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Thursday Notes

With last night's loss to the A's the Mets have fallen below the .500 mark for the second time since May 3rd (they were 23-24 on May 25th). At the time the Mets had a record of 13-14, and for the last six weeks they have played even ball, leaving their record at 32-33 today.

Bullpen mismanagement has been an issue for Willie Randolph throughout his rookie coaching season, and it was a problem again last night. Give Willie credit for bringing in lefty Royce Ring in the bottom of the eighth to face the left-hand batting Eric Chavez. Ring made Chavez look foolish in striking him out on four pitches.

Willie pressed his luck by leaving Ring in to face the right-handed pinch hitter Bobby Kielty to lead off the ninth. Ring would walk Kielty on a full count and Kielty would eventually score the winning run on Marco Scutaro's game-winning single. Who knows if a righty would have gotten Kielty out, but Kielty has excelled against lefties throughout his career, so this was no time to go against the "book".

The lone bright spot for the Mets was the continued evolvement of Victor Zambrano into a credible Major League pitcher. Zambrano held the A's to five hits and only two walks over 7.2 innings. He only struck out one batter, a feat equalled by Ring on the only out he recorded.

As encouraging as Zambrano has been, Carlos Beltran has been equally discouraging. He is seemingly devolving before our very eyes, regressing into a league-average player.

My only guess is that his quad injury is bothering him more than he lets on, because he really looks lost out there of late, and it's really depressing to watch. With his 0-4 last night, Beltran is now hitting .279/.335/.437, which is basically unacceptable given his massive talent and his equally massive contract. If he is really that hurt, the Mets are doing him and the fans a disservice by continuing to run him out there to embarrass himself. He should be put on the shelf until he is at 100%. If the Mets are worried about the fan backlash of such a move, I can assure them that almost every fan would happily go a month without Beltran than continue to watch him crash and burn as he has been for the rest of the season.

Amazin' Avenue Daily Web Links
- News and Notes: The West Coast Swing Edition (Jeremy Heit)
- What We've Got Here Is A Failure To Communicate (Michael Oliver)
- Win Probability Glance: 6-15-05 (Matt Gelb)
- Interview: Russ Bove, Mets' Director of Amateur Scouting