…but close enough.

Endy Chavez, described last night as “one of baseball’s best 4th outfielders” is headed for the DL after pulling a hamstring whilst grounding into a 7th inning ending DP last night. Not since the days of Bobby Valentine asking Stupor Joe McEwing to lead off, hit clean up, throw short relief and sell popcorn have the New York Mets looked so brutally shorthanded.

Other than a squandered performance by El Duque (6 IP, 3 hits, no runs) and a solo HR from the returning Carlos Beltran off Adam Eaton, there’s little positive to take away from last night’s 4-2 defeat to the Phillies. Aaron Heilman’s struggles continued with a 3 run HR to right field served up to Shea’s favorite visiting player, Jimmy Rollins. “Redemption for J-Ro!” was Eric Young’s cogent analysis on “Baseball Tonight”, and clearly it is just a matter of time before he’s allowed to do the entire program solo.

I’m not sure when Carlos D. will attempt to run on the Flying Hawaiian again, but he might wanna get a slightly better jump next time. Philly’s Shane Victorino is leading all NL outfielders in assists and while Delgado won’t be confused with Carl Lewis any time soon, Victorino made a tremendous throw from deep right to nail the Mets first baseman.

With New York traling 3-2 in the last of the 7th and none out, Julio Franco’s miserable 2007 campaign took a turn for the worse as he failed to advance Ruben Gotay or David Newhan from 3rd and 2nd — Ryan Howard made a nice stab of Franco’s grounder driving to his left.

It would be simplistic, if not downright incorrect to lay much blame for the Mets’ first 3 game losing streak of the season (possibly increasing to 4 with Cole Hamels taking the hill tonight) at the feat of the 8 thousand year old Franco. Though barring a recovery even more surprising than what Jose Valentine managed a year ago, it is becoming harder and harder to see just what business he has claiming the 25th roster spot.

Jason at Faith & Fear In Flushing surveys the mini-skid and ends up feeling nostalgic for those halycon days of….2006?

We’re a very good baseball team scuffling through injuries and a cold offensive stretch, and what we’re doing or not doing in early June most likely will have nothing to do with whatever happens in September or later months, should we be allowed to partake of extra baseball. I don’t think tonight’s game — a heartstopping, marvelous and ultimately horrifying game — was any kind of referendum on 2007. But it did bring something into focus for me, and that’s the difference between 2007 and 2006.

In 2006, Heilman giving up a three-run laser to Rollins would have just upped the drama. In 2006, with the equivalents of Ruben Gotay and David Newhan (Xavier Nady and Michael Tucker?) on base and Endy up, you knew there’d be a clean single up the middle, a play at the plate that just went the Mets’ way, then maybe a shredding of the hapless Phillies bullpen on the way to talk about resilience and picking each other up. You just knew it, to the point that sometimes you even shook your head at the blissful cheesiness of the script, of walkoff after walkoff and comeback win after comeback win, so that if the scoreboard showed you were within two in late innings, you almost felt sorry for the other guys.

Metsradamus, in typical fashion, walks the tightrope between a sage’s perspective and outright panic.

If this game had happened in September, it would have been devastating. Terry Pendelton like, even. That game had Ron Darling’s injury (the same Ron Darling who was in Shea Stadium’s version of the penalty box announcing the game tonight…was that his Anaheim Ducks homage?), this had Endy’s injury. That game had Pendleton’s blast, this game had Jimmy Rollins’ three run HR off Heilman. The only thing that game had that this one didn’t, thankfully, was the month of September. But think of the life that the Mets just gave the Phillies tonight…you thought Jimmy Rollins was confident coming into the season? His confidence is sky high right now…do we really want that? And now, if we didn’t have enough Cole Hamels Facts, here’s another one: The Mets have to beat him on Thursday just to save themselves from a sweep. They can’t hit Geoff Geary or Adam Eaton right now (Adam Eaton, for crying out loud…Adam Eaton!!!) We’re really expecting them to beat Cole Hamels?