Game 5: Loss

Braves 5 Mets 3

It had to happen eventually. Surely we didn’t expect the Mets to go 162-0.

Things started out well, beginning with Paul LoDuca’s solo homerun in the top of the first and Tom Glavine’s first-pitch out in the bottom of the frame.

Just one problem — that first-pitch out was dropped by Carlos Delgado, and everything snowballed from there.

Well, maybe not exactly snowballed … but Glavine never really got into a groove for the rest of the game. He missed badly on balls, and many of his strikes were borderline. He seemed to be behind every batter, causing every sequence to feel forced and a frustrating battle. Hopefully it had something to do with the cold and wind — it was in the 40s at game time with 25-MPH winds. In any case, it was not the same Glavine we saw on Opening Day.

Still, Tommy might have pitched well enough to win, if only the Mets had played the same as they’d been playing in the previous four games. Though some of the scores were overwhelming, in truth the Mets went 4-0 behind pitchers who threw strikes, impeccable defense, and manufacturing runs. In Game Five, Glavine wasn’t throwing too many strikes, but enough to survive had the defense remained impenetrable. Unfortunately, Delgado’s early error set the tone for the remainder of the game. Overall the Mets’ defense was less than stellar, as several players fell victim to the same harsh winds that afflicted several Braves the night before. The second crucial error in the game was charged to Shawn Green, who fell prey to the swirling winds on a Matt Diaz fly ball in the sixth. Unlike earlier games, there was no double play to save the day, and a total of four runs were tied directly to the miscues by Green and Delgado — in other words, enough to beat the Mets’ three.

Green nearly made up for his error in the ninth. With two men on and two out, he hit a blistering line drive toward right field that was snared by first baseman Craig Wilson to end the game.

There was one shining light in the ballgame. In the battle of the bullpens, the Mets clearly had the edge. Though the Braves supposedly improved their pen, their prime relievers — Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, and Bob Wickman — were underwhelming. Gonzalez struggled through a 24-pitch 7th, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. Soriano and Wickman threw scoreless innings, but Wickman was lucky to squeak out a save. The Mets batters seemed right on his pitches, and were on the verge of taking control of the game before Green’s liner. On the other hand, the Mets’ relief corps was commendable, throwing two and two-thirds scoreless innings, scattering two hits and two walks and never allowing the Braves to sniff a rally.

Easter Sunday pits Orlando Hernandez vs. Kyle Davies at 1:05 PM.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.