Game 38: Win
Mets 8 Cardinals 3
The rain came down in the middle of the 7th, then the floodgates opened in the top of the 8th.
After pitching six strong innings, but exiting with the score tied, it looked as though tough luck had returned to Tom Glavine. Things looked especially bleak after Glavine’s pinch-hitter, Jose Valentin, flied out for the second out in the top of the sixth (as hot as Valentin has been lately, it seemed strange to pinch-hit for a guy who came into the game batting .500). However, Jose Reyes pulled the unthinkable and coaxed a walk out of Jeff Suppan, proceeded to steal second, and scored on a two-out double by Mr. Clutch, Paul LoDuca.
Then the rain came down, and the field was covered, for an hour and forty minutes. Aaron Heilman waited patiently, then finally started the bottom of the seventh when the game resumed. He pitched a perfect inning, and got back into the dugout just before the floodgates opened.
David Wright was the first gate-busting wave, opening the top of the 8th with a long double. Cliff Floyd was plunked, and Xavier Nady reached on an error by Albert Pujols, which allowed Wright to score. Kaz Matsui followed with a perfect sac bunt to move the runners, and pinch-hitter Julio Franco stroked an inside-out single to right to score Floyd and send Nady to third. Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran mixed in a couple of cheap singles before it was all over, and by the the time the Cardinals finally came to bat, the score was 8-3 Mets.
Following Mr. Willie’s plan to blow out the most valuable bullpen arms before the All-Star break, Duaner Sanchez came on to pitch a perfect 8th. Jorge Julio, the Mets’ closer when up by five runs or more, tried to make things interesting in the ninth, but succeeded in spite of himself, and finished the game without allowing a run and just before turning into a pumpkin at midnight St. Louis time.
Glavine pitched beautifully, hitting spots and changing speeds like he always does. He is an absolute pleasure to watch, and I pay close attention to each inning he pitches in the same way I viewed at-bats by Tony Gwynn, George Brett, and Wade Boggs at the end of their careers: you know they are special competitors, and they won’t be around too much longer, so you try to soak in every tiny detail they emit before they retire. (I watch Greg Maddux with the same attitude.)
Glavine passed Sandy Koufax on the all-time strikeout list. Not a huge deal, considering he’s pitched about eight thousand more innings than Sandy did. (OK, maybe not 8000 ….)
Cliff Floyd seems to have left his slump behind him, with two hits including a blistering double down the right field line.
Jose Reyes swung and missed wildly at a first, bad pitch, immediately after Tommy Glavine walked on four pitches. I was about to throw something at the TV when Reyes took the next pitch over the wall. He is truly an enigma.
Xavier Nady had another strong game. I suppose it’s time to eat crow on my preseason prediction of poor performance by him.
The Mets will send in the clowns to the mound for the rest of the week, making tonight’s win all the more important. Trachsel and LimaTime go against the Cardinals, and Jeremi Gonzalez opens vs. the Yankees. Dear god …