Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bearish Bullpen Still Weak Link for Mets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Bearish Bullpen Still Weak Link for Mets

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- Even after making an error that cost him a run, Dillon Gee had given his team a chance Monday afternoon at Citi Field.

The Mets' bats had been good enough, too. Scott Hairston and Lucas Duda each sent mammoth home runs hurtling through the cool, misty June air. They had given their team a chance to win.

The bullpen, however, had not. And that's the biggest reason the Mets aren't leading the NL East at this moment.

Jon Rauch had another late-game implosion, giving up a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to Allen Craig, as the Mets fell, 5- 4, to the St. Louis Cardinals.

"If we execute a couple plays we win the baseball game," manager Terry Collins said. "So we've got to play better than we did."

There's still plenty to feel good about for the Mets. They're winners of seven of the last 10 after taking three of four from the Cardinals. They still have a chance to claim first place over the next three days, when they travel to Washington to face the division- leading Nationals. And, perhaps most important, pitcher Johan Santana said he feels "fine" after making history with his surgically repaired shoulder Friday night, throwing 134 pitches in the franchise's first no-hitter.

But the team still is taking the cautious route with their ace, who missed all of last season recovering from shoulder surgery. They'll give Santana two extra days off before his next start, which will come Friday at Yankee Stadium.

"We talked about what is best and they feel that it's better to have an extra day, and I'm fine with it," Santana said. "We haven't [forgotten] that I'm coming back from surgery. And we're trying to get an extra day, here and there. Sometimes they want me to do that, so it's fine for me."

Santana was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Monday, but with the new schedule he'll throw today. Santana said he played catch Sunday and felt no ill effects. …

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