Piniella hands one to Mets

My night began with a post about how Cubs manager Lou Piniella was resting three of his biggest bats -- Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Alfonso Soriano -- in a game with huge implications for the Mets, Phillies and Brewers. And how it kind of mocked the notion of the integrity of the pennant race that everyone in baseball loves to talk about.

Then they played the game and it got worse.

The big bats stayed on the bench, right to the end. Daryle Ward was the pinch-hitter Piniella called on in the top of the ninth inning with two runners on base and two outs in a tie game. Yes, Daryle Ward.

And the bullpen? Bob Howry blew the save in the eighth inning. Kevin Hart lost the game in the ninth inning. Carlos Marmol? Kerry Wood? Nope and nope. They stayed dry as the Mets scored one in the seventh, two in the eighth and one in the ninth to come from behind and win, 7-6.

Yes, it was wet at Shea Stadium. Yes, you are entitled to give some people some rest after you have clinched your own business. But propriety suggests that you rest one or two guys at a time and no more. Common decency suggests you don't take the field with the Iowa Cubs and then do nothing as the game slips away in the late innings.

But that is what Piniella did. And because of that, the Phillies' lead over the Mets is one game with three to play.