UPDATE, 2:05 p.m.: The game is underway and Ollie Perez has a seven-pitch first inning behind him. The Mets couldn’t hope for anything better there.
As for tickets to tomorrow’s play-in game, they will go on sale at Mets.com at some point after today’s game. There will be no phone nor walk-up ticket sales.
The Mets have yet to announce a time for tomorrow’s game. However, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website says it will be a 7:37 p.m. first pitch.
It figures the game will be a night game no matter what the exact start time is. The White Sox-Tigers game is scheduled for 2, according to MLB.com.
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: Manuel said he would burn through other guys before turning to Mike Pelfrey, but Pelfrey was among those up in a hurry once Oliver Perez hurt his finger trying to barehand that ground ball by Dan Uggla.
Anyway, it looks like Perez is fine. He threw a couple warmup pitches and appears ready to continue. In fact, he already retired Josh Willingham on a pop up.
UPDATE, 2:26 p.m.: Perez escaped a two-on, two-out situation. He has thrown just 25 pitches through two, 18 for strikes.
Meanwhile, the Mets didn’t get very far in the first, but they did work Olsen pretty hard. He’s already thrown 25 pitches.
UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Perez may be the guy who decides the Mets’ fate today. He must pitch deep into the game to spare Manuel from using his ‘pen, and he’s done well so far: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 36 pitches, 24 strikes.
The fans burst into an uproar before when they posted the Cubs’ run. In case you’re too afraid to follow along what’s happening in Mikwaukee, the Cubs lead 1-0 in the top of the third.
UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: There was example No. 469 why you can never forget about the other team on the field, even if you’re in a pennant race and they have nothing to play for. Marlins catcher John Baker made a great play on Perez’s squeeze bunt attempt to cut down Ramon Castro at second base. Baker pounced on it and played the ball decisively. It probably prevented Olsen from facing a much more daunting situation.
The score is 0-0 through three innings.
UPDATE, 2:55 p.m.: Perez is now at 50 pitches through four innings, 34 for strikes. 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R.
UPDATE, 3 p.m.: Hey, maybe I was wrong about Perez being the No. 1 factor. The offense now has three runs in its 21 innings this series.
UPDATE, 3:02 p.m.: Oh, the rewards of clinching early! Carlos Zambrano may not have pitched today, but he pinch hit for Angel Guzman earlier today. Guzman was lifted in favor of Chad Gaudin, the same Gaudin who is expected to be left off the postseason roster.
And the Brewers complained early this week the Cubs didn’t play enough regulars against the Mets. Sheesh.
UPDATE, 3:07 p.m.: Perez has now retired eight straight. The fifth was probably his best inning yet, as he struck out Almezega and Olsen back-to-back to finish his second straight perfect frame.
UPDATE, 3:11 p.m.: Lou P’s game of revolving pitchers continues in Milwaukee. Neal Cotts just tossed a scoreless fourth, so three guys are working on a one-hitter right now, spring-training style.
UPDATE, 3:18 p.m.: C.C. Sabathia’s line through five: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 72 pitches, 48 strikes. He still trails 1-0.
UPDATE, 3:19 p.m.: Bad luck there for Ollie. John Baker tried to sac bunt, failed, and fell behind 1-2. Then he lofted a lazy (possibly broken-bat) single to center that scored Cameron Maybin, who smoked a double to lead off the inning. Marlins 1, Mets 0, top 6
UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: Perez is out with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth. He gave up three straight hits to start the inning, and a pair of runners moved up on the only out, a fly ball to Nick Evans in left. Joe Smith is on, charged with escaping the most daunting jam of the season.
One thing on Evans: Yeah, he made the wrong throw to third, but I don’t think he would’ve gotten Jorge Cantu tagging from first to second anyway.
UPDATE, 3:34 p.m.: The tension at Shea is palpable. Smith clearly felt it, as he came in and issued a brutal bases-loaded walk to Josh Willingham to push home a run. Still, Smith got out of it at 2-0, inducing a popup by Cody Ross and a comebacker by Almezega.
This is on the offense now. No doubt.
Here’s the line on Perez: 5 1/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K. Not bad on three-days rest, but not good enough with the Mets being two-hit by Scott Olsen.
Marlins 2, Mets 0, bottom 6th
UPDATE, 3:43 p.m.: Carlos Beltran = $$$
That’s a money homer by Beltran, who hit a 1-0 pitch 395 feet off Olsen for a two-run home run, easily his biggest home run as a Met.
The situation was set up by Robinson Cancel, who fell behind 1-2 and worked a leadoff walk. One out later, Beltran drove him home and tied the score.
Meanwhile, C.C. is through seven in Milwaukee. He has a three-hitter going â€” and nearly tied it with a homer in the sixth that just sailed foul.
Mets 2, Marlins 2, end of 6th
Cubs 1, Brewers 0, middle of 7
UPDATE, 3:51 p.m.: The Cubs turned to Sean Marshall in the seventh. He’s their fifth pitcher. The other four have combined on a one-hitter so far.
UPDATE, 3:52 p.m.: Scott Olsen’s day is done. His line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.
UPDATE, 4:02 p.m.: Let’s see this time if they can make it stand up.
Make what stand up, you ask? Try another terrific catch by Endy Chavez, who was fooled on a line drive to left by Cantu by recovered in time to leap and snatch a sure RBI double out of the air. The fans cheered Chavez’s name as he left the field, and teammates waited for him in front of the dugout to congratulate him.
Want drama? Chavez is up right now to lead off the seventh.
Meanwhile, the Brewers just tied it in Milwaukee. Michael Wuertz, the sixth pitcher of the game, just issued a bases-loaded walk to 2001 World Series hero Craig Counsell. The inning is over: Brewers 1, Cubs 1, top 8.
What a day of baseball so far. Up here in the press box we’re watching both games like we’re sitting center court at Wimbledon, eyes darting back and forth, back and forth…
UPDATE, 4:17 p.m.: It took just three pitches for Scott Schoeneweis to turn Wes Helms into the next Yadier Molina. He grooved a pitch, and Helms smacked it for a solo homer, giving the Marlins a 3-2 lead.
Why Schoeneweis, of all people, was entrusted to get a righty out I’ll never understand. Right-handed hitters were batting .327 vs. Schoeneweis.
Of course, who do you argue for? Luis Ayala was warmed up, too, and he just came in and served up a solo shot to Dan Uggla, who gave the Marlins a 4-2 lead.
The Achilles’ heel rears its ugly head again.
UPDATE, 4:23 p.m.: A terrible few minutes for the Mets. Ryan Braun just launched a two-run homer to left off Bob Howry, the seventh pitcher of the game for the Cubs. Sabathia is still in, having hit for himself earlier in the eighth.
What looked so bright a little while ago has turned dark, dark, dark here at old Shea.
Marlins 4, Mets 2, Bot 8
Brewers 3, Cubs 1, Top 9
UPDATE, 4:33 p.m.: Sabathia pulled a Santana, throwing a complete game in a 3-1 Brewers victory. They assured themselves of at least a play-in game here tomorrow.
Now to the Mets. The venerable Arthur Rhodes, who has pitched great with the Marlins, is set to face Delgado with two out, runners at first and second. This, folks, could be your season.
UPDATE, 4:42 p.m.: The Mets are down to their final three outs. Delgado hit a pitch hard off Rhodes, but it died near the warning track in left field.
This place will be a ghost town during the postgame ceremony if they can’t rally. I just saw Willie Mays taken down in the elevator before the top of the ninth. Not many people will care about the greatest living ballplayer if the Mets fail to come through on the last day of the season for the second year in a row.
UPDATE, 4:53 p.m.: If you’re David Wright â€” after a year’s worth of questions about collapsing â€” the pressure must be overwhelming here to lead off the ninth.
UPDATE, 5:06 p.m.: That’s it. Season over. Marlins 4, Mets 2.
Ryan Church looked like he had it for a moment, but the ball landed just short of the warning track.
If you’re in a Met uniform, or a member of the front office, it’ll be another miserable year. They are 365 days away from even having a chance to escape from yet another collapse. They will be labeled as chokers until they make the playoffs again.
This postgame ceremony was a bad idea. It’s going to be ugly.