Mets Rumors & News
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The Mets hosted the Braves for the last time ever at Shea. And they turned what should have been a sweep into a series loss. Friday’s rainout wreaked havoc with the team’s starting rotation, forcing Jon Niese into making a start (which was about the only bright spot of the weekend) and now needing a sixth starter for later this week. Here’s how it went down.

Saturday (Game One), Braves 3-2: What Happened?

The Mets had everything in their favor for this game: Johan Santana on the mound, the lowly fourth-place Braves as an opponent and Howie Rose filling in for Joe Buck on FOX. They were cruising along with a 2-0 lead in the eighth, but as fast as you can say, “The Braves haven’t won a one-run game on the road all season long,” Atlanta was leaving the field with a 3-2 victory. It never even crossed my mind that the Mets would lose this game. Santana went seven innings (two runs, nine hits, four K’s, two walks), but let the first two batters of the eighth reach base. And then Scott Schoeneweis and Brian Stokes let in three quick runs and that was that. The real story of the game, though, was the Mets loading the bases in the fourth and sixth innings with nobody out and only scoring one run. Brian Schneider and Damion Easley both hit into double plays. Those were golden opportunities to break the game open. They let this one slip out of their hands.

Saturday (Game Two), Mets 5-0: The Legend of Jon Niese

The Mets threw Jon Niese into the heart of the pennant race, and eight shutout innings later, the 21-year-old was enjoying the best day of his life. After getting knocked around in his major league debut by Milwaukee, Niese came up big in a big, big game. He struck out seven, walked two and only gave up six hits. The nerves and jitters from his first start were gone. He was throwing strike after strike and baffling Atlanta’s lineup with his roundhouse curve. He may have been helped out a little by the minor league lineup Bobby Cox threw out on the field, though. He even had one of the Keebler elves playing shortstop (Brent Lillibridge). The first time he stepped up to the plate my wife said, “During the off-season he makes cookies in a hollow tree.” Niese also picked up his first big league hit. After the way things ended in the first end of the double dip, David Wright‘s first-inning two-run bomb was a godsend. That set the tone for the game. Fernando Tatis (three hits) chipped in with an RBI single that inning, and in the second, Jose Reyes (also three hits) smashed a homer of his own. Carlos Beltran (yes, three hits too) capped off the scoring with his 24th long ball of the year. With Carlos Delgado steaing all the headlines, let’s not forget what Beltran is doing. He’s the only outfielder with more than 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored. He has an 11-game hitting streak going, and is batting .429 during that span, with four homers, 12 RBIs and 15 runs scored. He’s the best center fielder in baseball.

Sunday, Braves 7-4: What Happened (Redux)?

This one was a lot like the first game of the series. There were plenty of missed opportunities by the offense to add on runs, good starting pitching and a bad (really bad) performance by the bullpen. Oliver Perez turned what initially looked like a struggle of an outing into a breeze, getting stronger as the game went on. He ended up pitching seven innings and only allowing two runs but it all turned out for naught. The up-to-now reliable Luis Ayala came in to get the save but instead didn’t even register an out. He gave up two singles and a three-run, pinch-hit home run to Greg Norton. Pedro Feliciano threw some more gasoline on the fire by coughing up two more runs. Is the Stokes/Ayala bubble bursting? David Wright was the majority of the offense today, going four for four with two dingers and three RBIs. He’s now 12 for his last 19, with four homers. And more bad news: Damion Easley reinjured his quad on Saturday, and his status is unknown at this point. The Mets should have had three wins and ended up with one. Cue up the questions about the collapse. Hopefully they’ll do what they do best: shake off a tough loss and go on a winning streak.

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