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Last night was something like a perfect baseball night. The Mets won in dramatic, walk-off fashion. The Yankees lost in somewhat dramatic fashion as well, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the 8th only to give up two runs in the bottom of the 8th. The Red Sox also won, regaining posession of first place in the AL East. Of course, the Nationals, Phillies, and Marlins also won, but for the most part everything went my way.

Aside from the great pitching and the incredible ending, there were also several terrific defensive plays. The Cairo-Reyes-Mientkiewicz double-play where Cairo flipped the ball right from his glove to Reyes covering second was particularly sweet, with that flip just in time to nail Khalil Green at second.

There was also this play by Dave Roberts:

I just really like that photo. The angle and the timing of it make it appear as if Roberts is actually part of the car ad.

Kris Benson pitched well again, and now has 17 strikeouts in his last 21 innings pitched. Prior to his past three starts he was hardly striking anybody out, but now he seems to have gotten back into that groove. He has never been a relly high strikeout guy, but he should at least be able to whiff 6-7 guys every nine innings.

The big news of the day was David Wright batting fifth and Mike Piazza being dropped to the six-hole. This move was a long time coming, but Piazza deserved some time while his swan song played in the background. His monstrous three-run homerun last week notwithstanding, Piazza is nowhere near the force in the middle of the lineup that he was during the Mets resurgence from 1999-2001. Wright and Piazza both had good nights at the plate, picking up two hits apiece.

? According to an article in the Star Telegram, there is a good chance that Alfonso Soriano might be dealt before the trade deadline, and the Mets are one of his possible destinations. As always, the Rangers are looking for pitching help, and we all know the Mets could use some more pop at second base.

Mets -- Miguel Cairo is steady but lacks power. Kaz Matsui has been a huge disappointment. The Mets need more offense, and could spare pitching, an outfielder or catcher/DH Mike Piazza.

You're damn right we could spare Mike Piazza! Soriano is an average defensive second-baseman and he draws walks almost as infrequently as Jose Reyes, but he is a legitimate power/speed threat and remains one of the best offensive second-baseman in the game. I wouldn't trade Yusmeiro Petit for him, but a package around Norfolk's Brian Bannister wouldn't be out of the question.

? Last year's first round pick (#3 overall) Philip Humber underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday and will be out for a year, give or take. The elbow surgery, performed by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, has a very high success rate. Pitchers such as Mariano Rivera, John Smoltz and Eric Gagne have all had the surgery and have come back 100% and then some.

Amazin' Avenue Daily Web links
- Dazed and Confused (Jeremy Heit)
- The Big Three (Michael Oliver)
- The Hardball Times: Clutch Masters (Dave Studeman)
- The Hardball Times: Raffy and the Hall (Aaron Gleeman)
- The Hardball Times: The PrOPS-Star Team (JC Bradbury)
- Game Highlights (07.19.2005)