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Sunday reading: Brett Gardner, the Twins' bullpen, Ubaldo Jimenez and the Marathon Mets, of course!

It's not my nature to be bitter or anything, but man, I'll tell you what: 

I've worked each of the last two Saturdays. And when it comes to being where it's at, I am a big, fat 0-for-2.

Last week, while I was at Citi Field for Jose Reyes' return, CC Sabathia nearly pitched a no-hitter in Tampa Bay - and Joe Girardi set off the latest round of "Pitch counts: A sign of progress, or the worst thing since pet rocks?"

And yesterday, while I watched the Yankees romp yet again, the Mets survived a historically lengthy, wacky contest in St. Louis.

Cra-zee.

Only caught bits and pieces of the Mets game - monitored it as I finished working at the Stadium, listened to Howie and Wayne driving home and then, after dinner, watched the final three innings on TV.

So...I very much invite others' thoughts. But, my two cents:

1) Yes, Tony La Russa got more than too cute in managing this game. However, he had far greater room for error than his counterpart Jerry Manuel. La Russa wakes up this morning in first place, and with as much job security as any manager in baseball.

2) No, I have no clue what Manuel was thinking when he ordered Luis Castillo to bunt overJose Reyes with no outs in the 19th, when Cardinals "pitcher" Joe Mather seemed to have no clue of the strike zone. Why not have Reyes steal second? And as Tim McCarver pointed out, why even have Castilo swing until Mather proves he can throw a strike?

3) Tremendous tag by Castillo on Ryan Ludwick, when Ludwick attempted to steal second, in the bottom of the 19th. Ludwick looked out to me.

4) Could this have been a real launching point for Mike Pelfrey? Through the TV, at least, Pelfrey seemed very confident, nailing down what turned into a huge victory for the Mets. Even after he allowed two baserunners, he appeared to remain calm. That has to be a lift for him, following up two strong starts with his fist career save.

5) I have to assume the Mets will call up a fresh reliever to back up John Maine tonight. Given how well the bullpen is performing overall, and given the doubts that persist about Maine and Oliver Perez, wouldn't it make sense to option Jenrry Mejia to Triple-A Buffalo to make room for the new guy, and then start transitioning Mejia back to starter?

6) Gotta give props to $2 million man Alex Cora for his great, inning-ending catch at first base in the 10th. Can't see any of the Mets first basemen making that catch.

--Jeff Francoeur disputed an ESPN report that he and teammates were unhappy with Jerry Manuel. For all of Manuel's flaws, I think the players generally enjoy playing for him and would like to see him keep his job.

--For my column from Yankee Stadium, I wrote about Brett Gardner, who has looked very good so far this season. Feeling pretty good about that Brett Gardner wager with Jim.

--Alex Rodriguez hit his first homer of the season, passing Mark McGwire on the all-time homer list, and Jorge Posada tallied his 1,500th career hit.

--My Sunday Insider is nowhere to be found on the Web site. I wrote about a few different things, but the lead item was speculating that the Twins, even despite Jon Rauch's success, would wind up needing to trade for a closer. Likely candidates are San Diego's Heath Bell, Pittsburgh's Octavio Dotel and Toronto's Jason Frasor.

--Congratulations to Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez for throwing the season's first no-hitter. Sometimes you're shocked when a certain pitcher tosses a no-no. Other times, you nod and say, "Sure, I could see hiim doing it." This is one of those latter times.

And...yes, Jimenez threw 128 pitches, a lot in this day and age. I'm not gonna kill Rockies manager Jim Tracy, just as I woudln't have killed Girardi had he left in Sabathia last week.

But let's monitor Jimenez, moving forward. It's a simple premise of putting the team needs ahead of the individual needs. From looking at Jimenez's career game logs,

--Mike Vaccaro scolds the Mets for not retiring Keith Hernandez's 17, as well as my sort-of-corporate-sibling Knicks for not retiring Bernard King's 30. Thanks to Twitter for not retiring, and for making it so easy to find good stuff like this.

 --Double self-promotion alert: I'll be on WFAN at 11:25 this morning, with Richard Neer. And tonight, at 10:30, I'll be on "Sports Extra" on Fox 5 with Duke Castilgione.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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