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Sunday reading: The Mets' present and future, Derek Lowe, Derek Jeter and the lowly Red Sox

At the Mets' loss to Roy Halladay and the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, I wrote that, with April behind us, the Mets are who we thought they were

No shocker that the Mets have now lost three straight after winning six straight. Yes, their lineup has some talent and any bullpen can get hot, but their starting rotation simply isn't very good.

And then there are days like yesterday, when you can't really point any fingers at the Mets. They played well. It's just that the best player was on the other team.

--Carlos Beltran is quietly putting up good numbers. It's interesting; he's obviously no longer the five-tool player that earned $119 million from the Mets.  But he provides value with his bat, and if he can keep this up until June and July, he certainly could bring back something in a trade (although the Mets would probably have to be willing to pay some of Beltran's salary to get better prospects in return).

--I contributed to this story by Steve Marcus about the Mets' sale. As we've discussed, if the Wilpons and Saul Katz indeed sell a minority share of the club for about $200 million, then that buyer would probably have the first right of refusal if and when the Wilpons and Katz (inveitably, most people feel) are forced to sell controlling interest.

 --The Yankees edged Toronto, thanks in large part to a strong performance by their bullpen. Derek Jeter still looks terrible at the plate, Barbara Barker writes. 

You want a May storyline to monitor? If Jeter doesn't pick it up, he won't make it to Memorial Day as the Yankees' leadoff hitter. The Yankees just won't be that patient with him. They can't afford to be.

--Alex Rodriguez took the day off.

--For my Sunday Insider, I examined whether the Braves would trade Derek Lowe, even if Atlanta was in the race for a playoff spot. I reported and wrote this prior to Lowe's arrest Thursday night for drinking under the influence. 

--As we stand here on May 1, who was the biggest April disappointment? Gotta be the Red Sox, who lost their second straight to Seattle last night and their fourth of five overall. At 11-15 they reside comfortably in last place in the AL East. Right now, their offense is their bigger problem.

How about the most plesant April surprise? The 18-8 Indians, who have hit and pitched better than any reasonable person could have expected.

A look at Baseball Prospectus' Playoff Odds Report, however, shows that the math still thinks more of the Red Sox's playoff chances than the Indians'. Absolutely, in any case, it's fun to have such surprising starts on both ends of the spectrum.

--A little bookkeeping: Last Wednesday, I gave away a copy of Elden Auker's "Sleeper Cars and Flannel Uniforms." Richie G. won the contest but then decided he didn't actually want the book, so I gave it to the person who finished second - another blog regular, Poppy.

This coming week? Let's plan on having giveaway contests on Tuesday and Wednesday. As always, however, this is subject to change.

--Have a great day.

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