The Mets have already knocked out Cubs rookie P Rich Hill, spotting grumpy Tom Glavine to a 7-1 lead through 3 innings tonight at Shea. New York will be hoping that Glavine can hang in there for a looooong time, as the Mets’ pen has been as overworked as Bob Balaban of late. Not nearly as effective, either.

SS Nomar Garciaparra has returned to the Chicago lineup, and credits his swift recovery on pretending the baseball is Bob Ryan’s face.

Kaz Ishii is officially out of the Mets starting rotation, with Jae Seo getting the nod Saturday afternoon. Sunday night’s 8:05 pm tilt features a rare Zambrano/Zambrano matchup, along with a terrifying Pedro Martinez bobblehead giveaway, as sponsored by Gold’s Horseradish. The company proprietor, Mark Gold, was publisher of an unauthorized Mets Fan Club newsletter back in 1962, and the accomplishments of this proto-zinester / blogger of the pre-internet age provide hope for the rest of us. If the second-guessing doesn’t pan out, there’s always horseradish.

(UPDATE : On any other evening, the not-quite-blinding Tom Glavine (above) would’ve been given the hook far earlier than the 9th inning. But with the aformentioned relief corp in dire need of a night off, Glavine continued to toil, even after allowing 4 runs through 4 innings. Mr. Koo, who threw but one pitch on Thurday, recorded a scoreless 9th inning in New York’s 9-4 victory. 14 hits for the Mets, all of ’em singles. 5 stolen bases, 2 of ’em courtesy of Jose Reyes, who boosted his NL leading total to 36.

Chicago’s Kerry Wood had an uneventful 5th inning, retiring 3 and walking one on 15 pitches.

With Houston’s 4-0 loss to San Francisco, the Mets trail the Wild Card-leading Astros by 4 games.

The Nationals’ nightmare 2nd half continued with a 6-5 defeat at the hands of the Padres, the eventual winning run reaching 1st base in the bottom of the 9th on Cristian Guzman’s error. In their last dozen one run contests, DC have managed to lose all 12.)