Game 5: Win
Mets 3 Marlins 2
This was a game that the 2005 Mets would have lost. Either Looper or some other reliever would have given up the go-ahead run, and/or the Mets hitters would have simply given up. However, the 2006 Mets have solid arms in the pen, with Wagner owning the 9th, and they have a continuously developing David Wright to carry them.
Tom Glavine threw another gem, keeping the Mets in the game against the only Marlins pitcher they should lose to: Dontrelle Willis. Even though Willis is one of the top lefties in the Bigs, I was still disappointed with the Mets hitters lack of patience. The entire lineup had shown excellent pitch selection and patience through the first four games, yet were suddenly swinging early in the count vs. Willis. This shows lack of preparation and a psyche factor.
It happens often; a player knows that an elite pitcher is on the mound, and thus believes that he will have few good pitches to hit. As a result, he swings at pitches earlier in the count, believing it is the best pitch he’ll see in the at-bat and fearing getting behind in the count. This strategy is acceptable when you face a guy who can paint the corners with filthy stuff, but the truth is, there are few guys in that category. Roy Oswalt, Roger Clemens, Josh Beckett, Greg Maddux (in his prime), and Mark Prior come to mind. Willis, however, is not really in that class. If you watch him, he doesn’t so much throw strikes as much as he gets batters to swing and miss. He throws a lot of breaking pitches and fastballs out of the zone, getting batters to chase. If I were Mets batting coach Rick Down, I’d have the Mets batters watch their at-bats vs. Willis before the next time they face him. They’ll be suprised to see how many bad pitches they chased, allowing him to get ahead and/or get them out.
Otherwise, it was a very well played game all around. And David Wright is my Opening Week prediction for MVP.