The Mets got off to a fast start, struggled at times, but still manged to hold a healthy lead over the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. Then the Phillies beat the Mets in 8 straight meetings and the Mets stopped pitching in their other games. The bullpen, once a strength, has become the biggest problem.
After the Mets got swept by the Nationals, they had a match up with the Cardinals last night. The Mets dominated the Central Division this year and hoped to get healthy on the ailing cards. Pedro Martinez took the hill for the Mets and gave them his longest outing this season, 7 innings. But the hot Met bats suddenly went cold and Joel Pineiro shut them down for 8 innings in a 3-0 Cards win.
Meanwhile in the city of brotherly love (boy is that an oxymoron), the Phillies got home runs from Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell to beat John Smoltz and the Braves, 6-4. The Mets and Phillies go into the weekend in a flat footed tie for 1st place.
The Mets open a 3 game series with the woeful Marlins tonight. Here are the pitching match ups:
Byung Kim vs. Oliver PerezThe Mets have a clear advantage in 2 of the 3 games, so you would think the Mets would win 2 of 3 minimum. But with the current state of their bullpen, they might just be lucky to win 1 of 3.
Chris Seddon vs. John Maine
Dontrelle Willis vs. Tom Glavine
The Phillies host the pesky Washington Nationals for 3 games. The (g)Nats helped the Phillies out earlier this week with a 3 game sweep of the Mets. Here are the pitching match ups:
Tim Redding vs. Cole HammelsThe Phillies have a big advantage tonight with their ace going, but the next 2 are toss-ups. Kyle Lohse will replace Adam Eaton earlier if Eaton falters.
Matt Chico vs. Adam Eaton
Jason Bergmann vs. Jamie Moyer
We picked the Phillies to win the NL East prior to the season and even in August, we still felt we had made a stupid pick. People like Guillermo Mota are starting to make us look real smart.
Milwaukee sprinted out early while the Cubbies were busy fighting each other. When the Brewers started to falter, the Cubs, and the Cardinals started to reel them in. While the Cards faded, as expected, the Cubs kept firing on all cylinders. Now its the Brewers doing the chasing and it doesn't look good. The Cubs lead by 2 games with just 3 to play. The Cubs got swept by the Marlins, but the Brewers couldn't cut their lead.
The Brew Crew's biggest problem. They started a 4 game series with the San Diego Padres last night. The Pads took the opener 9-5. Meanwhile the Cubs go on the road to face a bad Reds ball club, that just got worse with the loss of Adam Dunn to knee surgery.
Here are the pitching match ups for the 2 series:
Cubs vs. RedsConclusion- the Cubs should have no problem wrapping up the division title. Nice year Brewers.
Carlos Zambrano vs. Bronson Arroyo
Rich Hill vs. Aaron Harang
Ted Lilly vs. Homer Bailey
Padres vs. Brewers
Greg Maddux vs. Chris Capuano
Chris Young vs. David Bush
Brett Tomko vs. Jeff Suppan
NL West and Wild Card
We've already talked about the Padres series up above, so we'll focus on the division leading Arizona Diamondbacks. We never saw this coming. We know its a weak division, but the DBacks and their ugly new uni's? They have a 1 game lead over the Pads, thanks in part to an amazing 24-9 mark against the NL East.
Arizona goes on the road for a 3 game series with the hot Colorado Rockies. The Rockies looked like they were dead in the water, but they suddenly find themselves tied with the Mets and Phillies, 1 game behind the Padres for the Wild Card lead.
Here are the series pitching probables:
Brandon Webb vs. Jeff FrancisWhat a great pitching match for tonight's opener. After that you have to give the edge to the Dbacks- decidedly on Saturday, and just barely on Sunday.
Edgar Gonzalez vs. Mark Redman
Doug Davis vs. Ubaldo Jiminez
The DBacks should take 2 of 3, and since the Pads should do the same this weekend, we see the DBacks hanging on for the division and the Pads taking the Wild Card. Which means either the Phils or Mets, and the Rockies are SOL.