Mets 7, Marlins 1

If the Mets finish a handful of games out of playoff contention, it will be impossible not to wonder how their fate might’ve improved had Jae Seo been inserted into the starting rotation earlier in the year. Or had Kaz Ishii been removed sooner. The New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin helpfully provides Seo’s eye-popping numbers :

Seo (7-1), who figured to be a stopgap between Kaz Ishii and Steve Trachsel when he rejoined the Mets Aug.6, has pitched at least seven innings in five of six starts since returning. He arrived from a three-month stint with the Tides a more complete pitcher, having picked up two-seam and cut fastballs in the minors.

He has won his last six decisions, surpassing a five-game winning streak by Pedro Martinez from May 2-June 7 for the longest on the Mets this season. No other Met has won more than three straight decisions.

Seo also had a 20-1/3-inning scoreless streak this season, just shy of the NL-best 24 straight scoreless innings by Roger Clemens and Dontrelle Willis

With a daunting task facing New York in Atlanta and St. Louis this week, the combined efforts yesterday of Kaz Matsui, Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd provide a reason for cautious optimism. Matsui (3 for 5, two runs scored) has been pilloried all season (and much of last, too), but there’s no doubt Beltran will be seeing different pitches if New York’s no. 2 hitter is on base in front of him.

Newsday’s David Lennon writes that Mike Piazza is still holding out hope of making a contribution down the stretch.

Piazza has been sidelined since Aug. 17 because of a fractured pisiform bone in his left hand, and was so distraught a week ago that he began to seriously consider that his season – and his Mets career – might be over. But his hand has improved.

“It’s feeling a lot better,” Piazza said. “Basically, the way I look at it, this is where it’s supposed to be right now. If you asked me in San Francisco [last weekend], I thought there was no way I’d be able to play.”

Piazza scrapped his plans to take some light swings with a fungo bat yesterday but intends to try again this morning, and play catch. He has no timetable for a return, but he has a chance to appear as a pinch hitter.