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Winning Streak Applesauce - Mets Sign Urbina, Royals Ban Rany, Joey Chestnut vs. Kobayashi

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Down 5-0 against a pretty darn good pitcher in Paul Maholm, the Mets came back to win in extra innings (but not without some Frankie drama mixed in).  For the umpteenth time, can everyone stop saying this team lacks leadership/edge/grission?  I'm looking at you John Franco.

Meet the Mets

With the Phillies loss to the Braves last night, the Mets are just 1 game out of first place.  Pitching matchups for the weekend are set:

Friday, July 3: Livan Hernandez vs. Rodrigo Lopez (making his first start since 2007)

Saturday, July 4: Fernando Nieve vs. Jamie Moyer

Sunday, July 5: Johan Santana vs. Joe Blanton

Check out Mets Geek for a preview.  Lopez/Moyer/Blanton + Citizens Bank Park = No excuses not to hit some home runs.  Tim McCarver and Kenny Albert will announce tomorrow's game on Fox.  Hopefully everyone will be outside and as far away from a television as possible.  Listen to Howie on the radio.

The international player signing period has begun and the Mets acted quickly by signing LHP Juan Urbina.  Baseball America ranked him as the #8 international prospect.  Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, whom Buster Olney calls the "lefthanded Stephen Strasburg", defected while in the Netherlands.

Gordon Edes at Yahoo! is foolishly bearish on the Mets and their farm system, claiming that they "don’t have much to offer in a deal".  Also, Ken Davidoff at Newsday lists the major trade deadline deals over the last few years.

Faith and Fear reminisces about the Roger McDowell and Lenny Dykstra for Juan Samuel trade from 20 years ago.

The Mets stayed in the same hotel in Pittsburgh that was hosting "Anthrocon 2009", a convention for people who like to dress in animal costumes.  Weird.  Reminds me of that bizarre scene at the end of "The Shining".  That always freaked me out.

Around the NL East

Javier Vazquez had yet another FIP-fest (5.1 IP, 5 K, 0 BB) and the Braves scored 3 times in the 8th to beat the Phillies 5-2.

Fire Jim Bowden is not happy about Elijah Dukes's demotion.

The Marlins signed Minnesota castoff Luis Ayala.  Enjoy him Fish fans, just don't let him face Greg Norton.

The Fightins' wonders what's wrong with Ryan Madson.  I have a possible answer that isn't mentioned - maybe it's unsustainable for the guy to maintain a ~4 K/BB and 0 HR/FB%, as he had through June 14th?

This is one TV show I will not be watching.

Around MLB

Blogger and Baseball Prospectus co-founder Rany Jazayerli was "banned" by the Royals after publishing some critical words about the organization.  The Royals later backed off some of their threats.  

Beyond the Boxscore adds some objectivity to the interleague attendance discussion.

Jim Leyritz: douchelord.

R.J. Anderson at DraysBay bids adieu to Winston Abreu.

DodgerSims celebrates Christmas in July, with the return of Manny Ramirez.

Mike Silva continues the "Should Joba be in the bullpen?" discussion for some reason, which is only a discussion for the Beningos and Francescas of the world.

Colin Wyers at THT looks at the reliability of UZR.  A couple takeaways:

  • Defensive metrics are less reliable than offensive metrics.
  • An infielder's UZR is more reliable than an outfielder's UZR.

Joey Chestnut is a slight favorite over Kobayashi in the July 4th Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest.  Anyone going?