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Call to Arms

The Mets' pitching stinks.

I thought about that statement before I said it. Because even though they stink, the moundmen of Flushing have the best ERA in the National League. Think about it. How bad must the pitching throughout baseball be if a team that gave a bunch of automatic loss starts to Victor Zambrano, Jeremi Gonzalez, Alay Soler and (most of all) Jose Lima has the best ERA in the major leagues? Huh?
They're third in the league in strikeouts with a staff that has been led by Steve Trachsel for the past two months. Huh?

They've allowed the fourth fewest hits in the league (with last night's Cubs allowing the fewest) on a staff where their ace has been battling an injury and their next best starter has seen his ERA climb nearly a full run in his last ten starts. Huh?

It's sort of like that Winston Churchill quotation. "Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried." The Mets' pitching staff is the worst in all of baseball, except all the other ones.

So does anyone really care if they make a deal? In a market where Livan Hernandez costs you Lastings Milledge and Barry Zito costs you Milledge, Heilman, Bannister, Wright, Reyes, Pedro, Beltran and Delgado, does it really make sense for the Mets to make a deal?

I'm thinking no. Pelf/Maine/The Amazing Disappearing Brian Bannister is probably a better way to go.

Even if we'd be able to bring back the man they call Kristin, otherwise known as Mr. Anna. He'd probably cost us Milledge, too.


Last night, the Mets did their best Spinal Tap imitation, and went to eleven.
If you haven't seen This is Spinal Tap, you should probably view the below clip and then stop reading this blog and go rent the movie.

Anyway, you probably all know that the inning was the best in franchise history, two grand slams by left-handed hitters that went to left-centerfield and finally an epiphany about how the Cubs of Saturday were an aberration.


I figured all hope was lost for this Mets team, with the "Don't look now, we concede nothing" Braves fast charging. They've moved to 43-49, winning their last 5, while on an 8-2 roll in the past ten.

Forecasting the Braves, it seemed like this year would finally be their downfall. No fluke performances from relievers and starters coming out of nowhere, à la Jaret Wright in 2004 and Jorge Sosa in 2005. Even though I did at first fear the wrath of the funky-armed Brave duo of Peter Moylan and Ken Ray.

And fearing the Braves' relievers seems like it was a good idea. The guys who helped them from nowhere last year (Sosa, Chris Reitsma, Blaine Boyer, Macay McBride and Kyle Farnsworth) are stinking up their respective joints, but now they've a new breed.

This new squad includes McBride, Moylan, Ray, Chad Paronto (right), Kevin Barry, Oscar Villareal and ex-Rick Peterson project Tyler Yates, who made a cameo appearance in a blog posting from earlier this year.

Egads. If that doesn't inspire postseason confidence in a team, I don't know what would.


Yours truly will kick back at two Mets games this weekend, attending Friday's incomparable Merengue Night festivities (minus the concert, of course) as well as Sunday's Mets-Astros game.

I should have far more comprehensive wrapups for those games and maybe some pictures too.


In the spirit of the Fonz, who joints the radical offshoot of the Mets based in Norfolk, let's all say "Eyyyy!"


One final note. I was watching NESN (New England Sports Network, aka the Red Sox/Bruins channel for those of you not in the Northeast) and they were showing a rerun of a Devil Rays-Red Sox game from early 2002.

I get a huge kick out of watching these, just on account of looking at how bad both teams were.

The lineups:

1. Brent Abernathy 2B
2. Jason Tyner LF
3. Randy Winn CF
4. Steve Cox 1B
5. Ben Grieve RF
6. Greg Vaughn DH
7. Toby Hall C
8. Chris Gomez SS
9. Felix Escalona 3B
SP Joe Kennedy

1. Rickey Henderson LF
           Carlos Baerga PH/2B
2. Johnny Damon CF
3. Nomar Garciaparra SS
4. Manny Ramirez RF/LF
5. Tony Clark 1B
           Shea Hillenbrand PH/3B
6. Jose Offerman DH
7. Jason Varitek C
8. Lou Merloni 3B
           Trot Nixon PH/RF
9. Rey Sanchez 2B
           Brian Daubach PH/1B
SP Derek Lowe

The game featured relief appearances by Casey Fossum, Rich Garces and Ugueth Urbina for the Red Sox.
Devil Rays manager Hal MacRae attempted to use Victor Zambrano for a six-out save. Isn't that a joke in itself?

So let's see. The Red Sox's starting lineup actually contains a bit of talent, as everyone but Rickey played in the major leagues last year. And even the pinch-hitters all played big league games last year. Daubach and Awfulman got terribly lucky though as they benefited from a tumultuous situation at first base for the Mets. Sanchez/Awfulman/Daubach/Rickey haven't played games this year. Somehow Merloni's actually played for the Indians.

Derek Lowe's going strong for the Dodgers, while the other relievers have not fared so well. Fossum's pitching for Tampa, while Garces is long gone from baseball and Kim was released by the Rockies earlier this year. Urbina, well, he's sitting in a Venezuelan jail cell (right) accused of trying to machete and ignite his employees.

Now let's look at those good ol' Devil Rays.

Abernathy? Baseball? 'Fraid not. Played in about twenty games for Minnesota last year after failing to show in the big leagues in 2004. Currently on a minor league deal with Milwaukee.
Tyner, the former Mets prospect with a swing that couldn't bruise a pear? Just called up by the Twins after Torii Hunter hurt his foot.
Randy Winn? Going strong for San Fran, actually. Remember when he was the only Devil Ray All-Star and was essentially traded to Seattle for Lou Piniella after the Mets refused to give up Aaron Heilman for Sweet Lou? And they hired Art Howe? I do.
Steve Cox. That wasn't even a question. 2002 marked his last year in the Major Leagues.
Ben Grieve? The former second overall draft pick got into about 40 games with the Cubs over the last two seasons. He went to the other side of town on a minor league deal with the White Sox.
Greg Vaughn? Let's laugh. Heartily. He looked like he was on more steroids than anyone ever when he hit a whopping 50 homers for San Diego in 1998. He parlayed that into a 4-year, $34 million contract with the expansion Devil Rays, committing grand larceny in the process. He was released later in 2002 after hitting .163 in 69 games. He attempted a comeback with Colorado in '03, hitting an improved .189 in 23 games. That was the last we've heard from him. And, no, he's not related to Mo even though it totally seems like they should be.
Toby Hall? Still in the big leagues, though dealt to LA with Mark Hendrickson for Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro earlier this year.
Chris Gomez? Playing as a utilityman for Baltimore the past two seasons. Recently activated from the DL after breaking his hand earlier in the season.
Felix Escalona? Somehow he played in ten games for the Yankees last year. He hit .286, including some walk-off hit that I vaguely remember. I'll ask Dyslexia about that.

Joe Kennedy's out for a while with shoulder trouble. He was traded from Colorado to Oakland last year.
Victor Zambrano, you ask? He'll be fine. He's probably done with organized baseball for a long while. He was traded to the Mets for some kid with Kaz in his name. Matsui, I think.

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