Cardinals 3, Mets 0

It sort of figures. After a stretch in which Mets starters and relievers alike have struggled mightily, Thursday saw New York receive a competent, if not downright gutty 7 innings from Pedro Martinez (two earned runs, 8 hits, 8 K’s), followed by two innings of scoreless relief from the much maligned Aaron Heilman and Pedro Felicano.

Of course, all of this took place on the same night St. Louis’ Joel Piniero limited the Mets to 3 hits over 8 shutout innings, with no NY baserunner advancing past 2nd. This is the same Piniero, by the way, who came into tonight’s contest with an ERA of 6.75 over his past 3 games. How’s it feel, Mets fans, knowing that such a historic collapse came not at the hands of pitchers named Smoltz, Maddux, Webb or Zambrano, but via final week defeats to the likes of Piniero and Matt Chico?

When did Miguel Cairo overdose on Brooks Robinson pills?

Given the recent state of the Mets bullpen, it’s hard to quarrel with Willie Randolph sticking with Pedro through 105 pitches. However, I’m gonna do just that. The entire building was well aware Philly got off to a fast lead against the Braves and the playoffs have essentially already begun. Trailing 3-0 in the fifth with two outs and Shawn Green on first, Randolph chose to let Martinez hit for himself, resulting in a 4-3 put out.

It might seem like the height of lunacy to advocate pulling Pedro when he still had a bit left in the tank, but Green was the last Met to reach base all evening. If ever there was a time to roll the dice and let one of the myriad of available hitters take a shot at Piniero, this was it. Randolph’s ballclub could be eliminated by the end of play Saturday — if there wasn’t a sense of urgency tonight, when would it be appropriate?

Tonight’s celebrity sightings : Will Leitch, begging for a kicking resplendent in a Rick Ankiel away jersey. Ronan Tynan wannabe David O’Leary (no relation to the former Leeds manager), and uh, the really annoying cowbell guy that patrols the Shea mezzanine.

While Jose Reyes’ regression to a target of the Queens boo birds is undoubtedly depressing, I’m surprised the MMS has yet to report on the way Lastings Milledge has been buried somewhere underneath the CitiField construction site.

Though I understand that Orel Hershiser is correct if he’s trying to illustrate the contrast between the gloomy vibe at Shea (an announced attendance of 48,000, but at least 15,000 of those fans were disguised as empty seats) and the rockin’ atmosphere at Citizen Bank Park this week, there’s really no such thing as being “out fanbased”.