Jeremy Heit's Blog
Saturday, July 31, 2004
ESPN2 and ESPNNews are reporting the Mets traded Scott Erickson to the Rangers. No word on what the Mets have gotten back. When I get it, I'll pass it along... At least something potentially good can come out of this crappy weekend.

EDIT: As Vinny points out in the comments, its just a PTBNL.

Sleep has calmed me down. More into a state of complete disbelief than anger. Last night was sitting here shaking my head, angry thoughts streaming through the brain. Today its realizing that last night was real, that this wasn't a 6 hour long dream.

Kris Benson might do well here. Actually, I think he can put up a 3.50 ERA here. Victor Zambrano is a resonable risk. There is nasty stuff there, there is upside, though I'm not as high on him because of the "arm issues" and the fact that he walks everyone and their mothers. I think a 4 ERA might be reasonable. Remember, there is no added bonus with our defense... TB's is probably better. As Wes says in the comments, "it's put up or shut up time for Rick Peterson. Is you a guru, or ain't you?"

But they are both still average pitchers. Kris Benson is still a 29 year old who has never reached his "potential" and puts up 4+ ERAs every year. And while his hot streak seems to come with an improved defense (just looking at his DER number last month and this month), Jeff Suppan ran two good months into a stupid Boston trade last year. He's 29 and he's still just potential.

Victor Zambrano almost puts a guy on base every inning without giving up hits. His walk rate is worse this year. Sure, he strikes out people, but he's still a 4+ ERA pitcher too and without a great defense like he has in Tampa, he might be on the higher 4 side. Plus, he's got arm injuries.

The Mets traded for a guy who they can hope can be saved by a defense and a guy they hope Rick Peterson can teach not to walk people. Still, these guys were reasonable risks, especially with how cheap Zambrano is.

But reasonable isn't Huber, Kazmir, Peterson and even Wigginton. That's giving up the future for now, for a bleak now... its giving up the future at catcher and the top of the rotation for "potential" that's almost on the wrong side of 30.

The Benson deal was okay at Wigginton and Peterson. Wigginton has always been expendable with David Wright and Benson would have taking Peterson's spot in the future Mets rotation. But throw in Huber and Kazmir and all we get out of the deal is Victor Zambrano? Some things never change.

I've searched for a word to sum this all up, to put my feelings out there simply. And I decided on it...


We were betrayed. We actually believed management had changed, that it knew what it was doing. The "only make trades if they benefit now and the future without giving up the future" mantra that was bandied about after Phillips got fired... Lie. Big fat stinking lie. It's like watching a trainwreck. You know its coming, yet you watch, hoping that it doesn't happen, that the bad stays away, that it is averted by some miracle. But it never does and they never learn. Never.

Avkash, who never seems to disappoint, sums it up well today...
And I don't mean to be all melodramatic about it either. This is something we know going in, and yet we still invest our time and energy. You root for Darryl Strawberry, emulating his batting stance in the school yard, until one day you come home to find he's now a Dodger (what's that?). You collect Doc Gooden baseball cards and treat them like you're most prized possessions, only to find out he didn't think all that much of his most prized possessions.
I wasn't around for either Doc or Straw, but from what I know, I can gather the feeling.

The emphasis above is mine and its what sticks out. We should know not to believe, but we do anyway. Because we want to. Because we are fans and I am not going to root against this team. My body, my brain and my thought process don't allow me to. That's what I wanted to do last night, hope they free fall, pass the Expos, are embarassed by their idiocy. But I was listening to the game on the radio, talking to Matt and when the Braves brought in Reitsma, I said something to the effect of... "Suck guy I sorta like!".

Matt simply asked me, "Aren't we rooting against the Mets?"

It was an easy answer... "I can't. I can not root for them, but I can't root against them."

And there is the paradox. I know this team is destined to repeat the same mistakes, all the time. I'm only 17, but I've learned it, now firsthand. Yet, I root, no... I have to root because its a part of who I am. I just hope every new year brings a change in thought process.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a change in my thought process. I won't be able to comment on Benson, as I won't be home tonight, but I'll try to get back to something regular, something not so down... I'm not sure what that can be, but I'll figure it out.

As Avkash also points out in his post above, a lot of people stopped by yesterday. I've actually gotten over 1000 hits (600+ yesterday) the past 2 days and I'm sitting on close to 200 as I write this halfway through the day (that's usually almost a day's total, especially on the weekends). So very simply, I say...

If you are a Met fan looking for a place to vent or to talk out your feelings, whether you are new to this blog-land thing we have here or not, the comments are all yours... Just try to keep it PG.

Friday, July 30, 2004
From the "What are you smoking?" catergory, featuring Jim Duquette...
"I said all along it's a combination of building from within and acquiring players outside the organization," Duquette said. "This is a current trade rather than a long-term trade."

"We still have a chance this season," he added. "We're still in the hunt, we're still in the mix. Let's go for it."
Are we still in the mix after tonight? Have you looked at the standings? He can't believe that, can he?

More thoughts tomorrow after I sleep. Hopefully, they will be rational.

Matt gives me the heads up on more bad news for the Mets...

ESPN Radio has reported Larry Bowa has been fired by Phillies.

This is turning out to be a wonderful evening. Wonder-frickin'-ful.

And don't forget to leave your comments in the post below on the trades, whether you feeling like ranting or if you actually can come up with positive signs.

Here is the link. The link of suckiness...
The Mets pulled the trigger on two trades this afternoon, obtaining Tampa Bay pitcher Victor Zambrano and Pittsburgh pitcher Kris Benson, the Daily News has learned.

The cost was high. The Mets shipped top pitching prospect Scott Kazmir and Double-A pitcher Jose Diaz to Tampa Bay for Zambrano and Triple-A pitcher Bartolome Fortunato.

They traded Ty Wigginton and pitching prospect Matt Peterson to Pittsburgh and catching prospect Justin Huber to Kansas City in a three-way deal. The Mets will also receive Jeff Keppinger.
This is all bad.

Kazmir/Diaz for Zambrano. Terrible. Don't ask about the prospect. He's a reliever. And might be 30 (read your BP 2004 on him).

Essentially Huber (who was flipped to KC for Bautista who went in the Benson deal), Wigginton and Peterson all for Benson. Horrendous. And the prospect... intriguing 2B, but not nearly enough to make this anything close to worth it.

Peterson, Kazmir and Huber all gone and all the Mets have to show for it is Benson, Zambrano, a reliever who no one knows how old he is and a AA 2B who is a little intriguing (.331/.382/.398 in AA this year), but definitely doesn't make up for it.

Any positive spins? Any?

Okay, its sports radio and its a source through word of mouth, but...

According to posters at a few different message boards and from Craig at Baseball Think Factory (post #53), the Mets have acquired Kris Benson for Ty Wigginton, Matt Peterson and Lastings Milledge. Yes, that's right, all three, unlike I thought.

If its true, terrible deal for the Mets and that's with me being very high on Benson.

Link #1: KFAN's (the radio station the report was originally heard on) web report.
Link #2: A lot can happen when you are at work for five hours... Marty, in the comments, points out that ESPN Radio and the FAN mentioned a three way deal involving the White Sox, Mets and Pittsburgh, that involves Benson, Wigginton, Peterson and another prospect. The White Sox are presumably in the deal to make sure the Twins don't get Benson.

Then, I went to ESPN to find this from Gammons...
ESPN's Peter Gammons reported Thursday night that the Mets and Pirates are in serious discussions about a deal that would send Benson to New York in exchange for third baseman Ty Wigginton, right-handed pitching prospect Matt Peterson and a minor leaguer, who likely would come from the White Sox in a three-team scenario.

While nothing has been finalized, sources tell Gammons that there is a good chance the deal could be completed before Saturday's trade deadline.
OK... So the deal isn't quite done yet. And the unidentified prospect part from the White Sox sounds better. Also, apparently a lot of this hinges on the Mets being able to sign Benson to a long term deal. If its Wiggy and Peterson, plus a prospect from the White Sox for Benson, I like it. If Milledge is still involved, I don't.

It's a wait and see situation. I'm dating this thread July 31st, 11:59 PM so that it stays at the top until the beginning of August. There will be other things I post, but this will be for the latest Benson info/comments.
Link #3: Matt, like me, loves the idea of the second prospect coming from the White Sox. He just wonders if something this intelligent is above Duke's capabilities...
Link #4: Jason calls bringing in the White Sox to the deal an "evil, evil, evil, evil, and very, very intelligent thing to do Mr. Duquette." You gotta love Kenny Williams... he always adds a fun factor to any trade.

6:28 PM 7/30: A lot of stuff flying around, righ tas I flip on the FAN as I get out of work...

-Kazmir and prospects have been flipped for Victor Zambrano. FAN reported in and apparently AP is confirming. Horrendous deal. More on that tomorrow.
-The Mets have flipped Wiggy and Peterson to the Pirates for Peterson, acoording to the FAN. Good deal. More on that tomorrow.
-The Mets have apparently traded Justin Huber to KC for prospects that went to Pittsburgh in the Benson deal. I personally didn't hear this on the FAN, but apparently someone else did. IF this is true, the Benson deal is a bad deal, because its essentially Wiggy/Peterson/Huber for Benson. More when I have it...

Benson? Hah...
With the trade deadline one day away, the Mets are strongly considering the idea of packaging prized prospect Scott Kazmir to Tampa in a deal for right-handed pitcher Victor Zambrano.

If the trade gets done, it would signal the Mets' willingness to part with minor league talent that's touted but unproven in exchange for major league talent that is young, proven and controllable for several years. While some believe Kazmir is a rising star, the hard-throwing Zambrano is considered a potential gem whose vaunted repertoire could help anchor the Mets' rotation for several seasons.
A walk machine. Peterson could help that, but I dont know how much. Plus, this isn't comforting...
Zambrano (9-7, 4.43 ERA) is scheduled to pitch tomorrow, though that could change. According to the Devil Rays' website, Zambrano has some right forearm tightness. He threw a 10-minute bullpen session yesterday after which manager Lou Piniella said: "At this point, he's still going [tomorrow]. We'll see how he feels [today]."
If the Mets could get Zambrano, I wouldn't be against it, but for the best pitcher in the system? Not doing that.

Question of the day:

Do the Mets need to sweep the Braves this weekend to have a chance to win the division and make the playoffs?


Stepping away from Benson for a second...

Kudos to Art Howe? Avkash has the reason.

Thursday, July 29, 2004
Larry Bowa is going to be fired.

The Braves never die. Ever.

As for the Mets, well, everything went pretty well as they won 10-1 today. Al Leiter pitched 6 innings, giving up 3 hits and 1 run. He threw 105 pitches, though a lot of those came in the first two innings. Still, with the score 9-1 at the time he was taken out, I can understand not pushing him. Pedro Feliciano and Dan Wheeler mopped up the final three innings.

As for the offense, well, Mike Cameron got himself up to 20 HRs with 2 homeruns. Richard Hidalgo hit a homerun in the 8th, just because he felt like helping out the Mets with their pythagorean standings after Monday night. David Wright pitched in 2 doubles and a walk.

But the biggest offensive story is Eric Valent, who hit for a cycle (plus a walk). Which begs the question... does Eric Valent deserve more playing time?

Here's the way I see it. Piazza should stay behind the plate the rest of this year, leaving Wigginton and Valent in a platoon/rotation (or whatver you want to call it) at 1B. Have Wigginton start vs. all lefties and a few righties (I know he's hitting much better vs. righties, but I happen to think that has to do with small samples) and have Valent hit against only righties. I definitely think the way he's played (.293/.359/.507 after today), Valent deserves to start at least 2, maybe 3 times a week (maybe twice at 1B and once a week in LF).

Which carries over to my next point, does Valent deserve a spot on the team next year? Well, I think part of that depends on whether the Mets can convince Art to carry 3 OFs and 11 pitchers. Here is what I'd like to see (assuming the Piazza experiment is in full effect next year)...

C- Huber?
1B- Piazza
2B- Matsui
SS- Reyes
3B- Wright
RF- Hidalgo
CF- Cameron
LF- Floyd

C/1B- Phillips
MI- Danny Garcia
CI- Ty Wigginton
OF- Redman
OF- Valent
OF- lefty masher (for more information on that, read this comment thread)

Discuss all ideas in the comments. More PT at first for Valent? 3 OFs on the bench next year? 11 pitchers? I would like to see what you think.

Here is some Reyes and fifth starter news...
Though Reyes said his ankle was still sore after testing it out, he was able to jog and he didn't rule out playing on Friday, when the Mets open a three-game series in Atlanta. The training staff, however, told him not to participate in any baseball-related activities on Thursday.

"It felt good when I got here this morning, but it was a little stiff and sore after I ran," Reyes said. "We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'll go to the park early and get treatment and see how I feel. But now there is no swelling."
It would be nice to see him back tomorrow, but I'm a doubter. I see more Saturday.
Howe said Aaron Heilman and Matt Ginter remain the only two internal candidates to start Saturday's game in Atlanta. Heilman would be on turn if he started on Saturday
My gut feeling says Heilman, since he would be on turn, but we will have to wait and see.

After last night's little story, I've calmed down, though if he plays today, I might flip out again.

Alay Soler is very close to finally signing a deal with the Mets. He should start in A-ball at St. Lucie.

As for the trade winds, here are the rumors flying around today's papers...

Kris Benson- It seems as though the Mets are upping their package...
According to an AL official trying to get his club into three-way trade possibilities involving Benson, the Pirates were still serious enough about the Mets to be scouting Lastings Milledge at Single-A. The Mets recently promoted Milledge, their 2003 first-round pick, to St. Lucie.

Besides the multitooled outfielder, the Mets have let the Pirates know they would be willing to move Ty Wigginton and Double-A starter Matt Peterson to land Benson.
I happen to doubt it would take all three, but Milledge? This team hasn't produced/doesn't have any legitimate superstar outfielders that may come through the farm. To give the only one would be a really bad move...

Devil Rays Musings- They are serious about this Kazmir stuff...
The Mets are trying to involve a third team in a Victor Zambrano trade that could involve shipping out Scott Kazmir.
Another bad idea.

1:05 start today
in the last of a 4 game series. Just one question though... Rocky Biddle is a starter? When did that happen?

Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Sometimes, the signs are there. And you still don't see them. I couldn't wait to get out of work tonight, flip on the FAN and hear the results that I expected. That I knew were going to be there. Hope filled me. I was sure of what Eddie Coleman would tell me. Aboslutely sure.

Then I opened the door to get out of work. It's pouring. I stand there ten minutes to wait for the rain to let down (which it hardly did) to run to my car and flip on that radio. I should have known. Rain. Hard rain. It's always a sign. But I didn't listen.

I ran to that car, probably the fastest I've ever run in my life, to find out my beloved Mets were keeping themselves in it, to hear the Braves lost, to know there was still a chance. Plus, I didn't want to get too wet.

So I got to the car, fumbled around with the key and finally opened the door. I sat down and immediately flipped on the car. I flipped on the lights so I could see and turned on 660. Eddie Coleman just coming back on.

I was still positive the Mets had won. The rain wasn't anything but bad luck to me, it didn't actually mean anything. Eddie starts to speak. First, he tells me this...
The New York Mets designated right-hander Scott Erickson for assignment on Wednesday, and recalled left-hander Pedro Feliciano from Triple-A Norfolk.
This was going to the best 10 minute car ride ever! Of course, between this and rain, I should have seen it coming, the signs, but I didn't.

And then it continued...
Spencer was suspended without pay by the Mets on Wednesday, one day after he was arrested by the Florida Highway Patrol and charged with driving under the influence.
Quickly taking care of what could have been a bad situation. Go front office!

More good news. I was estastic. Now, Eddie, all you do is tell me my beloved Mets won like you have been wanting to tell me for 2 minutes now and its all good.

The rain... now Scott Erickson's DFA, Spencer's suspension... it didn't click in my head. I didn't think they were signs of what I should expect... I thought they were just more good news in a day that was ready to be filled with more good news.

So, I'm stopped at a red light at this point, waiting for Eddie to get to my favorite part. The part where he tells me the Mets beat up on the Expos.

One problem. They lost 7-4. I was stunned. It took me a few seconds to realize the light had turned green. I snapped back into it, started driving and said to myself... "It's OK, you were just a fool for hoping anyway." I would have been OK right then, understanding the foolishness of the whole night, taking the good news with the bad news. But I still didn't see the signs. The rain pouring down, the lightning now coming, the build up from the highest peak of good news to the lower peaks of bad news.

I was blindsided. I can't repeat what I yelled here as I'm driving somewhere between 25-30 MPH through my neighborhood. How serious is it? Who knows with Reyes, but then I got this nugget...
But after testing the ankle, he opted to stay in the game.

Reyes came to the plate with one out and Vance Wilson on second base in the fifth. After fouling a pitch off his right foot, he lined a Tony Armas pitch off the wall in right field, scoring Wilson. But as he broke out of the box, he was clearly hobbled and limped to first base.

Howe didn't even wait for Lawrenson to reach Reyes this time, sending David Wright in to pinch-run.
It all made sense. The rain, the lightning, the great news coming first...

They were all signs. And I guess, just like my hope in this team, I was too foolish to see them.

Matt has been following David Wright's game charts since his season debut. Here is last night's. He has mighty good plate discipline. And don't worry about the average, hits, walks and such... it will come.

This is funny.

I've been meaning to getting around to adding Batgirl to the sidebar, but you know me and the lazy ways I have with the good 'ol sidebar. Anyway, go read her stuff now. It's amazing.

I think everything is a little calmer today, 2 days from the debacle and having a nice win last night. There is still hope for this team... not much, maybe even fool's hope, but its there.

If you'd like to discuss what the Mets should do at the deadline, help beat the 37 comment thread yesterday at Avkash's blog with his new discussion thread today.

Speaking of the trade deadline, there is this article on the Mets shopping Cliff Floyd. Last night, Matt wrote an article on Cliff Floyd and why the Mets should keep him, for now. I agree completely with Matt's sentiments, so there is no point wasting space saying the same thing. Read his.

One thing that did catch my eye was this part from the above article...
The Mets also have coveted A's reliever Chad Bradford, having offered Jason Phillips, though the catcher - in a prolonged slump - had failed to impress Oakland GM Billy Beane, despite Phillips' quality work handling pitchers.
If I'm not mistaken, Bradford will be a free agent. That would be an awesome deal, if they did that stright up or if they even threw in a low level prospect.

Finally, Matt reports on what Gary Cohen said last night during the Mets radio telecast. I agree with Matt. Heilman now... it would be too fast and too much pressure on Kazmir to try it now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004
There goes his trade value.

Not only on the DL, but DUI. And the Pizza indicent...

So... what now? Last night's 19-10 debacle came hard and fast. And to be perfectly honest... was it not expected? Did you ever really trust Scott Erickson? I sure as hell didn't...

But I fell in, on hope that things might break right. And to be perfectly honest, even as the Mets entered the bottom of the third up 3-1, I have no faith in a win last night. Scott Erickson either couldn't find the plate or he found all of it. And he got shelled in the third.

So that leaves us with the question above... What now?

Buying is done. Kris Benson isn't coming, whether or not you see it as a helpful move for the future. Even if you still wanted to do it, you can't sell to the fans Wiggy and Peterson for any player at this point. Plus, you should just keep Peterson and sign a pitcher in the offseason if you want one for next year.

Selling is a tough move. Who would you like to sell? Stanton? Hah. Leiter? I doubt it can be done. Glavine? Who wants that frickin' contract.

The only player who can be sold with any value is Richard Hidalgo. And I personally want to keep him around and give him a 2 year contract with an option for a third year. You could maybe shuffle off Bottalico for a few fringy prospects... maybe.

And don't expect massive DFAs, releases and the like. Franco ain't going anywhere. It's possible McEwing could be gone, but I think he's the only one that has a chance to go from the list of players we would like to see gone.

Hell, Scott Erickson might not be gone. But he should. For Heilman. Perfect timing. First couple of starts on the road, away from Shea, while he's been pitching hot and Rick Peterson at his side. You could take the shot that his confidence will be shot forever, but at some point, that shot has to be taken. And I think now is the time.

The reactions among Met fandom that I've seen around the 'net are a little extreme, holding on to a few of the young ones and wanting to sell everyone else off. Last night was one game and while it proved the point we all needed to see (the Mets are not for real in the division), it doesn't mean this team, with a few changes, couldn't compete for a legitimate division title next year while still thinking forward for the future. The timetable doesn't have to be 2006 or 2007 as some people put it. It just has to be done right.

So now I ask you... what now? The comments are open and available to talk of any angles you would like to take.

Oh and finally, I would like to thank the 2004 Mets. It might not have been meaningful games in September, but there were meaningful games and more than we ever expected...

Monday, July 26, 2004
After yesterday's loss, I'm really not quite sure what to think. Buy? Stand Pat? Sell? I'm still for the Kris Benson deal, even with the Mets 5 games out, but I'm one of the rare few who sees this as a move slightly for this year, but mostly still for the future. But should the Mets give up Wigginton and Peterson, in a season that seems destined to be lost because of a terrible bullpen? I still say yes, but its getting tougher with every Mike Stanton appearance...

Or maybe they should sell? I'm not for selling Leiter/Glavine/Piazza and that type stuff, but what about Cliff Floyd? Some contender would take his bat and if the Mets were to eat maybe half of his salary next year, they could get a decent return (considering Walker, Bautista and Finley are the only other really good OFs out there). It also opens a spot for Vic Diaz in LF next year, an even easier defensive OF spot than RF.

The only good news out of this weekend for the Mets has been Mike DeJean's impressive performance. I'm feeling good about the prediction.

In roster news, Orber Moreno isn't in Kansas anymore, but he can't get the Kansas City out of him. He's being DLed with a strained right shoulder. The Mets called up Tyler Yates to replace him. I would have preferred Matt Ginter, but a young arm that Howe actually likes is good enough for me.

From the blogosphere, we find a couple of interesting reads...

Kaley has an anti Howe/fire Howe post
. Agreed.

Matt has his own plan for the trade deadline. Mostly disagree.

Scott Erickson goes for the Mets tonight against the Expos, easy games they have to have.

Sunday, July 25, 2004
Saturday July 24th, Braves 5-2 over the Mets

This game started as a game of opposites. The surging Braves and the middling Mets. One looking more like a contender all the time, one looking like a pretender every time the bullpen door opens.

The same could be said for the starting pitchers. You had Al Leiter, deliberate worker and "Houdini" of all pitchers, getting into jams and throwing 200 pitches in one inning. And then there was John Thomson. Hardly walks anyone, doesn't throw that many pitches and can get deep into games.

Well, Al Leiter started off with his usual tricks, going to a full count on every hitter he faced in the first inning. He had a slight jam that inning, with Giles on third after a walk, SB and error on the throw that allowed him to get to third, but he got Chipper to end the inning. Here is the rest of that chart...

Al Leiter's Jams by Inning
2nd: Franco on 2nd with one out- Estrada singles down the 1B line, Franco scores, Estrada gunned out at 2nd by Hiladgo. One run scores.
3rd: Thomson on second and Giles on 1st with one out- Drew singles to load bases, Chipper GO to Wright 5-2, Franco GO 5-4 to end inning. No runs score.
4th: Jones on 2nd with no outs- Estrada GO 6-3, Marrero K, Thomson K. No runs score.
5th: Drew on 1st, 2 outs- Chipper walks, Franco GO 5-3

As you can see, Leiter faced mini jams or real jams every inning. And yes, that's right, he only went 5 innings. And threw 117 pitches. He threw 59 balls and 58 strikes. How is that possible? Here is another chart I kept during the game...

"Al Leiter Gives me a Heart Attack" Chart
Total Batters Faced: 23
3 ball counts: 15
5+ pitch ABs: 12
Full counts: 11

That's right... he almost took 50% of the batters he faced to full counts. And yet he lowered his ERA down to 2.22.

As for Thomson, well, he threw 7 innings and 101 pitches. But, for him, it was a story of really having to work every other inning. The first missed chance for the Mets came in the first, when they loaded the bases for Richard Hidalgo. Hidalgo promptly grounded into a 5-2-3 DP and Wigginton then popped out to 2nd and third to end the inning.

The Mets scored their first run in the third on and RBI single by Hidalgo and a beautiful slide in between Estrada's legs by Matsui to tie the game at 1. Right after that, Wigginton grounds into a 6-4-3 DP with runners on first and second to end the inning.

The Mets then played some "small ball" in the fifth as Reyes bunted himself on and stole second. Matsui then hit the ball to the right side, gaining a productive out and moving Reyes to third. That was pretty much for naught, as Floyd doubled down the 1B line, but I guess the productive out will keep Buster Olney happy. After the run scored, Floyd was on 2nd with one out, Hildago GO 6-3 and Wigginton GO 5 as Floyd was tagged out by Chipper going to third.

If you are noticing something, the chances are coming every other inning. That's because the bottom of the lineup (Cameron/Wright/Wilson) went 2/12 with a single both by Wilson and Wright.

(Quick aside: I love watching Wright play. He makes three or four plays easily that Ty never plays and I get so excited when he gets hits. And then the takeout slide of Furcal in the 2nd inning when he was closer to J.D. Drew than the second base bag but got away with it. Veteran move by him. The future is great).

You'll also notice a common theme in the unproductiveness. Ty Wiggington. Here is the Ty Wigginton trade value chart...

1st AB: Down
2nd AB: Way Down
3rd AB: Flatlining
4th AB: Crashing and Burning

He struck out in his 4th AB in the 8th inning if you are wondering. While that chart is an overstatement, his inability to drive in any runs last night does hurt his trade value some.

With Leiter only going 5, the bullpen doors opened early. And who is first to play our little bullpen game? Mike DeJean. He comes in, Ks two straight batters, leaves a fastball up for a double by Marrero, then gets Thomson to groundout. Since it was an even inning for the Mets offense, nothing happened, so let's go tot he seventh where DeJean is back out there.

He gives up a single to Furcal, but gets 4-6-3 DP from Giles and a Drew 3-1 groundout to end the inning. If DeJean can keep getting the groundballs from the sinker, he could be in good shape (I might be right on this one!).

Moving to the bottom of the 7th, we get a rare Joe McEwing sighting. As a pinch hitter! He somehow singles. The Mets get Joe on 2nd and Floyd on 1st with two outs before Hildago Ks to end the inning.

Of course, during this 7th inning, the broadcast shows the Mets bullpen and who else is warming up but the dynamic duo of... Mike Stanton and Ricky Bottalico. I let out more than a few expletives when I saw them and even more when the Mets didn't score in the inning, feeling that it was their last chance to in a 9 inning game.

So, we start the 8th and Stanton comes in, despite the fact that no lefties were coming up to hit. Even worse, Joe McEwing reaplces Cliff Floyd as a "defensive replacement". What is going on? Did Art Howe hear the rumors that Joe would get cut because he didn't see enough playing time, so now he's forcing him out there?

Anyway, here is a little chart to describe Stanton's outing...

The Stanton Boo Meter
Announced: light, simple boos
Chipper's single: a little bit angry but not loud boos
Franco's double: Anrgy mob type boos and sarcastic clapping
Leaving: Philly booing Santa Claus type boos

Yeah, he faced two batters. On the Meter, it hit about an 8, which is a "classic Stanton outing". Also, was the McEwing bobble in LF not predictable? Was the whole enitre inning not predictable?

Next in is Ricky Bottalico, the man who can't find the plate. He gets a Jones 5-3 GO and then gives Estrada an IBB. It's looking like the Mets could get out of this tied... Bottalico walks Marrero... that's good strategy.

At this point, Howes gets Bottalico out and brings in Looper. Bottalico looks pissed off about coming out, though I would tell him to throw the ball over the plate and maybe you'd stay in the game. Looper is the right move at this point. GB pitcher with 1 out and a DP needed. Plus, he's the best reliever.

So, of course, he gives up a sac fly to LaRoche. It's OK though, if he can get the final out 1 run is doable. Furcal then hits a GB... out of the range of Reyes making is 4-2. Giles tacks on another one to make it 5-2 before the madness ends by getting Drew to groundout.

The 8th is an even inning for the Mets offense, so there is nothing to discuss.

Howe brings in Franco for the top of the ninth, who puts a couple of guys on but get a DP to end the inning. It's nice to see Franco can get it done when it doesn't matter...

As for the 9th, here are the first three batters...

Vance Wilson
Joe McEwing
Jose Reyes

Think that struck fear in Smoltz? Yeah, the fear of how much his teammates would make fun of him if he actually allowed a baserunner. Let's just say I wrote this down in my missed chances chart before the inning even started...

9th: Hell no

So Leiter gives the Mets another good but short start and the Mets dynamic R/L duo in the bullpen blows it and hands it to Looper in an unenviable situation.

The Mets try not to get swept in the 2 game series today with Trachsel facing former Met Mike Hampton. Let's Go Long Outing from Trachsel!

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