Game 100: Loss
Cubs 8 Mets 6
Well at least they’re making their losses exciting …
A last-inning rally chased Cubs closer Ryan Dempster and pushed the Mets within striking distance, but once again it was too little, too late. Paul LoDuca stranded the bases loaded with a weak popup to second baes to end the game. You can’t fault Paulie, though, as replacement closer Bobby Howry started him off with two very tough strikes; LoDuca fought off several more pitches before the popup.
This is the second time this year the headline has been ” : Loss” three posts in a row.
This is also the first time in a while that the Mets have given up eight runs in three straight games.
Tom Glavine was awful, struggling with his command from the get-go. Still, the Mets gave him an early 4-2 lead, which he quickly blundered and turned into a 6-4 deficit. It all started with a leadoff walk to Juan Pierre in the third. Even though Glavine had a two-run lead, and is a veteran, that was the point where Mr. Willie should have strode to the mound and signaled for Darren Oliver. Pierre was not going to go a yard against Glavine, so with a two-run lead, you absolutely cannot walk him. If Mike Pelfrey walks him in that situation, you chalk it up to inexperience. If Tom Glavine walks him, there is a major problem that must be rectified immediately. It started innocently enough, but by the time the inning was over, the Cubs had scored four runs.
To Tommy’s credit, he managed to squeak by the next few innings, before allowing a home run to pitcher Carlos Zambrano in the top of the seventh. He then allowed a double to Juan Pierre and a groundout to Todd Walker before Mr. Willie realized Glavine was over the 100-pitch limit, and replaced him with Chad Bradford. ChadBrad allowed a hit to the red-hot Aramis Ramirez, scoring Pierre, but gave up no further damage.
After scoring four quick runs in the first three innings, then adding another in the fifth, the Met batters did nothing until the ninth, when they mounted their rally against shaky closer Dempster. It was nice to see the Mets show some gumption, and for a moment it looked like they might harken back to the late-inning magic of the mid-1980s Mets. In the end, though, this was a tough loss. The NL-leading Mets have no business losing a series to the fast-fading Cubs.
Aaron Heilman finally threw a decent inning, giving up one hit and no runs on six pitchers. I still say it’s time to move him to the rotation, especially with the Mets starters having a hard time getting through five innings without giving up 5-8 runs.
Endy Chavez was outstanding, going 2-3 with a three-run homer and making several good plays in RF. This Chavez/Nady platoon is working out quite nicely.
Tom Glavine was not only awful on the mound, but he was poor in the field — throwing wildly high on a bunt — and at bat, as he twice executed poor bunts in the same at-bat (the first was ruled foul, the second turned into a DP). Is this a guy that needs his greenies?
Once again, Glavine did not use his fastball inside, something he was doing earlier in the year (when he was successful). This hurt him, as the Cubs seemed to be zoning in on the outside half of the plate. Even pitcher Carlos Zambrano had fun with the outside pitch, swatting it over the RF stands. Could he be overanalyzing the scouting reports, and pitching to teams’ weaknesses rather than establishing his game? Has he lost some velocity and therefore also lost confidence in coming inside? Whatever the case, he needs to use both sides of the plate, and mix in the curve, which was also used sparsely.
Delgado was quiet and Uncle Cliffy struck out three times. Those are two bats the Mets need participating if they are to score 9+ runs in a game.
Jose Valentin continues to sparkle both at bat and in the field. I think it’s safe to assume there won’t be any deadline deals for a second sacker, especially with Tony Graffanino moving to the Brewers earlier in the day. I don’t see the Mets bothering with Mark Grudzielanek, as he’s not necessarily an upgrade, and it’s doubtful Julio Lugo could be had for anything resembling a fair deal. Which is good, because this leaves Omar to concentrate on getting a top-notch arm.
Speaking of, I really hope Omar doesn’t make any deals for dopes such as Rodrigo Lopez or Corey Lidle. If he can’t get a potential #3 or better, such as Barry Zito or Jason Schmidt, then he may as well stand pat. I’d prefer to move Heilman to the rotation or pray that El Duque has a few good playoff games left than overpay for another #5 starter.
John Maine vs. the shell of Mark Prior tomorrow at 12:10. If posed the question in April, who would believe that nearly every Mets fan would be excited to see what John Maine could do in this start, and expect him to win against Priordigy?