(ex-Met Marco Scutaro —- released by New York after the 2003 season — strokes the game winning single off Roberto Hernandez in the 9th inning last night).

Oakland’s Joe Blanton and Dan Haren would just happen to have the sort of “coming of age” performances they’ve displayed this week with the New York Mets in town. Merely because the Mets have a breakout offensive game about once a week should not obscure the tendency of New York’s hitters to go into the tank for extended spells. But even accounting for all of their obvious shortcomings (Reyes’ lack of selectivity, Piazza’s lack of power, Mientkiewicz’ uselessness at the plate), there is no reason this club should have so much difficulty scoring runs. How much ground has to be lost to the rest of the division before David Wright is moved closer to the top of batting order? Will the Mets be mathematically eliminated before Willie Randolph tries having Mike Cameron hit leadoff? OK, apparently not, but there’s such a thing as too much patience. Randolph won deserved accolades for not going batshit during an 0-5 start, but the Mets’ feeble showings of late have resembled nothing so much as flashbacks to the Art Howe era.

Miguel Cairo going on the DL should give Kaz Matsui an extended opportunity to show some improvement or become an even bigger pariah, if such a thing were possible.

Last week’s oft repeated rumor of an Edgardo Alfonzo/Matsui trade won’t become fact anytime soon. Fonzie was placed on the Giants’ DL yesterday with a strained left quad and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

Those beating the drums for the Mets to make a play for KC 1B Mike Sweeney can now find a new crusade. Sweeney suffered a strained left elbow and wrist during a collision at first with Dodgers OF Jayson Werth during last night’s 3-1 win for the Royals. Jose Lima joined Jose Guillen as another ex-employee this week to garner sweet revenge at the hands of his prior Southern California club, holding LA to 1 run on 5 hits over 8 innings while collecting his first victory of 2005.

Prior to the game, the Dodgers placed closer Eric Gagne on the 15 day DL with a sprained ligament in his right elbow, the same ailment that kept him out of the lineup for the first month of the season.