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The Mets Are Running Out of Time

Your New York Mets looked as healthy and robust as they had in about three weeks in their series with the Cardinals this week; all told, they probably should have swept the Birds. They have three games at home this weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that's 37-65 and likely to trade away their few remaining good players before the deadline on Sunday. Next week brings trips to division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia, and a real chance to gain some ground. So why does everything seem a lot scarier than it did yesterday? Blame Roy Oswalt.

The Phillies' trade for Oswalt yesterday cost them very little and put them in a position to, as Joe Sheehan put it yesterday, "steamroll the NL from this point forward." Thanks to the Phils' eight-game winning streak, the Mets are four games behind them now (and six behind the Braves) and actually lost a game in the standings with the series win over the Cardinals. The major hits, the big names, the Cliff Lees and the Dan Harens and the Oswalts, they are all off the trade market now. If the Mets want to add someone, a pitcher probably, they're looking at Jake Westbrook, or someone like that. Are the Mets a Jake Westbrook away from the playoffs? Obviously not, right? Wouldn't you rather keep Josh Thole?

The trade deadline is just a week or so too early for the Mets: By the end of next week, we will know, for sure, if the Mets are going to be in this late or not. We won't know by the end of this weekend. But the trade deadline waits for no team, and the Mets, and Omar Minaya, have to make a decision by tomorrow at 4 p.m.. It's beginning to feel like whatever decision they make will be wrong.

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Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images