Game 9: Win
Number 292 for Tom Glavine.
Tommy didn’t have his great stuff, but was sharp enough to get by. If Jimmy Rollins had sat out, it would have been a much better game for Glavine.
Carlos Delgado looked absolutely awful against Jamie Moyer, a guy who he owns. My wife had an excellent theory: perhaps he is not getting any sleep with the new baby at home. She might have something there.
The Mets had a chance to break the game wide open in the bottom of the sixth, when Shawn Green led off with a line drive double down the right field line and was expertly advanced to third base by Damion Easley — who had an excellent at-bat. However, Willie Randolph pulled a head-scratcher, sending Lastings Milledge up to face cagey veteran Jamie Moyer. 99% of the time, I’m begging Willie to pick anyone other than Julio Franco to pinch-hit. However, in this instance, it seemed to be a scene written for Franco: the smart old hitter against the smart old pitcher. The problem I have with old man Franco is his lack of bat speed, and inability to hit the ball anywhere other than to right field. Against the soft-tossing Moyer, however, his approach is perfectly suited. In fact, the last person you want to see facing Moyer is a young, over-aggressive, over-anxious hitter such as Lastings Milledge. Everyone in the park knew that Milledge was going to get eaten alive by Moyer’s assortment of puss balls. As it was, Moyer didn’t need his assortment — Milledge popped up weakly on the first pitch.
That’s no indictment on Milledge; more toward Willie. Lastings knew very well that this would likely be his last Major League at-bat for a while, and that only heightened his already anxious state. Milledge is a young, aggressive hitter, had been riding the pine for two weeks, and was itching for the chance to swing the bat. That’s a great state of mind to face many pitchers — especially power pitchers who are usually around the plate (John Smoltz, Roy Oswalt) but is easy fodder for a guy like Moyer, who rarely breaks 80 MPH and preys on youngsters such as Milledge. Bad move on Willie’s part; if he wanted to give Lastings a “last” at-bat, wait until later in the game, against someone who can break a pane of glass with a fastball.
After Milledge’s popup, the Mets managed to load the bases for Carlos Beltran, and Moyer was left in while rookie Francisco Rosario remained in the bullpen. The stage was set for Beltran to blow the game open. However, it turned out to be a good move by manager Charlie Manuel, as Moyer unbelievably struck out Beltran on a 3-2 fastball.
In the seventh, the Mets managed to add an insurance run on a leadoff triple by David Wright and an RBI single by Moises Alou. Wright has now hit in all nine games this year.
Though Tommy didn’t have his best stuff, and made two glaring mistakes against Rollins, he otherwise toughed it out and worked his way through six unremarkable innings. His pitch count was way high, bloated in part by Chase Utley and Shane Victorino, both of whom seemed to foul off a dozen pitches in every at-bat. Glavine would quickly get to two strikes, but was unable to put them away.
In relief, Mighty Joe Smith continues to be a groundball machine. He pitched yet another scoreless inning, inducing a double play and earning a strikeout on a crazy slider that looked more like a gyroball than anything Daisuke Matsuzaka has thrown. Scott Schoeneweiss followed Smith’s cue, getting a double-play grounder in the 8th. Billy Wagner did his usual “let’s keep things interesting” routine, but managed to notch his 326th career save.
The Mets made something of a mitzvah, as Shawn Green started, Scott Schoeneweis pitched a scoreless inning, and David Newhan pinch-hit for Schoeneweis.
Moises Alou had a great day, going 3-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. He’s batting .343 on the season, completely erasing the awful numbers of March.
Jose Reyes also remains hot, as he went 2-3 with two RBI and a run, and was walked intentionally in the sixth. He’s hitting .361.
Happy 35th birthday to Paul LoDuca.
Friday night’s matchup has Mike Pelfrey making his much-anticipated 2007 debut against Washington Nationals’ ace John Patterson. Game time is 7:10 PM.