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Oh Come On Now: Braves 7, Mets 6

This was a game the Mets could've and should've won, but they didn't win it, and now they're as far back in the NL East -- 1.5 games -- as they are up in the Wild Card race. The Mets have seven games left, and they could just as easily win the NL East outright as they could miss out on the playoffs altogether.

Wow, was this one a stinker. The Mets collected eight hits and eight walks, scored six runs but left nine men on base. The offense was actually okay overall. They didn't take advantage of a number of chances to build on their early 4-2 lead, but they carried that lead into the seventh and a 4-3 lead into the eighth, where four Mets relievers conspired to allow four runs on four hits and two walks. Jerry Manuel gets an assist for leaving Scott Schoeneweis in to face right-handed Omar Infante, who doubled and scored the first run of the inning.

And.. uhh.. Aaron Heilman, jeez, what can we do? I'm starting to feel bad for the guy, but the sad fact is that he simply can't be counted on to do anything positive for this team right now. Sure, on the whole the bullpen is a morass of ineptitude, but Heilman is the bog monster that keeps them entrenched in the muck. I still support him because he's a good guy, he's homegrown, and he has a history of being a very good reliever for the Mets. Right now, though, it's hard to find anything good to say about him. I don't know if he's injured or just having a miserable year, but he's death on this team every time he goes out there.

I was more than a little surprised to see Damion Easley pinch-hitting for Ryan Church in the ninth. Church has been pretty useless at the plate recently, but Easley can't even run straight at full speed. I've gotta think that Church is a better option at this point, even given his struggles and the lefty-lefty matchup (though he has hit a respectable .273/.330/.424 against lefties this year). Carlos Delgado's two-run homer earlier that inning made things interesting, but Easley surprised nobody by striking out to end the game.

The Phillies' and Brewers' victories cost the Mets a game in each playoff race, but they're still in pretty good shape for the Wild Card if they can cobble together three or four wins this week. Of course, if the Wild Card winner comes out of the NL East it gets a first-round matchup with the Cubs, and can count on seeing Carlos Zambrano or Rich Harden at least three or four times in a five-game series.

Ah well, onward and upward. Those aforementioned Cubbies roll into Shea for four games beginning Monday. Chicago has already clinched the NL Central crown, and manager Lou Piniella has said that his starters won't go more than five innings apiece (except perhaps for Monday's starter Jason Marquis), and we may see a mish-mash of starters and September callups throughout the series. The Mets need to cash in on any advantage they can, so if the Cubs want to take it easy this week they'll get no complaints from me.

Big winners: David Wright, +21.4% WPA, Carlos Delgado, +19.0% WPA
Big losers: Scott Schoeneweis, -34.0% WPA, Joe Smith, -24.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wright homerun, +17.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Francoeur triple, -24.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -49.5%
Total batter WPA: -0.5%
GWRBI: Martin Prado

Game Thread Roll Call

Nice job by LOUtheMETSfan; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.

Name # of Posts
LOUtheMETSfan 127
BobbyV_Incognito 106
itsmetsforme 69
Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright 64
Omar21 32
pingel 27
gogomets 22
JoshNY 15
anonymous 10
mmxii 6
MetsfaninVA 5
goth brooks 1
kingcritical 1
Simons 1