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David Brown

Morning Juice: Mets get jump on Shea with their own collapse

David Brown
Big League Stew

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This and every weekday a.m., let's rise and shine together — quickly, now — while Shea Stadium still can stand what is happening, again, to the New York Mets. Today's Roll Call starts in Queens, where the Mets are becoming the Kings of Collapse. The latest royal mess-up comes with the help of the NL Central champ Chicago Cubs, who don't really have much to play for right now, and it shows, for how loose they appear in the face of danger. The Mets? Not so much.

Game of the Day: Cubs 9, Mets 6 (10 inn.)

Squanderers: They squandered an early grand slam by Carlos Delgado. They squandered a first-and-third, nobody-out in the seventh. They squandered a big inning in the eighth when a single, double, two walks and a stolen base produced one run. They squandered some more in the ninth after a leadoff triple and loading the bases led nowhere. They squandered another lead in the standings after promising it wouldn't happen again. You know what that makes the Mets? (Squanderers.)

Philosophers: The Mets won't even try to deny what's going on. "That's bad. That's bad. That's bad," Jerry Manuel said about the ninth inning failure. "This is not what we scripted," Delgado said about his team's recent play. David Wright said , "It's , as everybody knows, a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately town, and lately we haven't gotten the job done. So there's a lot of frustration. There's frustration with the fans, there's frustration in the stands, there's frustration in the dugout."

Crooners: A recording of Frank Sinatra singing "There Used To Be a Ballpark (Right Here" ought to be on a loop and blasting over Shea's sound system. There also used to be a playoff team right here, until the Mets started to chip away at their own foundation.

Now, the children try to find it

And they can't believe their eyes

'Cause the old team just isn't playing

And the new team hardly tries.

The Mets are trying, probably too hard, but whatever their intent, their inactions are leading them down the same path in '07 that took them from seven games up on the Phillies with 17 to play to sitting out the playoffs.

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Feelin' Rundown (results from around the majors, chewed up to ease digestion):

Brewers 4, Pirates 2: Add a Mets defeat, and the Motley Crew is back at even Steven for the NL Wild Card lead. CC fans 11, saying he could go "175" pitches if asked. If you don't like CC, you don't like people. ... The Pirates are on pace to be eliminated for playoff contention in the '09 season by this Friday.

Braves 10, Phillies 4: "It wouldn't be the Philly way," shortstop Jimmy Rollins says. "No matter what sport, we don't make it easy." ... Brett Myers, this is no time to implode.

Twins 3, White Sox 2: Harrelson at it again on the TV broadcast, despondent and ready to forfeit the series in the middle of the fourth inning when Griffey Jr. hits a home run to get the White Sox close and get the Hawk all excited. Talk about a bipolar booth. ... For all the ripping of the Griffter that Morning Juice has done lately, the Sox would have scored exactly zero runs so far in this series without him. The concept of an open space in center as an alternative to The Kid The Skid still beckons me, however ... Win tonight and the Twins take a half-game lead in the AL Central and make everyone forget about those two mega roadtrips when Ron Gardenhire earned enough hotel points for a year-long trip to Belize.

Cardinals 4, D-backs 2: Like a mad scientist, La Russa's always searching for the unconventional winning formula they all laughed at him for. Pujols, Ludwick and Glaus — you guys go to the bench. Josh Phelps, Felipe Lopez, Nick Stavinoha — lead us to victory. Done and done. D-backs, almost done.

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Dodgers 12, Padres 4: Jeff Kent and Rafael Furcal each make a return from injury by pinch hitting, but should have been asked to leave because Blake DeWitt and Angel Berroa got this. The next Dodgers victory (or 'Zona loss) will clinch the NL West. The next Dodgers playoff victory will be their second since winning the '88 World Series. Lasorda's gotta be starvin'.

Red Sox 5, Indians 4: Just so you college kids think twice about using a hangover as an excuse for poor academic performance, the Red Sox pop playoff bubbly, come out the next day and still get the job done. You want to be professionals like them? Start acting like them. Learn how to hold your booze.

Rays 11, Orioles 6: Using a relentless fastbreak, the Rays respond with an 11-0 game-ending run to put away the Bullets Wizards O's and, almost, the AL East. Champagne tastes better in Detroit, anyway.

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 2 (10 inn.): Abreu's slam in extras allows the Yankees to keep making a great runner-up push. You know, if the Rays or Red Sox or Angels or [INSERT AL CENTRAL CHAMPION] cannot fulfill the their playoff duties, it's up to the Bronx Bummers to step in. On a side note, Johnny Damon was voted Mr. Congeniality.

Royals 10, Tigers 4: Mitch Maier hits a bases-clearing triple in a seven-run fifth, then charms the Comerica faithful with an impromptu folk concert. "I've Been Working on the Railroad" plays well in Motown, but "Yankee Doodle" predictably draws boos.

Marlins 9, Nationals 4: Three hits for rookie Gaby Sanchez and, with that first name, he probably won't shut up about it.

Astros 5, Reds 0: Berkman hits his 29th. While it's true that Bud Selig conjured the hurricane that squashed Houston's playoff push, the 'Stros put themselves in the eye of the race without a monster second half from Lance, who came into Wednesday batting .260./.390/.436 since the break.

Rockies 15, Giants 6: Clint Barmes has a magical night (lots of 4s) and it has nothing to do with a package of venison he receives from Todd Helton.

Rangers 14, Athletics 4: Nolan Ryan gives votes of confidence to Jon Daniels and Ron Washington and then gives them noogies just to remind them not to mess with a Texas cowboy (spit).

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Photo of the Day: Missing the sign

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A possible metaphor for the Brewers season, a fan's sign starts out strongly ("CC you"— cleverly referencing ace left-hander CC Sabathia) but ends in head-scratching disaster when it tries to squeeze the "O" in "October" out of the Brewers' iconic "MB"-as-baseball-glove logo. There's no such word as Mbctober, cheeseheads! Fail!

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Words of Mouth

"Awesome! That a way, Rammie!" — Brewers manager Dale Sveum, who was watching the Cubs game on TV in his office, after Aramis Ramirez hit a home run to put away the Mets.

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Fantasy Freaks

Michael Young (Rangers) 4-4, 2 R, 2 RBI

Brian Bannister (Royals) 6 IP, 7 H, BB, 4 K, Win

A.J. Burnett (Jays) 8 IP, 7 H, ER, 2 BB, 11 K

Randy Wolf ('Stros) 6 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Win

CC (Brewers) 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 2 BB, 11 K, Win

Mark Teixeira (Angels) 4-5, HR

Clint Barmes (Rockies) 4-5, 4 R, HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB

Delgado (Mess) 2-4, 2 R, HR, 4 RBI

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Fantasy Flakes

Nate Robertson (Tigers) 4 2/3 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, Loss

Ryan Church (Mets) 0-5, 2 K, 4 LOB

Carlos Zambrano (Cubs) 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K

Ichiro (M's) 0-5, K

Jonathan Sanchez (Giants) 3 1/2 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, BB, 3 K

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