For a few blissful hours on Thursday afternoon, the Mets were in first place.
The Braves lost to the White Sox for the third straight day, erasing their half-game lead and elevating the Mets to the top spot. If the Mets could finish off a sweep of their own, first place would belong to them all by their lonesome and a weekend-long feast would immediately spring up in the streets of our town to celebrate the conquering heroes and honor the saints that made it all possible.
Thanks to Hisanori Takahashi, we'll just have to make do with cold cuts and Fresca. The lefty with the funky delivery who wrapped the Phillies and Yankees around his little finger couldn't fool the Tigers one bit and the kitties crushed his offerings to the tune of six runs in four-plus innings. It's not the first time he's spit the bit since moving into the starting rotation. Takahashi has turned in three schnauzers in seven starts to go with four strong efforts, the kind of ratio that makes dreams of Cliff Lee dance in the heads of sleeping Mets fans.
Thursday night, in particular, was the kind of start that makes talk radio hosts drool. Filling three hours with Stu from Kew Gardens calling about a Lee deal won't be hard on Friday because of the way the Mets battled almost all the way back before losing 6-5. The lineup, even without the aching Angel Pagan, rallied and the bullpen shut the Tigers down for the final five innings which meant Takahashi's failure was even more glaring.
Assuming he continues to ride the roller coaster and the rest of the Mets continue to play as well as they are, upgrading the rotation is going to become an even bigger priority. That means going outside the organization and once you've made the decision to make a trade it is going to be awfully tough to settle for chuck steak when there is an porterhouse sitting there all dry-aged, well-marbled and ready to slide onto your plate for a memorable supper.
Whether you're thinking about baseball or your next trip to the butcher, that's a lot to ponder.