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The Dull Flame of Doubleheaders

I don't have much to write about this morning's win and this evening's loss.

However, à la Spy Magazine, I will present two lists, representing my feelings about today as a whole...


  • Moises Alou
  • Willie Randolph
  • Jose Reyes
  • Pedro Feliciano
  • Paul Lo Duca
  • Marlon Anderson


  • El Duque
  • Aaron Heilman
  • Jesus Flores
  • Ruben Gotay
  • Carlos Delgado
  • David Wright

Gut-wrenching, isn't it? I'll see you on another occasion, but for now, I implore you to read the italicized text below.

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A Routine Affair

Well, you'd expect a bit more of a take-no-prisoners attitude from a self-dubbed band of pirates, wouldn't you? Instead, this group seemed a little less than swashbuckling. Perhaps the Friendly Manatees would be a good name, unless you're describing their incredibly charming treatment of Lastings Milledge, who might as well be a chest of buried treasure under nonstop pillage.

Pardon my kidding about piracy. I watched a segment on Sean Hannity's vanity program on Fox News Channel, Hannity's America (and the nation really is his, you know), where he explained that piracy was still a huge problem affecting our society. So huge, in fact, that I postponed my yearly sailing voyages to Indonesia and Somalia out of fear.

I'm proud of Glavine's 299th, but he's been absolutely awful since about mid-May this year. I too noticed that stat on SNY showing Glavine's 4 no-decisions in 5 seasons while with the Mets after being staked to 6-run leads, compared to 1 in sixteen seasons with Atlanta. He's been struggling so much lately, it wouldn't be a stretch to compare him to another of the worst pitchers in my Mets memory: himself two seasons ago.

Glavine appears to be out of tricks hidden up his sleeve, as evidenced by his barely quality start tonight: six innings, eight hits, three walks, 113 pitches (47 balls, 66 strikes), and only two strikeouts. He feasts on the naivete of young hitters, and this Pirates lineup is filled with 'em, not to mention the fact that they're second to last in the major leagues in runs scored, third to last in OPS, third to last in total bases, and last in on-base percentage. A real murderer's row they have there.

While the Mets notched a win in a fashion that has become surprisingly routine during this hot streak, with early scoring and Lastings Milledge swaggering his way to victory, Tom Glavine's shoddy showings have become equally numerable. Sorry, Tommy, but maybe you might be better suited going out on a high note. If he has a lead after five innings next start, it might be advisable for him to just run off the field, à la Victor Zambrano. Who knows, maybe the Braves will pick him up.

It might be rather meaningful when analyzing Glavine's season to discuss what transpired this offseason, when the lefty desired to return to Atlanta and instead re-signed with New York after the Bravos were reportedly unwilling to put his name on a check.

Did the Braves have the right idea in opting not to pony up for a starter whose better days are behind him? Only time shall tell, but to my knowledge the Mets are on the hook for next year should Glavine pitch 160 innings. He retains an opt-out clause should that option become guaranteed.

For a pitcher who has lost the mystique and fastball that guided him through his best years with Atlanta, one must only hope for continued strong run support on the offense's part and perhaps better command from Tommy.

A prediction? Moises Alou injured his shoulder while punching Jose Valentin when their paths crossed at the orthopedist's office. Carlos Beltran injured his abdominal muscles while attempting to punch off his own mole (left).

Lastings Milledge looked alright in centerfield tonight, though one certainly does not hope that Anderson and Green will be starting in the corners everyday. Maybe Ben Johnson and his .185 average are worth another look. What's Shane Spencer doing these days? Hey, Eric Valent hit a whopping .209/.284/.256 for the Portland Sea Dogs. I hear he could really use a major league job to lift his spirits.

I know Green had a good night, and that Anderson's looked good since joining the Mets, and Milledge is probably a future star, but can the Mets really do no better than two thirtysomething lefthanded hitters with no defensive range and weak arms against a nasty lefthanded starter? We hear Beltran's day-to-day, but for him that usually means a ten-day absence and a subsequent period of total ineffectiveness.

Seriously, the guy can get back in the lineup after a gut-wrenching collision of faces at high speed in the outfield, but he has a little muscular pain and he's suddenly Jeff Duncan at the plate, if he even bothers to play.

Who taught Beltran how to become an ironman and win the hearts of Mets fans? Carl Everett? Just kidding, Carl. I referenced Sean Hannity in the post, so it's just as though I'm with you on the dinosaur thing.

It was nice to see Damion Easley back in the lineup and even nicer to see a game without any major defensive blunders at second base. I like Gotay a lot, but I can understand how the Royals gave up on him for Jeff Keppinger.

Just a quick note: at the price of Ty Wigginton and prospects Matt Peterson (who spent most of this year at AA for Pittsburgh, despite being at the same level four years ago with the Mets and being way too old for it now, and still hasn't surfaced on the big league roster of an awful team) and Justin Huber (who is hitting .243 for the Royals' AAA affiliate, stuck behind former Met folk hero Craig Brazell and his 25 long balls on the depth chart), the Mets netted Gotay, John Maine, and El Duque. Too bad we had to suffer through a year and a half of Kris and Anna to complete that deal.

Tomorrow's a bright and early start, 12:10 p.m. It's swell for the kids in summer camp, not so much for the unemployed alcoholic set. See you then.

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Off-Day Blues

It is a little disconcerting around here, in Metland. Sure, the team just won an incredible game against the Dodgers, taking three of four against some of the NL's steepest competition, but something just doesn't feel right.

Sure, they put a little distance on the Braves and Phillies in the process, but something just doesn't feel right. Some of the most moribund components of the Mets' offensive attack were revived, call it the HoJo Effect, but something just isn't right about this team.

Maybe it's the fact that Chip Ambres, Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Anderson Hernandez are on this team with a week and change until the trading deadline and no hope on the horizon. Maybe it's that the Mets are likely going to rely on an increasingly out-of-gas Glavine, a noble but still injured Sosa, an injury-prone Duque, and youngsters Maine and Perez to shepherd this starting rotation through the season. The rotation is (allegedly) a key strength.

It could be the bullpen's struggles, which have resumed to haunt it after an incredible stretch prior to this road trip. Willie has two relievers who are to be counted upon in close games, and they're both lefties. Joe Smith isn't showing any of that magic we grew to love earlier this season, Aaron Heilman is liable to blow the game at any turn, Guillermo Mota still has a 5.53 ERA, and Aaron Sele, while not exactly disappointing, has made us lust for the 2006 Darren Oliver.

Thankfully, the Mets are outperforming their Pythagorean record by three games. Coincidentally, perhaps, the Mets narrowly retain a lead of three and a half against Atlanta, inexplicably swept by Cincinnati earlier this week, despite almost identical Pythagorean records.

I can't help but worry about this team, whether or not Pythagoras intended for that. You can still look at the lineup and find non-contributors in Shawn Green and whoever is slumping with him. Recently, we have seen Jose Reyes in near-freefall, Paul Lo Duca redefining useless, and the now-injured Jose Valentin showing nothing near last year's performance.

This all makes us wonder: how on earth did this year's club, with ostensibly similar roster construction, manage to underperform so much compared to the magic of 2006? Was it really the departure of Chad Bradford? Was it Cliff Floyd? Eli Marerro? X-Man? Sancho?

It's hard to say, but the Mets this week will attempt to embark on a new phase of the season. Moises Alou has parted the Atlantic and returned to action, as he is slated to join the Mets tomorrow. It's reasonable to assume there shall be platoons abounding in the corner outfield positions, with Firstings supplanting Green and Marlon Anderson spelling the fragile Moises.

When Damion Easley, who receives the deepest condolences from this space, returns sometime this week or next, he, Anderson, and Ruben Gotay will form a triumverate at second base with Jose Valentin absent for the forseeable future.

The pitching staff will remain relatively unchanged this week, but the Mets are undoubtedly looking to acquire relief pitching at the deadline, and the farm system is quite deep. Perhaps the Mets will pick up the righty setup man of their dreams. And speaking of righty setup men, Duaner Sanchez is a candidate to make an appearance sometime next month, according to his agent, Bean Stringfellow, seemingly a Monty Python character. Have we forgotten Pedro, too, the key rotation cog from last year's club who has been nothing more than an urban legend in 2007?

Relish the future for the Mets. The adversity is slowing, but with seven at home prior to the deadline against the Pirates and Nationals, is a clean sweep too much to ask for? I think not.


A few quick notes:
  • I'm not sure if I have expounded on ESPN's organized takedown of the National Hockey League in this space, but others certainly have. I think that blog has someone reading my mind.

    Anyhow, isn't it odd that ESPN's golden boy, David Beckham, who received hours upon hours of his own programming on the Worldwide Leader despite minimal playing time in his first contest, referred in his inaugural press conference to "the three big sports in America?"

    Perhaps you should consider sharing some of your time with hockey while savoring the fixing of games by an NBA ref, the seizure of a hallowed record by a misanthropic felon drug abuser in baseball, and the ritualistic electrocution of dogs raised to fight by an NFL superstar.
  • I am slightly ashamed to admit that various Harry Potter 7-related experiences kept me from posting this weekend (read: consuming the entire book in a day, and then suffering the requisite headaches), but I would love the opportunity to discuss my displeasure with the series' ending, which I will not reveal in this space. As always, I can be reached by email or in the comments section.
  • If the weather would deign itself to cooperate, I will be attending Thursday's Mets-Pirates contest. I will be the one unendingly whooping and cheering for Xavier Nady. Regrettably, it seems like there are few fan clubs I can join to channel this adoration of the X-Man. Oh, well.

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