Mets Game 146: Loss to Phillies
If Tom Glavine received a little more support from both the bats and bullpen this year, he’d have at least three to four more wins and be a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Friday night’s game was another example of a gem of a game thrown away.
Unfortunately for Glavine, Jamie Moyer matched him pitch-for-pitch. Actually, that’s not quite right, because Moyer didn’t need quite as many — throwing only 76 pitches in 7 innings to Glavine’s 107 in 7 2/3. Both geezers gave up only two runs and two walks in their stints, with Moyer allow one less hit (4 to Glavine’s 5). Each gave up a homerun. If you weren’t a baseball fan, you might have assumed the same pitcher was throwing for both teams — and been fascinated by the speed with which he could change his uniform between half innings.
The Mets offense was completely stalled by Moyer’s offspeed stuff, with only David Wright and Lastings Milledge hitting the ball hard off the graybeard. D-Wright’s two-run homer was half of the offensive output (Moises Alou drove in a run with a single), and though Milledge doubled, he also hit the ball hard two other times but right at people.
The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the 8th, when the Mets loaded the bases with two out but couldn’t score. J.C. Romero — who has been stunningly effective since plucked off the scrap heap — began the inning by plunking Milledge with a pitch. Carlos Gomez was called on to sac bunt, failed twice, then bunted right back to the box with two strikes. Catcher Carlos Ruiz pounced on the ball and fired to second to get Milledge easily. No matter, because Gomez stole second two pitches later, then advanced to third on an infield bouncer by Jose Reyes to put runners on the corners. Bunter extraordinaire Luis Castillo batted next, and with the speedy Gomez dancing off the third base bag, 90% of the stadium was expecting a squeeze. Instead, Castillo swung away and struck out on three pitches. No matter, because MVP candidate David Wright was the next batter, and 99% of the stadium knew he’d come through with the clutch hit. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was one of those 99% and brought in Tom Gordon to make it look like he was trying. Phortunately for the Phils, Gordon hit Wright with the first pitch, loading the bases for Carlos Beltran. That same 99% recognized the situation all too well: bases loaded, two outs, game-winning hit needed, Beltran batting, a curveball expert on the mound. For most of the crowd at Shea, it appeared to be a good time to hit the men’s room. Predictably, Beltran struck out to end the inning.
Billy Wagner pitched a perfect ninth, striking out the side on 12 pitches. The Mets, however, couldn’t score in the bottom of the frame, and when Aaron Heilman came on to pitch the top of the tenth, most people remembered the plotline. Personally, the moment I saw Aaron jog in from the bullpen, I hightailed it to the #7 train — I’d seen this story before.
Glavine threw more pitches to Jamie Moyer in a third inning at-bat (11) than he did in the entire first inning (8).
Glavine no doubt was kicking himself last night after walking Abraham Nunez on four pitches to lead off the sixth. Nunez eventually came around to score (don’t leadoff walks always seem to do that?) on a Chase Utley homerun, which some mistakenly point to as Glavine’s only mistake of the game (it wasn’t really a mistake, it was a pretty good full-count pitch with Burrell and Howard waiting on deck). In fact, the real mistake was walking Nunez, the 8th hitter with the .241 batting average and zero homeruns in 230+ at-bats. We like to talk about youngsters Ollie Perez and John Maine losing their focus, but the old men are prone to brain farts as well.
Pedro Martinez makes his 2007 debut against an NL East team today at 1:10 PM. Kyle Lohse is the scheduled starter for the Phils.