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We've Got to Stop Mondays Like This

Avoid Monday afternoons with or in Pittsburgh and the record shows we'll never lose another game — at least not another irritating game larded with baserunners stranded and bullpen imploded.

Oh right, can't win 'em all. Sorry. I'd gotten used to the contrary over the preceding six days.

If I can gloss over the tired bat (Delgado's) and alarming arm (Sanchez's) that did us in [1] in the eighth, it was a very good trip. Of course it's supposed to be fun in the sun when your itinerary includes the Nationals and the Pirates and nobody else. To our way of thinking as fans of a contending entity, we have no business losing to lousy teams, and bend over backwards as I might so as not to stir the sensitive gods of competitive fires, the Nationals and Pirates are plainly undistinguished.

May the Nats redistinguish themselves this week against the Phillies. And may the Braves, whose record is the same as the Bucs', forget they were ever our archrivals. It's tough to make reads from the schedule, but we and Philly have almost the same slate the rest of the way. We each have to deal with the Brewers (them four home, us three away); we each have to brace for the Cubs (them four at Wrigley, us four at Shea); they host four with the Dodgers who just swept them as we welcome the Astros — who just swept us — for four. The rest is divisional opponents and each other. The Marlins are still around, but one overriding concern at a time.

Last September we had, on paper, a favorable stretch drive. The last two weeks loomed as the lousy Nationals, the lousy Marlins, the lousy Nationals, a makeup against the lousy Cardinals, the lousy Marlins. We know how that worked out. I wouldn't make any automatically optimistic presumptions regarding the six we have left with Washington or — can't believe I'm saying this — the nine we have left with Atlanta. That said, you want to believe those are eminently winnable games. The other 22 remaining contests are against teams with winning records, 18 against clubs in certain contention as we speak. But ya gotta play with the big boys now if ya wanna play with the big boys later. It occurs to me this season's hopefulness has been built on the carcasses of the National League dregs, namely the six before the break against the horrible Giants and Rockies and the six before today against the pathetic Nationals and Pirates. Subtract that 12-0 from the overall ledger and the Mets are 56-57.

But why would you subtract them? You play who you play and you beat who you beat and you hope you don't lose too many otherwise. If you're going to cherrypick results, you can't overlook nine of thirteen won versus Philly…nor can you get out of your craw the four-game sweep in San Diego, to say nothing of that stunningly awful afternoon [2] against Arizona in mid-June — nor the sorry results of this Monday and last [3].

This is all one long stream of schedule consciousness that leads to a river of uncertainty as regards what happens next. I kind of wish I knew. I'm kind of glad I don't. The season contains not quite six more weeks. We are leasing a lead of 1½ over Philly, 4 over the Marlins. I'll take knowing that much.