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Friday Afternoon Mets Newsstand

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Tim Marchman examines the bullpen woes that have led the Mets into their current quagmire, tied for the NL East lead. No Met reliever is without fault here; they've all stunk up the joint to varying degrees. Marchman posits three possible explanations for the collapse:

1. The bullpen just isn't very good
2. The relievers are "muscling up", in essence, trying not to fail
3. Rick Peterson's inability to get his pitchers back on track, both mentally and physically

A combination thereof, I'm sure. The Mets' bullpen has been terrible, blowing all manner of lead, great and small. Marchman actually goes so far as to suggest that Peterson may be a candidate for the old heave-ho should the Mets come up short of the postseason. While I'm sure the pitching coach deserves some share of the blame, I'm an habitual imbiber of the Peterson Kool-Aid and would be inclined to keep him around as long as he wants for the simple fact that there isn't anyone better available.

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At The Observer, Howard Megdal looks at this weekend's matchups featuring all of the National League's postseason potentials. Arizona holds a one game lead in the West over the Padres, who in turn hold a one-game Wild Card lead over the Mets, Phillies and Rockies. The tiebreak scenarios are plentiful and complex, but the Mets wrought this hell and now they have to slog through it.

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John Brattain at The Hardball Times breaks down this weekend's crucial series through the prism of the MVP race. He essentially concludes that Prince Fielder will probably win if the Brewers make the playoffs, but otherwise it will come from the NL East winner (either David Wright or Jimmy Rollins). Rollins's candidacy still amuses me, but I guess I just find it hard to cast a vote for a team's third or fourth best player. I'm just funny that way I guess.

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Alex Nelson looks at the pitchers the Mets will try to knock around this weekend over at MetsGeek. It's the last preview of the regular season so soak it in.