Mets Rumors & News
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With rain scheduled for the next four days, who knows when the Mets will play again. They had a golden opportunity to tie the Phillies in the loss column last night, but instead decided to take a fork and stab Mets fans in the eye with it. With the Phillies loss and the Brewers win, the Mets are now tied for the wild card lead and remain a game and a half behind Philadelphia. With the fourth game of the series no lock to be played, here’s what happened in the first three games.

Monday, Cubs 9-5: Nightmare at Shea

Ron Burgundy couldn’t have summed up Jon Niese’s troubles any better: “Boy, that escalated quickly…I mean, that really got out of hand.” Ok, maybe Niese isn’t ready for the big leagues yet. After pitching eight shutout innings in his last start, this one was a disaster (and much like his debut). He made it through three innings, and then in the fourth, he fell apart―and fell apart fast. The nightmare was capped off by a Jason Marquis grand slam. A mulligan stew of six relievers finished the game, going six innings and letting in three runs (does that qualify them for a quality start?). Every time the offense had a chance to chip away at the lead, they’d hit into a double play or pop up. And with two runners on base, Luis Castillo stared at three straight fastballs right down the middle without moving the bat off his shoulder to end the game. Not a good game if you’re fighting for a playoff spot the last week of the season.

Tuesday, Mets 6-2: Two Words: Johan Santana 

Johan Santana did it again. The Mets needed him to be the ace, and he came up with another huge outing. It took him a career-high 125 pitches, but after letting in two early runs, he mowed down the Cubs, striking out 10 in eight innings. And he had to fight the home-plate umpire squeezing him all game long. Was that Ron Santo back there behind the mask? Santana hasn’t lost a game since June 28th. But he doesn’t just pitch. Now that he’s been freed from the softball league that the Twins play in, he’s a baseball player, too. In the fifth, he got a you’ll-never-see-that-again hit when he pinged a dribbler up the middle and the ball bounced off of the barrel of his broken bat near second base. If the Mets actually pull this thing out, that may be the symbol of the season―2008’s version of 1969’s black cat. Later in the inning he hustled around the bases to score a run on David Wright’s two-out bases-loaded single. In the sixth, Santana beat out a potential double play to keep the bases loaded with one out, and then scored another run when Jose Reyes cleared the bases with his 19th triple and 200th hit of the year. Back-to-back innings with bases-loaded hits. When’s the last time we’ve seen that? Daniel Murphy got another pinch hit, which makes him six for 12 for the season. And it wouldn’t be a ninth-inning bullpen performance without allowing at least two runners to reach base. That’s what makes them special.

Wednesday, Cubs 9-6: Nightmare at Shea Part II 

This is the game that could prove to be the back breaker. With all the Mets’ bounce-back wins after horrible losses this season, it might just be too late to recover from this one. They had first and third with nobody out in the seventh. Couldn’t score. First and third with nobody out in the eight (and then the bases loaded). Could only score once. And then in the ninth (the inning that will be burned into the retinas of Mets fans for the rest of our lives), a man on third with nobody out (thank you, Daniel Murphy), and then the bases loaded with one out. Couldn’t score. With a 3-2 count, David Wright struck out on a pitch way out of the strike zone. After two intentional walks, Ryan Church could only muster a soft ground out to the second baseman to force the runner at home (what happened to the Ryan Church we knew and loved?). And Ramon Castro flailed weakly at three pitches to end it. It would be unbelievable, but for the Mets, it’s believable. Only they could pull off something like this.

Oliver Perez was a huge disappointment in this game. He was handed a 5-1 lead and couldn’t even make it out of the fifth inning. He gave back all the runs on six hits and five walks. Terrible. The bullpen actually kept the Mets in the game, with 4.2 scoreless innings (though Duaner Sanchez let two inherited runners score) until the 10th, when Luis Ayala coughed up three runs. But the game should have been over by then. In the third, Carlos Delgado blasted a grand slam. He may have gotten a little help when Jose Reyes rattled Carlos Zambrano by dancing off third base. Zambrano didn’t care for Reyes’ shenanigans and told him so. But what Reyes was doing is called gamesmanship, and is aggressive, winning baseball. Maybe Zambrano should be playing in a slow-pitch softball league where nobody keeps score and everybody gets a nice hug when they strike out. The Mets scored their first two runs on bases-loaded walks. Ramon Martinez came out of nowhere to have a nice game. He did more last night than Luis Castillo has done in three weeks. Keep him in there. And, by the way, the Mets need a new third-base coach.

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