Pirates 6, Mets 4 (top of the 7th)

(Jose Reyes, stealing his 2nd base of the day in the home half of the 7th, as Ronnie Paulino’s throw heads towards Main Street)

Garry Cohen can use phrases like “minimizing the downturn” all he wants, but making routine plays in the field (Tom Glavine’s throwing error allowing Zach Duke to reach first in the top of the 6th) would be a nice start, as would some kind of return to form by Aaron Heilman. Or perhaps, a redefinition of Heilman’s role?

Of course, raising such a point means I’m running the risk of being lumped in with Pedro Feliciano, who took issue with Willie Randolph’s use of Darren Oliver in last night’s blowout loss. From the New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin.

“He’s a long reliever. Going 1-2/3 (actually 1-1/3) is not his job,” Feliciano said about Oliver. “He has to go at least four or three. The bullpen’s going to tire. Let him go out at least four or three. One and a third? Stupid. They tell me, ‘Go one more because we need help in the bullpen.’ I pitched two innings (Sunday). I don’t know why they pinch-hit for (Oliver). Somebody mixed up.”

More unpleasantness from Rubin, elsewhere in the Daily News :

The Daily News has learned that Jose Lima is expected to rejoin the Mets from Triple-A Norfolk, capping a flurry of moves involving the pitching staff. Yesterday began with the Mets demoting Alay Soler to Norfolk, creating as many as three starting pitching vacancies for this weekend’s series against the Marlins.

Maura Johnston has confirmed that Lima was in uniform at Shea earlier today, “as a member of the big-league club, not someone to give the July 4 rendition of the anthem a little extra oomph.” Writes Mets Geek’s Matt Gelb,

One can only believe Lima has incriminating photos of Omar Minaya, similar to the ones Gerald Williams used so frequently last season. Lima’s last start in Norfolk was on June 30, so his turn in the rotation would come in the next few days. Because that start was so successful (5.1 IP 10 H 8 R 1 BB 2 K), look for Lima to start either Friday night or during Saturday’s doubleheader against the third-place Florida Marlins. By the way, Florida recalled its pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit to make his first major league start Wednesday.

Newsday’s resident shit-stirrer, Wally Matthews paints a depressing portrait of communication (or lack thereof) between the Mets’ field manager and G.M.

It is becoming clear that the Mets are Omar Minaya’s team first, Willie Randolph’s second, and the two apparently don’t talk all that much on matters that appear to be of importance. Nor do some of the players talk all that much to the manager or the GM, as became obvious when both Randolph and Minaya seemed surprised to hear that Alay Soler, who got lit up by the Yankees on Sunday night, has had a calf injury that has altered his delivery.

“First I’m hearing of it,” Randolph said.

Randolph left Soler out to get flayed by the Yankees because he thought he needed to save his long man, Darren Oliver, to make an emergency start last night with Pedro Martinez missing a turn with an aching hip.

Turns out that unbeknownst to the manager, Minaya decided to promote John Maine from Norfolk to make the start instead. That means Randolph could have called on Oliver right after Alex Rodri.guez’s third-inning grand slam, with the Mets trailing by two runs.

“Oh, I wanted to win the game, I wanted to win the game real bad,” Randolph said before last night’s game, in which he endured his most intense grilling of a so-far trouble-free season. “But who knows how long Oliver would have went? It could have been the same thing. Oliver could have come in and gave it up. Then I go through all of my bullpen. Sometimes you have to sacrifice things for the long haul.”

It was a tap dance Astaire would have been proud of, but in truth, Randolph thought he was starting Oliver last night, and so did Oliver.

“I found out about the same time you guys did,” Oliver said to the assembled media. “In fact, I think you guys found out before I did. I thought that’s why I didn’t pitch last night. But things change, you all know that. Just roll with the punches, man. I’m being a good soldier. That’s all you can do.”

Minaya acknowledged that had Randolph known about Maine, he would have managed Sunday’s game differently. “It was the kind of thing that just developed,” he said. “I decided late night, after the game, to bring Maine up.”

(Wednesday afternoon update : Mets 7, Pirates 6

After retiring Carlos Beltran, Salmon Torres walked Carlos Delgado and David Wright to start the last of the 8th. Roberto Hernandez relieved Torres and proceeded to allow an double to Endy Chavez. Moments, later Wright and Chavez would score on Xavier Nady’s single to right field ; Pittsburgh’s Jim Tracy was ejected by Angel Hernandez — the Pirates skipper and Ronnie Paulino were adamant McLouth’s throw had beaten Chavez ; the replay was less than conclusive).