Odd Weekend of Baseball Par for the Course in 2009

Wild shifts from day to day in line for both teams

You know you've played a strange weekend of baseball when a 15-0 loss caused by the worst start of your ace pitcher's career isn't the most painful loss in the three days. Sunday's rout pales in comparison to Luis Castillo's epic Friday night blunder for the Mets. Blowouts and bad starts happen, but two-run pop-ups to second base don't happen outside of Little League.

Then again, you don't miss third base all that often or fail to slide on plays at the plate either. The Mets have made the soul crushing loss a way of life, which actually made Friday night that much worse. If a team doesn't have a habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, it is a lot easier to chalk things up to fate. But Castillo's error just seemed like another day in the 2009 season.

All three games did, in fact, even though none of them went remotely the way you would have expected for either team. Fernando Nieve's brilliant Saturday start stood in for the fact that the Mets have been able to stay alive with an injury-riddled roster, while Johan Santana's Sunday mess was a reminder that without his greatness there isn't much chance of that roster getting the job done. The season, and this weekend's games, present an often-sloppy Mets team overreliant on contributions from fringe players and Santana.

That's not a surefire formula for success, but the weekend wasn't much better for the guys in pinstripes. Two wins is two wins, but they can't feel too spectacular about themselves after these games. While the Yankees remain capable of the overwhelming domination they showed on Sunday, they are also far too prone to the completely dispassionate showing they provided on Saturday. The season-long inconsistency of the rotation and the lineup makes every night feel like a roll of the dice, while the generally feckless nature of their bullpen makes it hard to ever feel comfortable.

That bullpen fecklessness still doesn't include Mariano Rivera, but it is impossible not to notice that Rivera's off nights have come with a bit more frequency this season. Just as the Mets can't win without a strong Santana, the Yankees are going to have a hard time winning if Rivera isn't closing games with his customary steeliness.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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