Mets Rumors & News
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The race got a little tighter last night after the Brewers and Mets found victory, while the Phillies were never able to get the offense going.

Recap of Monday’s Action:

The Phillies offense finally took the night off, but some credit had to be given to Braves starter, Mike Hampton. Hampton allowed two runs on six hits, over six innings. Cole Hamels allowed three runs (two earned), and eight hits, over seven innings, but his box score doesn’t really reflect how he pitched. Hamels struggled through the first four innings, and his third inning throw into left field on an errant pickoff attempt allowed Kelly Johnson to score, giving the Braves a 2-1 lead.

The Mets bounced back against the Cubs in a big way. After finding themselves in an early 2-0 hole, the Mets scored two runs in the fifth and another four in the sixth, to beat the Cubs 6-2. Johan Santana was dominant, going eight innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while striking out 10. Jose Reyes led the offense, going 2 for 4, with 3 RBI’s. His bases loaded triple in the sixth inning put the game out of reach for Chicago.

The game of the night was probably in Milwaukee, where the Brewers beat the Pirates 7-5. In the eighth inning, down 5-4, Jason Kendall’s two-out double, plated J.J. Hardy, knotting the game at five. In the bottom of the ninth, still tied at five, Ryan Braun hit a two-out infield single. This brought Prince Fielder to the plate, who crushed a TJ Beam fastball over the fence in right field, giving the Brewers a 7-5 victory.

After yesterday’s action, the Phillies lead the NL East by a one-and-a-half games over the Mets, and a two-and-half game lead over the Brewers.

Magic Numbers:

Phillies – 3 Playoffs, 4 Division
Mets – 5 Playoffs, 7 Division
Brewers – 7 Playoffs

Monday’s Preview:

Cubs @ Mets – Last night’s win lets the Mets breath a little easier. While the pressure is still on, they find themselves ahead of the Brewers, and only a game and a half behind the Phillies (one in the loss column).

Looking to build off last night’s momentum, the Mets turn to Oliver Perez. Perez (10-7, 4.10), has had his shares of ups and downs this season, but has found his groove as of late. Seven of his last 10 starts have been quality, and although he’s only 3-1 over that span, that has more to due with the Mets bullpen, then Perez struggling.

Facing Perez will be Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano. The past couple starts have been strange for Zambano (14-6, 3.77). On September 14th, he was masterful against the Astros, pitching his first career no-hitter. He followed that up last Friday, with a total mess against Cardinals. Zambrano was pulled in the second inning after allowing six runs on eight hits. Zambrano has missed some time this month with a tired arm, so he’s one to keep an eye on tonight.

Braves@ Phillies – While last night’s loss hurt the Phillies, it’s not the end of the world. They still have a somewhat comfortable lead. The biggest thing is, not letting that loss turn into a tail spin.

Brett Myers aims to get the Phillies back on track. Myers has been a different pitcher since his stint in the minor leagues early this summer (3-9, 5.84 before – 7-3, 2.79 after), and is the main reason the Phillies find themselves in playoff position. But like Zambrano, Myers followed up the best pitching performance of his career, with possibly his worst. On September 14th, and on short rest, Myers pitched a two-hit complete game against the Brewers. He followed that up last Friday by getting pounded by the Marlins. In four innings, Myers allowed 9 hits and 10 runs, as the Phillies lost to the Marlins 14-9. This is a big start to Myers to see if he shrugs last Friday’s outing off and returns to dominance, or reverts to the Brett Myers of May.

Jo-Jo Reyes will start for the Braves (I know I had him starting yesterday, thanks mlb.com), and look to put behind him a disastrous start against the Mets last week, where he allowed five runs in less than four innings. Reyes (3-11, 5.74), was considered to be a top prospect heading into this season, but at a young 23, has yet to figure out major league hitters. His last win came on June 13th.

Pirates @ Brewers – The Brewers, needed a big win like last night to try in build momentum for the final five games of the season. Sitting in the worst position out of the three remaining teams, every game is a must-win, and a loss could be devastating.

What better pitcher to build momentum then your ace? CC Sabathia will start tonight for the Brewers. Sabathia has been the best pitcher in baseball since coming to Milwaukee in a July trade with Cleveland. His 9 wins and 1.81 ERA are best in the National League over that span. Sabathia needs to use this start against the Brewers to get back on track. As dominant as he’s been, he’s lost his past two decisions (in his defense, he’s only allowed 5 runs in the past 13 innings), and hasn’t won a game in the month of September.

If there’s an ace this season for the Pirates it’s tonight’s starter, Paul Maholm. Maholm’s 9 wins and 3.68 ERA are tops among Pirates starters. Maholm is 2-2 in his career at Miller Park, but hasn’t registered a decision there this season. It’s not his doing. In his two starts there this season he has posted a 1.93 ERA and averaged seven innings per start.

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