The Mets are a mere 3-game CBP sweep away from putting 9 1/2 games between themselves and the Phillies. Said initiative is off to an OK start this evening, as New York leads 4-3 after 3 innings, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado having already homered. Bobby Abreu connected for a solo shot to left field off Tom Glavine in the bottom of the 3rd.

Mucho good vibes in the Sal’s Pals section ; His Fasano-ness (above) just started a 2-6-3 double play after pouncing on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Tom Glavine.

SNY’s Chris Cotter claims that Fasano looks like Carmine Appice. That’s a pretty savvy observation, but the drawback is that I’ll never be able to listen to Vanilla Fudge again without think of Cotter (nor hear Cotter’s voice without thinking of Vanilla Fudge).

On the same day the New York Times’ Murray Chass continued work on the monument commemorating Omar Minaya’s contributions to baseball in Queens, Beerleaguer’s J. Weitzel delivered a scathing indictment of Minaya’s counterpart in Philadelphia, GM Pat Gillick.

Why didn’t Gillick trade for a pitcher like this at the first sign of trouble? The Mets were able to move journeyman reliever Jorge Julio for him. It™s not as if the Phils couldn™t come up with something better.

Did anyone besides the Phillies brain trust expect all the puzzle pieces to fit? After a month, it was clear they would not. Did Gillick really expect Gavin Floyd to pull through? How much did he expect from 36-year-old Jon Lieber, who hasn™t pitched well since spring training and appears better suited to drive a forklift? And how much faith did he have in Ryan Madson to help the team more as a starter than as a reliever?

These are three legitimate questions that fall back on Gillick, who’s watched as several productive, cheap pitchers have passed him by. Today, his only starting pitching acquisition remains Ryan Franklin, who has yet to start a game for the Phillies.

Gillick made the right call in passing on high-priced free agents, like Matt Morris and Jeff Weaver, but several good pitchers have been had for a lot less, from Bronson Arroyo, acquired by the Reds for Wily Mo Pena, to Aaron Sele, signed right off the scrap heap by the Dodgers.

El Duque had struggled with Arizona, but has pitched well since coming over to New York. Stats or no, this is a pitcher that has won in the past, has pitched in the postseason and could have helped them.

Michael Kay declared this evening that “everyone knows” that Cleveland’s Paul Byrd (currently toiling against the Yankees) “is a dead ringer for Kelsey Grammer.”

Not that either comparison is particularly flattering, but if I’m Paul Byrd, I’m much happier with the Chris Benoit references.