Mets Game 111: Win Over Cubs (Glavine’s 300th)

Mets 8 Cubs 3

In Tom Glavine’s second attempt at 300, Willie Randolph again removed his cagey veteran before he should have. However, this time, the bullpen didn’t blow the victory.

With one out in the seventh, Glavine spotted a nice change-up on the outside part of the plate, fooling Angel Pagan, but Pagan got lucky, sticking his bat out and bouncing the ball down the third base line. The rhyme or reason behind Willie’s walk out to the mound at that point is anybody’s guess. While it was true that Glavine was on pitch #102, he showed no signs of tiring in that inning nor the inning before. He still had excellent command, and was keeping the Cubs off balance with an array of fastballs in, change-ups, and even curveballs. The deuce, especially, was in his favor — a pitch he normally throws no more than 2-3 times a game as a “show” pitch.

(By the way, I’m writing this WHILE Tommy is walking off the mound, so it’s not a Monday morning quarterback whine.)

I can sort of understand Randolph wanting to insure Glavine’s victory, but there was something he completely missed about this particular evening: Glavine had gotten into the Cubs’ heads. Even if Glavine had been tiring — which he wasn’t — he had won the mental matchup. Anyone who has played baseball at any level knows what I’m talking about. A guy is on the mound, he’s mowing people down, and suddenly, you’re getting yourself out, because the history of outs in previous innings has psyched you out. You’ve convinced yourself it’s that pitcher’s night, and succumbed to the belief that, on this night, there’s no beating the guy. Professionals will never admit to such a thing, but it happens all the time. Glavine had that advantage going for him — the Cubs had accepted the fact that this was his night, and they were going to be part of history — perhaps because the “baseball gods” decided it was time. Once Willie took him out, the veil of doubt had been lifted. Without Glavine on the mound, it was no longer his night. Suddenly, the Cubs had a fighting chance, against fresh meat who had no association with historic achievements nor blessings from baseball gods. In short, Randolph let them back into the game.

(End of fury, back to the game.)

Guillermo Mota came in with Pagan on second and promptly gave up a single to Jason Kendall to move Pagan to third (Pagan held because Shawn Green got to the ball quickly and made a perfect throw to the cutoff man.) That was all for Mota as Randolph returned to the mound and summoned Pedro Feliciano, who retired Jacque Jones on a groundout that allowed Pagan to score. Mike Fontenot followed with a cheap bloop hit down the third base line to score the second run of the inning, and Randolph left the dugout for a third time to bring in Aaron Heilman, who hurried to get loose on the sidelines. Heilman got Ryan Theriot to fly out to center to end the inning.

Jorge Sosa pitched a scoreless eighth to retain the lead. Billy Wagner pitched the ninth with a five-run lead, but had no problem getting amped up for the historic evening. Wags was humming close to triple digits and throwing his typically nasty sharp slider.

Oh, there was more to the game than Glavine’s pitching … there was Glavine’s hitting, for example. Tommy drove in the first run of the game with a two-out single in the second, scoring Lastings Milledge. The Mets tacked on two more runs in the fifth on doubles by Delgado and Green, and extended the lead to five-zip in the sixth on an RBI single by Jose Reyes and a run-scoring groundout by Delgado.

After the Cubs took advantage of Glavine’s absence in the seventh, the Mets marched right back and took two runs back, thanks to another double by Delgado and an RBI single by Paul LoDuca. Delgado’s shot was a screamer into the ivy in the right-center alley, and he lifted it with just his bottom hand; that’s diesel, bro.


Glavine’s line: 6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The Wrigley fans gave him an impressive and respectful standing ovation when he walked off the mound in the seventh.

Once again, it appeared that fellow veteran Shawn Green, as well as Carlos Delgado, played just a notch above their normal games in the field. In reality, I’m sure everyone on the field stepped it up, but those two guys are normally so awful, their inspired play is that much more noticeable. Green was getting to balls more quickly, and making throws back to the infield like he was 25 and in Toronto again. Delgado also harked back to his Blue Jays days, reaching down past his waist for balls on at least two occasions. Nice to see the two vets playing like it was the World Series to help Tommy get to 300.

Lastings Milledge had three hits and a walk when he came up in the 8th with the bases loaded and one out, but popped up on the first pitch from reliever Michael Wuertz. Milledge scored twice in the contest.

Luis Castillo was 4-for-5 with two runs scored, but left the game with an undisclosed injury after scoring on Delgado’s double in the top of the eighth.

Delgado was 2-for-4 with 4 RBI. His last RBI came on a line drive to rightfield that nearly took Matt Murton’s glove off. It was a sacrifice liner, not a sacrifice fly, it was hit so hard.

For trivia buffs, Ruben Gotay fielded the last groundout of the game, putout by Delgado, on a grounder by Mike Fontenot.

Shame about the relative lack of celebration on ESPN, in comparison to what we’ll likely have to endure when Barroid hits his 756th homerun (345th tainted). Especially considering that the homerun “record” will likely fall again within the next ten years, while we most likely won’t see another 300-game winner for at least another generation. The media’s got their valuation on records a little mixed up, eh?

Next Game

The Mets have off on Monday, traveling back to New York to host the second-place Braves. Oliver Perez takes the mound against Buddy Carlyle in a 7:10 PM start. If you go to the game, stop by the Loge, section 20 and say hello. I’ll be wearing a Mr. Met shirt.

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.
  1. isuzudude August 6, 2007 at 10:25 am
    You’re 100% right about the media having their record valuation mixed up. But I’ll tell you why it’s like that: b/c for the non-purist, fly by night, fickle baseball fan, which we here on the blog are NOT, they want to see 15 home runs hit in every game, and 22-18 scores, and fences moved in so even a pop fly to the infield has a chance to give some lucky fan in LF a souveneir. In the same breath, however, they want games that last 2 hours, they want starting pitchers to throw more complete games, and they want no mid-inning pitching changes. And for some ungodly reason, ESPN and the rest of the media clowns have decided to cater to those people instead of the ones, like us, who enjoy the 1-0 games just as much as the 15-14. Hence, we get single season and all-time home run records shoved down our throats, while the truly masterful records, like Glavine’s 300th win, gets little attention b/c of its unattractiveness to the low IQ baseball fan. We all watch ESPN, although we may hate to admit it. And it’s really easy to tell that their target audience is stupid. And to stupid baseball fans, it’s “funner” to watch home runs than it is complete game shutouts.

    Anyway, nice to see the Mets finish off their road trip against the top 2 teams in the NL Central 4-2, setting themselves up nicely for a big series vs Atlanta. Ollie never loses to the Braves, with or without Teixiera, so chalk up AT LEAST one win.

    Joe, I wasn’t as incensed with Willie’s decision to remove Glavine as you were. You make some good points why he should have stayed in. If you saw Tommy walk off the mound, I think he looked pretty ticked about it too. He bumped (purposely?) into Willie going to the dugout, and Willie turned around to him and looked at him like, WTF dude? Makes you wonder…

    BTW – Castillo left the game w/ heat exhaustion. All reports I read indicate it’s nothing serious and he should be able to play on Tuesday.

  2. Walnutz15 August 6, 2007 at 10:46 am
    Spot-on with the ESPN observation — I call it “Playstation Baseball”. The casual fan wants everything BUT the things they should be focusing in on.

    FOXSports and ESPN broadcasts are like the visual embodiment of A.D.D. Songs flying into the background while they show highlights with 600,000 meaningless stats;

    Guy in the truck: “QUICK, Cue up the Metallica for the Billy Wagner cut-in….I have some great numbers for when he enters the game with a 4-2 lead on Saturdays in August.”

    Who the eff cares…honestly. Just show me the game, and I’ll make my own observations.

    SUCH AS:

    Hall of Famer Joe Morgan explaining to us how Luis Castillo might not be familiar with Wrigley Field, considering he’s played “a majority of his career in the American League.”

    RRReally, now Joe?

    Attaboy, Tommy. Nice to see 300 all wrapped up and put off to the side now. Glad to see him get it, without the pomp and circumstance — naturally. Glavine’s just “that kinda” guy.

    With regard to Willie: I’ve always loved the job he’s done with the team, in terms of getting them to play for him; and achieving results.

    But this year, it’s growing increasingly obvious that Willie’s cockiness has reached a new level this year.

    It’s kinda funny how Bobby V. “rubbed so many people the wrong way”, when he had one tenth the ego Willie has.

  3. joe August 6, 2007 at 11:12 am
    isuzudude and walnutz, thanks for the explanation on the ESPN / FOX coverage — you’re right, they pander to the clueless masses. So annoying.

    re: Glavine’s removal – another thing that occurred to me, which is that Glavine at 100 pitches is not like, say, Jorge Sosa at 100. Because Glavine’s effort and arm strain is nothing — he’s like a softball pitcher or a knuckleballer. When he’s grooving, let him be. He runs, so he has the legs to get through. He can throw that 84-MPH slop for three days without tiring. Other guys, who are pitching in the mid-90s, plus throwing sliders every other pitch — well, there I understand the 100-pitches and out mentality because of the arm and overall body strain.

    re: Castillo: why is David Wright NOT supplying everyone with gallons of Vitamin Water? And how is it, in this day and age of an excess of sports drinks, medical knowledge, plus multiple trainers, doctors, and nutritionists on staff, that any multimillion-dollar athlete dehydrates? In a BASEBALL game, no less? These guys have too much access to resources for this to happen as frequently as it does.

    re: Morgan on Castillo – easy on the “award-winning” Joe Morgan. He probably meant to say, “he’s played a majority of his career this year in the American League for the first half of the season …”

    re: Willie and Bobby V – Walnutz, I think time has faded your memory a bit. I agree that Willie’s ego is comparable, but saying Bobby V’s was 1/10th of Willie’s … well … rethink that one, OK ? 🙂

  4. The Adjunct Professor August 6, 2007 at 1:56 pm
    In regard to Willie taking Glavine out after one out in the seventh, this has been his M.O. all year and it really pisses me off (In fact, I posted about this on my blog at

    If Randolph is ready to remove a pitcher at the end of an inning (as he was ready to remove Glavine after the sixth– not that I agreed wigth that, but he was), he usually lets the starter begin the next inning and removes him after the starter gives up his first hit of that inning. (This is exactly what he did with Glavine at his last start and what he has done quite a few times with John Maine).

    In other words, if Glavine had given up a hit to the first batter he faced (doesn’t matter what the hit was. In Willie’s mind, even an infield single counts), Glavine would have been done at that point. If he had been able to get them in order, he would have worked the who seventh and then been taken out.

    I hate this approach. In terms of the discussion earlier on this post, put me in the category that loves to see a 1-0 game, with the pitcher going the distance. It is a shame that complete games have become something of the past. Glavine still had a lot left, I think, and probably would have done a better job getting through the 7th inning then the relievers we got.

    The other thing that drives me crazy is the amount of pitchers used. The Mets has a four run lead starting the seventh and Willie used four pitchers to get through it. There are times, when your pitchers don’t have, when they are blowing leads, you do that. How can you tell if you only let the reliever face one batter?

    Part of my frustration is the way Willie handled it. Part of my frustration is in viewing what baseball has become. Still, I am a die hard Met fan and will continue to follow my team (but also complain about the things I don’t like).

  5. Walnutz15 August 6, 2007 at 2:25 pm
    You wouldn’t be a diehard if you didn’t complain about the things you didn’t like.

    We’re all here along with you — and part of the reason for my “criticism” of Randolph is that he reminds me very much of a guy I once played for.

    He had “his guys”, he didn’t use the “veteran points” system, though — but did the exact opposite, and sided with the recruits that he’d signed, in lieu of the guys that got him on the map in his first season as coach.

    It worked out for awhile, but as we always say — “just because it worked, doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do.” Part of me wishes I could’ve seen what Randolph’s reaction would’ve been, had they dropped Friday’s matinee — he always seems to dodge the bullets that are fired his way. I never root against my team, but the debacle vs. The Nationals (running out of bench players, when it could’ve been avoided) coupled with a very questionable lineup vs. an ace pitcher. Could’ve been a rough patch for Willie.

    I just hope that Randolph realizes that he’s going to have a very young nucleus, in all likelihood, beginning with next season. Beltran as “elder” statesman, Reyes, Wright, Milledge, Gomez, Gotay, et al. manning the fort.

    He’s definitely going to have to play with things, and let them sink or swim in certain situations. To me, Milledge is going to be the most-monitored situation of all, considering I don’t get the sense that Lastings is 100% comfortable in playing under WR.

    Does anyone else get the feeling that Milledge will mysteriously be out of the lineup tomorrow because he stole 2nd base with Glavine at the plate last night? I have this in the back of my head, but I’m hoping it’s not the case….where he’d bench Milledge for an aggressive rookie “mistake” that worked in the Mets favor.

    I know that Willie’s said in the past that certain guys have the green light — and while Milledge did swipe the base, it was a pretty stupid move with 2 outs and the pitcher at the plate.

    If Milledge does have the green light, then it’s Willie’s job to change it to “red” if he doesn’t want him running. It hasn’t been communicated that he was angry, but I could see this being another one of his caveats with rookie players…..”well, Lastings, if you HAD been thrown out, then I’d look foolish over it. Your penalty is one game on the bench. I’m going with Marlon again.”

    Joe: I definitely have a Bobby V bias, just because he was so ridiculously wacky sometimes. But he should be given some credit, based on the teams he had to work with. Granted half the players the Mets signed over the past 3-4 years would’ve never come if he were manager — but Bobby V. was a fun manager to follow.

    What I said was kinda tongue-in-cheek — since I do feel that Willie has sort of a “don’t question me….ever” streak in him.

    *Ramble mode off*

  6. joe August 6, 2007 at 2:44 pm
    Hey I was astounded by Bobby V’s genius — there’s no other manager in baseball, LaRussa included, who could have made it to the WS with an outfield of Timo, Benny, Payton, a hitless wonder at SS, and Glendon Rusch as the #4 starter. There isn’t a question here about his managerial ability. His ego, however, has reached heights beyond a Dave Kingman pop up.
  7. Micalpalyn August 7, 2007 at 10:40 am
    Congratulations Tommy:

    this was a big win for the Mets franchise overall. The loyalty support and class the organization has shown is evident in this milestone. just as much as it was in Piazza’s final contract year.

    I liked the view that Willie is a player’s manager. BUT he needs to temper that some. he is improving in his game calling, but I think the loss of manny acta hurt him.

    On Milledge. Milledge has been ‘scolded’ by some senior Mets. YET Glavine ‘OWES’ this win to Milledge who was THE catalyst. I dont care WHAT Willie says…and U all know he rarely admits to his mistakes…BUT I THINK Milledge had a green light! Whether it was from Rickey or Willie. In fact that was a Rickey-esque play. IF MILLEDGE does not steal would the outcome be different? We know this team loves to score first and early. The Milledge-Reyes-castillo/Gotay speed aggressive play IS the edge of this team.
    ALSO: With milledge in Center the team just won back to back series in Mil and Chi, by far easing the loss of Beltran. Is this luck or timing? Beltran has been playing hurt all yr. How coincidental that Alou is back, milledge is proving himself now Beltran can sit. I bet Beltran comes back hitting the daylights off the ball.

  8. joe August 7, 2007 at 12:32 pm
    let’s trade Beltran to the Yankees for Phil Hughes (after the season)
  9. […] a Brave again, this milestone is somewhat bittersweet. But at least we can say we saw it, and Glavine’s 300th victory — an 8-3 win over the Cubs on August 5th at Wrigley Field — came with the lefty adorned […]