Choked Up: Mets Blowing Lead

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The New York Mets’ bullpen apparently thinks it’s the holiday season, because game after game they give gifts to both their opponents and Atlanta and Philadelphia—the two teams chasing them in the NL East division.

On Friday, closer Billy Wagner (pictured) gave [his biggest present] to Florida shortstop Hanley Ramirez, tossing a fastball right down the middle of the plate that Ramirez ripped into deep centerfield for a game-winning two-run double. The blown save gave the Marlins the 4-3 win, but the Mets’ bullpen wasn’t finished. On Saturday, after Tom Glavine pitched a solid 6.1 innings of baseball, New York relievers Guillermo Mota and Aaron Heilman combined to surrender an atrocious five runs in just 1.2 innings as the Mets fell 7-5 following [another blown lead](

New York halted their three-game losing streak with a [10-4 win on Sunday]—highlighted by two home runs from Moises Alou—but still saw their lead [dwindle this weekend]( to just three games over Philadelphia and 3.5 games over Atlanta. And if the bullpen continues to suffer extreme cases of larynx-constricting, then that lead could evaporate very quickly.

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