Mets Rumors & News
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As we enter the final weekend of the season, all three teams fighting for the final two playoff spots are within a game of each other. While the Phillies had the day off, the Mets and Brewers both won, and like in any playoff race, they won in dramatic fashion. This will be the final series of the season for one of these three teams.

Recap of Thursday’s Action:

In Flushing, weather was a concern. A Nor’easter was rolling up the coast, threatening to postpone the game. Thankfully the weather gods held off so the Cubs and Mets were able to play, but this game will be talked about not for what happened on the field (which we’ll get to shortly), but what happened before the game. When Brewers and Phillies fans got home from work, and checked the starting lineups for the game, the Cubs lineup looked a bit strange. Missing was Alfonso Soriano, Derek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto, & Mark DeRosa. In fact, it the lineup looked more like the Iowa Cubs then the Chicago Cubs. In Lou Pinella’s defense, he didn’t play a lot of his starters, due to the weather, but a point can be made that the Cubs are trying to influence the playoff race. Regardless, those Iowa Cubs didn’t lie down and gave it everything they had, but came up short as the Mets topped the Cubs 7-6.

The Cubs starters might have been young, but they looked like seasoned veterans pounding Pedro Martinez for five runs in six innings. It didn’t stop the Mets from fighting back. With the Cubs up 6-3 heading into the seventh. Robinson Cancel led the inning off with a double. Cancel advanced to third on a Marlon Anderson groundout, and scored on a Jose Reyes groundout, making it 6-4. In the eighth inning, the Mets got it going again. With two outs Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church had consecutive singles. Ramon Martinez followed with a single of his own, scoring Beltran, making the score 6-5. Then it was up to Cancel, who singled to right field. Church ran on contact and had every intention of scoring. Kosuke Fukudome fielded the ball cleanly, and fired the ball home ahead Church, but Church danced around the glove of Koyie Hill, touching home plate, to tie the game at six. In the ninth, Reyes led off with a single. Reyes took second base on his own after Danny Murphy and David Wright both struck out. With a man on second and two outs, Kevin Hart intentionally walked Carlos Delgado to face Beltran. Big mistake. Beltran hit a rocket to first that went off the glove of Micah Hoffpauir, Reyes scored, Mets win.

Speaking of Hoffpauir, he led the charge for the Cubs going 5 for 5 with two home runs and five RBI’s.

In Milwaukee, the Brewers found themselves in an old fashion pitchers duel against the Pirates. With each team only scoring one run in the first nine innings (Bill Hall doubled home Mike Cameron, and Steven Pearce’s solo home run), it would go to extra innings to settle the affair. In the bottom of the tenth, Rickie Weeks led the inning off with a single. Weeks advanced to second on a Jason Kendall sacrifice. With the winnings run in scoring position, pinch hitter Ray Durham was intentionally walked, setting up the double play. Craig Counsell stepped to the plate, and drew a walk of his own.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Ryan Braun walked into the batters box. Braun was 0 for 4 on the day, but was in a position that thousands of kids dream about in their back yard. Braun lived those childhood dreams as he crushed a John Grabow fastball for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Brewers a 5-1 victory.

After yesterday’s action, the Phillies lead the NL East by one game over the Mets, and the Mets find themselves tied for the Wild Card with the Brewers.

Magic Numbers:

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

Friday’s Preview:

Cubs @ Brewers – If last night did anything, it gave the Brewers some momentum. With the Cubs in town they’ll need it. Brewer fans shouldn’t expect Lou Pinella to use the same lineup he did last night. The regulars will be back, and they’ll be looking to deep six any postseason dreams the Brewers may have.

Jeff Suppan will take the hill for the Brewers. Suppan (10-10, 5.06 ERA), has had a touch September going 0-3 in four starts. He’s coming off his worst start of the season, where he allowed five runs in only two innings as the Reds topped the Brewers 11-2. This season Suppan hasn’t had a ton of luck against the Cubs, going 1-1 with a 9.00 ERA. He also hasn’t faced them since April.

Ryan Dempster will start for the Cubs. Dempster will start the day after Lou Pinella announced he would be the Cubs Game One starter in the NLDS. Dempster has had quite a turn around going from closer to starter. The player who Cubs fans referred to as “Dumpster” last season is 17-6 with a 2.99 ERA this season, and is a favorite for the NL Cy Young Award.

Nationals @ Phillies – The Phillies find themselves in the same position for the second consecutive year. In order to make the playoffs, they have to beat the Nationals. The only difference is this season, they don’t need the Mets to lose, they just need to win.

Joe Blanton will look to close the gap on the NL East title this evening. Blanton has had his ups and his downs as a member of the Phillies. A player who was always known for his ability to go late into games has struggled with his control since coming to Philadelphia. He’s walked 30 batters in 64 innings as a Phillie. He only walked 34 in 127 innings when he was a member of the Athletics. Blanton has faced the Nationals twice this season. He’s 0-0 with a 8.00 ERA.

Blanton will be opposed by Collin Balester. Balester is 3-6 with a 4.83 ERA in his brief major league career. He has one start against the Phillies. On July 29th he allowed two runs over six innings, taking the loss.

Marlins @ Mets – Triple A team or not, last night was the biggest victory of the season for the Mets. It gives them added confidence this weekend as they face the always dangerous Marlins. The same team who squashed their playoff hopes just one year ago.

Mike Pelfrey will take the hill for his final regular season start at Shea Stadium. Pelfrey has been a savior for the Mets rotation, especially when John Maine fell to injury. Pelfrey has faced the Marlins four times this year and is 0-3 with a 7.92 ERA. His last start against the Marlins, his best of the season, he allowed two runs over six innings.

Chris Volstad will be on the mound for the Marlins. Volstad (5-4, 3.10), has faced the Mets once this season. On August 29th, Volstad held the Mets to only one run over six innings. He didn’t pick up the win. The Mets scored four times in the ninth inning (a Carlos Beltran grand slam), off Kevin Gregg, giving the Mets a 5-4 victory.

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