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The Other Bullpen Collapses

Mike SteffanosWednesday, August 20, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Game 126: Mets 7 - Braves 3

Billy Wagner isn't coming back anytime soon. Maybe not at all. Every ninth inning that the Mets manage to hold a lead going into will be an adventure.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have accepted the above facts after having moved through the anger, denial and bargaining stages. It doesn't make me happy, but I don't believe that I'm as fatalistic as many of my fellow Mets fans and most of what I'm reading in the papers.

I guess I look at it this way: last year the Mets were supposed to win, had everything in place (including their closer and a late 7-game lead) to win, but didn't win. The year before, after El Duque went down before the first playoff series, the Mets were supposed to go quietly. Instead, they were within a game of the Series.

Any conventional wisdom was that their starting pitching would let them down in that NLCS. Instead, it was the hitting and bullpen. Baseball can often defy logic. I hope it does again, because my logic keeps dashing down my hopes for October baseball. I can only take it one game at a time now, which for some odd reason I actually find comforting.

For one night it was nice to see the other guy's 'pen give it up. Especially after watching the Mets spend the second through sixth inning making Jo Jo Reyes look like Koufax. In one inning, gloom lifted and the world seemed right again. Scott Schoeneweis even managed to contribute a rare drama-free ninth.

Thirty-six games to go. The cavalry is nowhere to be found. If the Mets do it, they'll have to do it with the guys who are already here. Conventional wisdom says they can't do it. My heart hopes they can. Thirty-six to go.

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About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (4)

That's all we can do is one game at a time, I am just hoping for another hot streak, and maybe they can get up 5 or 6 games on the Phils. Never know.

Hey, we're not out of bullets. Beltran is playing like the great player he sometimes is. Big Pelf has been strong, mostly; and the Kids From Nowhere are keeping the home team on top of the Division. Castro, Wright, Perez; lots of cast members are contributing.

This Mets team is alright with me regardless of what happens next. And I always expect a strong response to hard luck from this team; to steal a phrase, the Phils might have us exactly where we want them.

(If Maine regresses further I might cast a more gloomy appraisal, but that's for another day.)

This is a true test to see who is really a Met fan or not.This is bringing back the Met fan of old, when you sat with fingers crossed, rally hats, ringing cow bells and what not untill the last out of the game. No lead was safe. Every game was a tums game. Those days made us the fans we are today and still a whole lot of praying going on at Shea and Met T.V.s all over the North east and in the Met world.It never was easy being a Met fan and that has not changed one bit. But thats what seperates us from the rest. We are true fans thick and thin. But Lord have mercy, we are mighty thin in the pen. Mike it's time to warm up Mom's arm, we may need her soon.I still feel we are going to pull this off. From the greatest fall to the greatest finish and win it all.We can do this, We can do this, I think I can, I think I can.Cross them fingers and toes, put on those rally hats and ring them cow bells. Lets go Mets. Come on gang. Remermber Tug, " you gotta believe". We can do this, one out at a time, we can do this.

Just as a reminder, Mets signed Al Reyes to a minor league deal. He was the Rays closer last year, and while he's not great, he would certainly be an improvement or a capable addition to the Mets beleaugered bullpen.

The Phillies are the Mets only real contention for the division right now (Marlins are 4.5 back, and something tells me that's too far back). And the Mets have a 9-4 record against the Phillies this year.

I think there are two big differences between the 07 Mets and the 08 Mets. First, Jerry Manuel's the coach and Willie Randolph is long gone. Second, the Mets know they're not crusing to a Division title (like they thought they were in 07) and they know that they need to win clutch games in September. As with GI Joe, knowing is half the battle. They're more aware of their flaws than they were in 07 and have taken steps to correct them. Getting Ayala and Al Reyes for the Pen are a step in the right direction; getting Church back should be, as well. Time will tell if it's enough to get the Mets to the promised land of the postseason.

And once it's playoff time, all bets are off, and it's anyone's game.

Just ask Adam Wainwright about that.

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