Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Games 59 Through 62 - Mets
Losing Mo . . . Again

Twins 3, Mets 2
Royals 7, Mets 5
Royals 4, Mets 3
Mets 5, Royals 2
Record: 29-33

Once again the Metropollyannas capped off a lost weekend with a wee bit of salvage work, though as time wears on, it's an ever-increasing case of too little, too late. The Mets haven't lost the final game of the weekend (Sunday games except for Memorial Monday) since April. The problem is that over the last three weekends, these wins have followed multiple losses. (This time it was 5 in a row.) It's like little kids kissing up when they know they're in trouble: Aw, gee, Pa, don't be sore. See, we can win for you!

Well, Opie, trying to figure you boys out has been like trying to sew buttons on custard pie. I do believe I have a bead on you, though. You're a 4th-place team at heart, maybe with aspirations of 3rd. Sad but true. ESPN's Harold Reynolds was asked point-blank on Sunday if this latest skid marked the end of the Mets' run at contention, and he emphatically said that it's not. He pointed to a National League East without any team pulling away, and to the fact that the Mets are only 5.5 out. Oh, yeah, and it's early still. It's always nice when someone on the tube is telling you your team is still in it, even if he's wrong.

Here are a few of the reasons why the Mets are still in the prologue of what should quickly become a lousy four months -- a June swoon, July goodbye, August disgust and September . . . (football, remember?).

The veteran pitching has been carrying the load, and they will weaken as the summer wears on. When that happens, the foundation will crumble.

The bullpen has reverted to a mediocre form, looking like the bunch of cast-offs, journeymen, and washed-up stars of old they probably are.

Mike Cameron and Jason Phillips are hovering above .200, Cameron and Matsui are fanning once in every 3-4 trips to the plate, and the team's batting average (.246) is now back to the worst in baseball other than the lowly Expos, who, by the way, were better in their last 10 than the Mets.

Pretty dreary. I could go on, but before I need some Prozac just to carry on . . .

At least Jose Reyes is playing baseball again. He's only in A ball, but we'd been seeing more mentions of "relapse" than "rehab" in the past month or two, so that should be promising. All that's really "promising," however, is me promising you that Reyes's return will hit another snag. Sit back and watch the setback.

Meanwhile, on the Comics page of the Mets newssheet we see this:

RHP Scott Erickson pitched five innings for the Triple-A Norfolk on June 14, allowing seven earned runs on 10 hits. Erickson, who has a strained left hamstring, threw 98 pitches.

So he gets clobbered against the Toledo Mud Hens. I kid you not. Speaking of which, I am not making up this roster entry for the Mud Hens on ESPN.com: B Ust
Well, we've had a few of those in our organization as well, haven't we? [Further research shows it's a Brant Ust, who's actually hitting pretty well for them.] Tangent off a tangent off a tanget: 25 may be too young to officially tag someone a bust, but former Mets savior-in-training Alex Escobar is testing that theory. After what seemed like years and years and years of waiting for him to develop while turning away big-time offerings, the Mets sent him to Cleveland a couple of years ago, where he got hurt, got healthy, and got to the Opening Day roster this year . . . where he has hit .211 with 1 homer and 12 RBI in 46 games so far. Seeing him flounder for someone else after we dumped him almost gives Mets fans a sliver of redemption about wasting those hopes on him, except that the serviceable (especially this year) Matt Lawton went with him in that same deal . . . for Roberto "Bait and Switch" Alomar and Mike "Make Explosion Noises Here" Bacsik. It looked like one of those Everybody Lost trades except that Lawton's lighting it up now.

Speaking of Cleveland, guess who's coming to town tonight? (Funny how it looked like I didn't know where I was heading in that last paragraph. If you love a train of thought, set it free . . .) Those 30-31 Indians. (That's a game and a half better than the Mets, for those of you into the whole "standings" thing.) The Tribe are just 9-16 away from Jacobs Field and they're starting Jason Davis, whose numbers protrude in all the wrong places, which is why I can pretty much damn well guarantee you the Mets will squander one tonight. Rubbing my crystal ball (it's the left one) here: Kaz boots a grounder, Cameron swings through strike three, and the Mets lose, 5-4, after Steve Trachsel surrenders a tater to Matt Lawton and the bullpen dumps a vat of OPEC output on the fire. Alex Escobar does not get a hit, though. I mean that.

Or it might rain. I'm very precise about all of this.

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