a run so quickly?

And after all, if your closer is going to remain spooked by some Yank-Mees wanna be relief pitcher and give up two walks and two runs in the bottom of the 9th before even getting the second out of the inning, what difference does it really make who you parade out there the inning before. They're just target practice, that's all.


If this series was supposed to be Fmart's big chance to prove he belongs in the Major Leagues then I guess going 2 for 11 with 3 strikeouts is pretty much a plea to be get bussed to Binghamton. Those aren't even good enough for Buffalo numbers. Up in Buffalo, I guess lefty Cory Sullivan is starting to hear his own footsteps. He's hitting .364 over the last week. And he hasn't done anything since tripling twice in the same inning back in the Spring of 2006 so he's do for a hot streak. If you aren't reading about Fmart's demotion over your morning coffee on Friday it must be because Omar is lying in his bed with his throat slit. Or maybe he's still trying to find out where Jerry's buried The Indelible Mr Reed.

As for Murph well, 4 for 12 with an RBI double is hardly a memorable audition tape over three games but you if you're feeling hopeful you can point out that after hitting .176 in May, Murph is hitting a sizzling .229 in June so the trend is upward for this kid. At this rate, by August he could be hitting like, .350. And if you consider by August, just maybe Reyes' hamstrings might be located and Delgado will up and get out of his wheel chair you can just sense a late season Mets juggernaut appearing. Either that or you're simply delusional from the mini-aneurysm you just suffered watching Frankie Boy cough up his first legitimate blown save of the season.

And look, as rubbish as the Mets are, at least they didn't lose two out of three AT HOME to the Washington Nationals, did they? Noooo, that's the domain of the Yank-Mees, that is. And they weren't swept at home like the Phillies, were they?

No, this was simply a lousy, stinky, miraculously feeble two losses out of three in Baltimore wherein the only victory was in essence only because those O's gave the game to them with errors to begin with. The Mets are two horrific O's errors from having gotten swept themselves.


Happy Return To Loserville!

What can you say really?

What do you expect from this team who have thus far had a lamentable June with no relief in sight?

A victory on Tuesday, owed in large part to mistakes by their opponent translates into a loss on Wednesday when the opponent makes no errors, this time a 6-4 loss to the pathetic O's.

A second victory in a row? Eeeeew? No, we don't want that!

The usual conundrum of inexplicable malaise were the chief suspects; poor hitting in key moments and a brief but important breakdown when it mattered.

You could also point out that Beltran and Wright were only 1 for 10 on the night which in most cases you can infer to mean the Mets were certain to lose.

With the bases loaded and one out in the 6th and the O's bullpen on the ropes resulted only in a lone run to tie the game you knew the chance had been lost, especially considering that lone run was due to a walk, not a key hit.

Even Obama's had enough

The Mets of course lived to regret that when Pedro Feliciano came in to give up a two-run homer to Aubrey Huff and bloooooow the game irrevocably in the 7th. Way to get those lefties out Mr Specialisation. Saved only from greater disaster by a miraculous little diving stop and shuffle pass by Alex Cora. After mocking the trade rumours for Mr Huff yesterday I see 2 hits and 3 RBIs. Still, he's more of a late-season-push sort of trade than a mid June trade and even then, only if you can get rid of some baggage rather than up and coming stars in the doing. Oops, forgot, the Mets don't have any up and coming stars in their Minor League system.

They said David Wright was hitting .361 with runners in scoring position yet in his first two opportunities last night, a K and a weak pop up. I think they've fiddled with the numbers somehow. In fact, his night at the plate as a whole was one to forget. 0 for 5 on the night.

Murph and Martinez Watch

Murph had an rbi single in the 2nd wherein his stroke looked like the stroke of old. They failed to pitch him inside again in the 4th and again, he singled. He got a third single, this one up the middle, in the 6th. Of course in the 8th, with none out and Sheff on first, down by two runs, he manages only a useless fly out.

After striking out in his first at-bat, FMart's elevation on Wieter's first career homer just over the left field wall 366 feet away in the 2nd inning made me think momentarily it was the 40 year old Sheffield out there. He appeared to jump all of about a 1/10th of an inch above the ground to try and catch the homerun ball. In the 6th, his future is so bright he was pinch hit for by Fernando Tatis with one out and the bases loaded. Tatis, unfortunately, was no improvement and ground into an inning-ending double play.

That Tim Redding didn't allow the game to get out of hand early is hardly anything worthy of even cheap applause. I couldn't help but spitting out my disgust with only one out in the 6th. Why can't this tosser make himself more useful by at least eating a few bloody innings and rest the pen? 95 pitches later and his ERA is still a pathetic 6.27. Not to mention the fact he gives goatees a bad name. Shave it, muppet! You look like a displaced biker-wanna-be in a baseball uniform.

The only good news is the bad news of others: The Phillies were beaten senseless by the Blue Jays again meaning their lead remains stuck on three.


For One Night, Lowly O's Are Good Medicine

While it didn't end as prettily as Big Pelf had set it up through the first five innings, he did, in the end, earn his first victory in over a month and the Mets, just barely, managed to defeat the Baltimore Orioles and momentarily ease the pain of that humiliating loss to the Yankees two days ago.

Finally, a victory.

Of course, you might point out that the Orioles lost this game every much as the Mets won it but given the state of the Mets these days, considering the number of victories they've given away themselves this season, it's nice for a change for the other side to be just that much more inept than you.

The highlight of an otherwise snooze was the umpires 10 year conference on whether or not Melvin Mora swung at a ball that hit him in the hand. In the end, even hurt, he was called out on strikes, adding insult to injury, literally and after that, well, you knew which this game was going to swing. Or thought you did at least.

Even the O's catcher got into the fielding baffoon act in honour of playing the Mets

In the 4th inning the Mets were able to "break open" the game (which is sort of like pointing out that it doesn't matter if you're blind when you're playing piñata because every is blindfolded anyway)after Brian Roberts booted what should have been a simple double play ball, allowing consecutive singles by Wright and Church to net the Mets a pair of runs with none out and Sheffield coming to the plate.

And then in the 7th, Aubrey Huff, a man who in some wishfully-thinking minds would be auditioning for the Mets this week, dropped a simple bases-loaded pop fly along the right field line which led to the two insurance runs the Mets would eventually need to eke out this precious victory.

Way to go to play like a Met, Aubrey. Omar, did you see that? I can smell a Murph and F-Mart for Huff and Guthrie trade like a smelly beer fart floating into the room. Dropping pop-ups to blow games is what these Mets are all about Aubrey, but you'd have known that already going in, wouldn't you?

The Mets were walking on eggshells last night trying to escape defeat (that's right, those are EGGSHELLS on the floor in that photo, stay focused...and by the way, this is a Sandy Skoglund piece so if you like it, check out her other works)

But for those two errors, the Mets might not have even escaped this game with a victory.

And just to add typical, needless drama, Bobby Parnell did his best JJ Putz impersonation, giving up singles to the first to batters to lead off the 9th and forcing Jerry to turn to Frankie Boy despite a 4 run lead.

Frankie Boy was of course, a bit of a car crash himself last night, still seething no doubt at the comments of a certain Nowhere Man Yank-Me relief pitcher, sandwiching two walks around a strike out to give the O's one run before finally shutting it all down on a ground ball and a game-ending K.

Careful how you celebrate, Frankie Boy, some Orioles reliever on the DL might take offence.

So there you go, a victory. Savour it because knowing these Mets it'll be their turn to play Laurel and Hardy in the field tomorrow night and by Thursday morning we'll all be sadly shaking our heads again. That would be about par for Jerry's one year anniversary, wouldn't it?

Murph and Martinez Watch

Given the noises the Mets front office has been making about this series being the final proving ground for this pair (as if there are other viable alternatives) you'd think they'd have launched themselves into offensive juggernauts. No chance.

Martinez got on base twice and scored both times. He struck out once. He's batting .200. Murphy was officially hitless in three at-bats however he did manage to drive in a run with a long fly ball to right field. He's hitting .234. Not a great audition for either.

If they're watching over their collective shoulders, Wily Mo Pena is hitting .333 over his last 10 games for Buffalo but no one else over would appear to be a potential replacement; yet another sad commentary on the Mets farm system. For the B-Mets, left fielder DJ "Silly" Wabick is hitting .357 over this last 10 games and believe it or not, Nick Evans, playing first base, has regained to some degree, his hitting stroke which had abandoned him horrifically earlier this season after the disappointment of not making the Mets in the Spring (and perhaps the sadder, unspoken commentary here is that one is put in the position of scouring a feeble farm system to seek replacements to begin with...)

In short, with nothing on the horizon, neither need fear someone is leaping up from the minors to take their place. They'll have to earn their demotions the right way and last night, well, no gaffes and very quite plate appearances. It's like watching the Sitzkrieg all over again.



Well I don't know about the rest of you but once the carnage reached 9-0, that was it for me. Turned it off in disgust. Not just because the ace was getting bitch-slapped. Not just because it was the Yankees. Not just because it was less than two days after a sure victory was dropped by Castillo. But because of the disgust at the futility of watching. The Mets and colossal disappointment all over again.

The season on a thread...

And let's face it, most worrying of all, the final nail in the coffin on the 2009 season still hasn't been hammered; there's still the inevitability of Santana disappearing down the DL with a long or season-ending injury. That 6.50 ERA over the last six starts is no mirage rather a familiar set of circumstances; mysterious, horrific outings generally seem to lead directly to the DL for Mets pitchers this season. Not to mention the injury bug they've already experienced to date. This just seems like it will happen any day and you can be sure the Mets front office will keep horrific news like that hush hush for as long as humanly possible. I hope I'm wrong but with Mets, always choose the worst of all options and you've got a pretty good shot at being right.

And of course there's Sheffield's impending MRI, another disaster waiting to happen.

It's not looking good for the lads, to say the least.

And oddly, there's no anger left. Just resignation, no Wow.


Nieve Helps Save The Day, Mets Bounce Back Again

After the sort of stupidity that lost the game on Friday night the Mets were probably one loss away from seeing the season slip through their fingers from seeing one act of stupidity too many finally break the proverbial camel's back.

Nieve pitched the kind of Who The Hell Is He? game that the Mets usually see - instead, today it's the Yankees who apparently have a history of flailing against nobodies this season...sound familiar?

But these Mets are, if anything, resilient and after Fernando Nieve's unexpected yet superb outing, they live another day to torture us.

Of course it won't make up for all the stupid losses already gone this season, losses which will no doubt come back to haunt these Mets later in this season, especially if they end up missing out on the post season by two or three games, but for a day anyway, they showed resilience, they showed an unexpected grit and best of all, they showed this Yankee team once again for the paper lions that they are; a day later than we'd have preferred, but nonetheless, the Yankees have been defeated as they should have been on Friday night.

Captain Steroid looked weak and vulnerable and maybe a bit like John Travolta

In addition to Nieve's magical outing Omir Santos yet again showed his equally magical and inexplicable ability to lift the Mets (that granny against the Marlins and the game-ender off Papelbon in Boston come immediately to mind...) with not only his two-run homer to give the Mets the early lead in the 2nd they would never relinquish but also a run-scoring double in the 5th when the wheels came off entirely for Andy Pettitte who, had it not been for Jeter's ridiculous play, would have been bloodied and through the ropes as early as that 2nd inning.

Has any Met had as many important home runs this season? (Or as many home runs at all for that matter...?

In essence, without the dropped fly ball on Friday, these Yankees would still be in their post-Boston free fall and at the risk of sounding crazy, I'd have to say I'd rather be rooting for these frustrating Mets than those sad sack Yankees in any event.

And let's make no mistake: say what you will about Citi Field, this new Yankee Stadium sucks. The odd winds, the ridiculously short right field porch, the chip shot, band box stadium and the terrible team they field.

No goat's soup for this clown tonight.

As for Castillo, a pair of hits and a couple of decent plays in the field ease the nightmares for a night, not just for himself but for everyone.

The victory does not prove the Mets are over the hump or ready to go on their own hot streak or aren't terribly flawed, weak, shallow - any other day Martinez is not going to have three hits to pad his average, Murph won't be sitting it out, Wright won't be on a hot streak, rather the polar opposite, Sheff will look older and more vulnerable and of course, someone like Schneider will be behind the plate instead of Omir and the Mets will look like the Mets again.

None of it solves the bad base running, terrible fielding, the hole in the starting rotation, first base and in at least one of the outfield corners but for one godforsaken night at least, a reprieve.

By the way, this MLB TV package is a piece of shit. First, the bad news was getting the Fox feed and being forced to listen to those pair of jackals and thereafter, a dodgy reception led to frequent and frustrating failures; "media error" eventually forced me to switch to the WFAN broadcast in the end. Douchebags. Makes me thinks the Wilpons are running the MLB website.

Welcome to Idiot Land

Bottom of the 9th, two outs, two on, K-Rod against A-Rod, Subway Series, I mean jaysus, it couldn't get much better. A-Rod pops up, end of the ballgame. I mean, A-Rod threw his bat in anger, knowing he'd choked. Knowing he's A-Rod, Choking King, another failed effort.

Or, pop up to Castillo who tries to catch it with one hand AND DROPS IT! Game over.

This is the Mets season in a nut shell.

Pretty much everyone's reaction to the conclusion of the game the Yankees tried their best to give away to the Mets, mediocre starter, rubbish bullpen, lack of clutch hitting - the Mets just weren't interested in winning..."It's hard to believe," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We kind of got a gift tonight."

"I still don't believe it," A-Rod said. "I couldn't believe what I saw. I've never seen that before." When even A-Rod is making fun of you, it's truly a low point.

In fact, it's the Mets franchise over the last half dozen seasons in a nut shell.

Although I missed the first two the Mets didn't allow me to miss a third heart-breaking loss in a row.

And worse still, against the Yankees, sure victory, just close the bloody glove, a routine fly ball to end the game. I just can't believe it.

Epileptic dogs. That's our Mutts.

David Wright's double off Mariano Rivera to score Beltran was massive and although you could get as excited as you want, a one-run lead in Yankee Stadium is hardly formidable.

Especially when your second baseman is going to drop an easy pop up, drop a Mets victory, get the Mets to the second lowest point of the season after LA.

"I feel bad, I feel bad and tomorrow I gonna be ready for the next game", said Castillo afterwards. Get ready all you want, Luis but unless you've got a game-winning hit in your bat for the next two days, you are NEVER going to make up for this idiocy. Open glove, close glove, Luis? Feckin hell.

Not even Sheffield blast was sufficient to settle fears of the usual, unfathomable Mets loss.

Surely it's only going to get better what with Astros-reject Fernando Nieve taking John Maine's spot in the rotation tomorrow.

John Switzer, great début. 3-run homer to Matsui. Nice seeing you, now get lost. And maybe you should take that idiot manager with you, that one who put you in such a spot for your début, sticks you in there to "test" you - you failed. The manager failed for putting you in there to fail.

Well, not much more to say. Gutting loss.

It's clear at this point that Fernando Martinez and Daniel Murphy (the post-left field debaucheries Magical Murph in any event...) are clearly in over their heads, out of their element.

But what else is there to say about this, really?

I don't know why but I can't bring myself to hate Castillo for his stupidity any more, his failure to catch the ball with two hands. How many times have I had that thought watching Beltran in centerfield, casually sticking his glove up for what looks like an easy out?

There's something morbid about watching this team, watching them invent new ways, new fantastic, unbelievable ways to lose games. Maybe we should just start calling them the Anti-Phillies.


Post Number 800

Well sadly, my booking agent has effed up my calendar and accordingly, I will be missing the Phillies series whilst in Paris.

However, for those who cannot wait until my return for the Subway Series at week's end, you can find my most recent column on Flushing University sometime on Tuesday.

Let's go Mets!


By the Skin Of Their Teeth

You know the Mets are struggling when it takes 10 innings to dispose of the lowly Nats.

On the other hand, at least they didn't lose. Quite a consolation prize.

And I've come up with the idea that David Wright is the Ollie Perez of hitting.

Just like the Jekyll and Hyde act of Good Ollie, Evil Ollie, Wright's absurd inconsistency; unbelievably hot, as in .500 on the road before finding a massive hole in his bat and now, back on the road again, it appears he may have discovered his bat again. Last night his two-run double in the 10th sealed it for them.

Then again, when he tried to steal 3rd right after that hit, well, Jerry says he could have strangled Boy Blunder.


Do you care that Putz is now lost for the foreseeable months to elbow surgery? I mean, other than wondering who the Mets can find to blow leads in the later innings of games, of course.

Were you impressed by Redding surviving the first 4 innings last night? Now we've got our answer for a 5th starter so long as the 5th starter only pitches against Minor League teams the rest of the year.


I'd like to write volumes; a victory, even over the Nats, after that debacle in Pittsburgh is welcomed but I'm worn out by the incessant theatrics; the injuries, the mysterious illnesses, the mysteriously horrific performances by some players followed by their disappearances with sudden injuries. The overaggressive running leading to stupid outs, not just Wright, but even Beltran, in the beginning of last night's game. What is it proving? The Mets have a big heart? That they care? That they're trying hard? Or that in lieu of baseball intelligence they try sheer force of will, no matter how ill-advised, to push the game forward?

You can tell yourself a win is a win but 3 runs in 10 innings against the lowly Nats is indicative of a deep, deep malaise that not even injuries can explain.


Psst: Wanna Hear A Good Joke? It's Called The Mets

"The reality of this is coming here to Pittsburgh and getting swept, me, I feel embarrassed, I don't think it's fun. I think we should find a way to play better and to focus more on what we need to accomplish."

--Carlos Beltran, proving that in fact it was his own teammates making him sick these last three days, not some mystery not-swine flu.

Mets fan tries to drown her sorrows as quickly as possible...

Ok, my patience for making excuses for the Mets losing to the Pirates is officially exhausted now that the Mets have lost all three games to the Pirates that weren't mercifully rained out.

I mean when the only way you can avoid a loss is praying for heavy downpours, your team has hit new lows. Huh? What's that? Nothing gets lower than the ass clown circus we saw in LA? Nothing more repulsive than losing a game because one of your players fails to touch third and another makes a child's error in the outfield before another throws the ballgame a hundred yards over the catcher's head? Well ok, maybe this isn't the season's lowest moment but getting swept by the Pirates, a Pirate team only the night before gutted by the callous fire sale of one of it's best players (sold to the Braves, no less!), is certainly one of the low moments of this young season.

I'm tired of listening to how so and so is hurt, or puking his guts out or pissing out of his arse every five seconds in the team clubhouse or watching Minor League players, rubbish Minor League players no less, we aren't talking superstars-in-the-making for crissakes. Tired of hearing about how the farm system sucks so bad we can't even dream about making a trade for a few decent players because nobody wants our Triple A roster of veteran castaways and over-hyped kids who can't even hit Triple A pitching or get out other Triple A batters even when their careers depend upon it.

Or funnier still, after hearing how rubbish our farm system is, how there is no hope in the future and no chips to bargain with, listening to the Mets Brainwash Collective try to sweet talk us into thinking no first round pick in the draft is no big deal - sure it's not a big deal, even if they had the first pick in the draft the Mets would find a way to cock it up, I mean LOOK at the farm system now - where is the evidence that the Mets have any proclivity at all for evaluating young talent? And what has that farm system produced on this team anyway? David Wright, the streakiest hitter on Earth who inexplicably strikes out more than 20 times more than he homers? Mr Puppy Face Poster Boy who has mastered the language of clichés and disappointment? How about Jose Reyes whose enthusiasm and speed is watered down by his inability to focus and the fact that he's got the baseball IQ of a carrier pigeon and the body with the fragility of a china doll? Good, young talent indeed.

O yea glory days of rant and rave...

And to think, this was one of those rare Mets games I didn't have to watch into the pre-dawn hours, a game I could enjoy during tea, a game I was looking forward to figuring surely the Mets wouldn't lose three in a row to these second-raters before realising about 10 pitches into Pelf's start hey, the Mets are a team of second-raters themselves, where's the advantage?

Shall we scratch our heads bald wondering what in the hell Pelf was doing out there today?

What's Pelf's excuse going to be after this one? Stomach flu? Cat got his tongue? Dog ate his book on Minor League hitters? Couldn't get his pitches down? Only missing by inches? Too sunny? Too cloudy? Too windy? Just trying to get my ERA back up near 5.00 where it deserves to be? What, can't a guy try and perfect his Ollie Perez imitation?

Why doesn't this tit have the bloody keys to Jerry's Dog House?

And Daniel Murphy? How about booting ball in the 5th like Pelf needed help giving up runs today, and THEN making us all gag with concern when you nearly booted another showing us some first class first base fielding yips? Or how about getting picked off first (ok, the Blind Ump at first base who basically blew every call he made all day, equally inept favouring both teams, called you safe, but you were clearly out, bonehead...)then pretty much not getting called out when you were pretty much thrown out at 3rd that same inning before finally getting called out at home another batter later only when you were so blatantly out even Helen Keller could have seen you were out by a half mile? I mean you had Keef pissing himself in hysterics with the futility of it all. He couldn't help himself, laughing at you and these Mets to the point of tears. And sure, Danny Boy, you had an RBI single but how much longer is Jerry going to give you to play your way out of the lineup?

Sick, sick, sick.

I'm trying to remain optimistic. Really, I am.

I think to myself well, FMart is starting to show a little more promise, Beltran is angry, that must be a good thing, David Wright didn't strike out in every at-bat so maybe his Hot-n-Cold O-meter is swinging back to lukewarm. Alex Cora is back, bandaged thumb and all. Putz looks like a candidate for elbow surgery so at least he won't be torturing us with his mediocrity much longer. (Speaking of which, is this the new Mets MO for crappy players, make them disappear on to the DL or force season-ending surgery upon them?)

We've got Emil Brown coming off the bench to pinch hit for us for crissakes, how bad can it be, right?


Santana Start Spoiled; Mets Drop Another

Although he might whinge about the typical lack of run support from his teammates, truth be told, Johan Santana kind of lost this game on his own.

D'oh! The uncharacteristic error didn't prove to be his downfall but might as well have

I mean these were only the Pirates and staked to a 1-0 lead in the 5th, he promptly surrendered an inexplicable game-tying homerun to Jason Jaramillo, who had never hit a homerun before in his Major League career.

And then compounded the problem, he had, by his own standards, a complete meltdown in the 6th surrendering a single, throwing a wild pitch and then allowing back-to-back doubles to give the Pirates what for the Mets is, an insurmountable two run lead.

That was it in a nut shell. Eight singles by the Mets, another 0-fer night for David Wright, (2 for his last 22) another night another injury, this time a pinky dislocation to Ramon Martinez which entirely demonstrates the futility of this stretch for the Mets; the pinky injury came as a result of a slide across home plate that gave the Mets the early lead.

You might also say insult is added to injury by the fact that the Pirates beating the Mets was not even the biggest sports news in Pittsburgh tonight given the Penguins' Stanley Cup match which slimmed an already typically small Pirate crowd to an incredibly fat guy sitting a few rows back up behind home plate and a handful of other die-hards.

And admittedly, with the French Open full of upsets, perhaps my attention too, was slightly distracted.

Sorta like Razor Shines trying to figure out why he's still the third base coach.

Thanks, Razor


Game 50: Pirates Putz Mets Away

So much chaos while I was away: injuries, stomach bugs causing people to leave in mid-game, the long-awaiting goodbye to Ramon Castro, the addition of two more reclamation projects in the organisation...(right, Emil Brown solves everything...)

Anyone looking for a punching bag?

And yet through it all, the Mets, for the most part, kept winning.

But not last night.

If Sunday's near-disaster wasn't sufficient warning, last night's horrific, embarrassing crash and burn against the Pirates, an 8th inning meltdown so reminiscent of last season's 9th innings that everyone immediately began to suffer G-Force Face from the speed with which we returned to nightmares, was the final warning to Jerry and his Gang of Painful Optimists that JJ Putz is no longer a viable 8th inning option.

I'm not saying Putz can't sort out his elbow, his waning confidence, his mechanisms over the course of time. I'm saying the Mets cannot have late inning embarrassments games like Sunday and Monday any more if they want to be taken seriously.

And until Jerry announces Bobby Parnell is K-Rod's new set-up man,the situation is only going to become more inflamed.

Putz is not going to magically improve himself overnight. I don't care how much mechanical work he puts in, these are serious blow outs indicative of a serious problem. Maybe it requires a stint on the DL, a seat on the Ollie Perez Bus To Oblivion, relocation to a witness protection programme, weeks of intense pitching mechanics review or even relegation to the Russian Front softball team but one thing it does NOT require is another one of those patented Mets front office responses, you know, the one where Omar or Jerry or sometimes both in unison, chirp about how rosy and wonderful the existing problem really is and how this problem is not a problem and if we all ignore it long enough, it will eventually go away on its own.

And another fresh wound is whywhywhy when you KNOW your set up guy is having problems, whywhywhy do you stick him out there and NOT have someone already warmed up in the pen to come in once the inevitable meltdown approaches? Why wait until disaster has already struck, when the damage is irreversible? Is it stupidity? Naïvité? Ignorance? Unreasonable Optimism? Why wasn't Stokes already ready before Putz even threw his first pitch?

It's been admirable watching the Mets fighting injury and stomach bug, playing with practical joke line ups day in and day out yet still struggling on, still fighting for victories.

Yet this kind of farce; throwing away a perfectly good victory against a 2nd-rate team was entirely unnecessary. What was running through Jerry's mind? How many stupid bullpen decisions can I make in one night? Why Parnell so early? Why is Putz coming in when that very day he's still working on his mechanics?

Why, Jerry, why?

And what the hell is going on in David Wright's head?

How do you hit over .500 on a road trip one week then strike out in nearly every at-bat the next? What psychological conundrum allows for such radical swings? Does he too suffer from delicate mechanical flustering which requires daily or weekly adjustments? Does he suffer from temporary blindness? Or is it the curse of having Jeremy Reed hitting behind you? How do you build a franchise around a player like this? First inning, straight away, he strikes out swinging with two men on base. Third inning? Sheffield on first, weak fly out.

Whaddaya say David, shall we order a pizza?

It's not Wright's fault the Mets lost of course, that's down to Putz and Jerry. And surely with the injuries and excuses, the Mets can be forgiven for not winning every game they play, even against losers like the Pirates.

But this game was a win.

Simple mechanics. A 5-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates is as close to money in the bag as you can get. Especially when you've got K-Rod.

Instead? A painful loss and more controversy; the Mets' favourite home away from home.

My contribution this week to Flushing University is The Bridge To K-Rod. Enjoy.