Braves 10 Phillies 6
Starter Chuck James surrendered four runs before finishing four innings, but the bullpen kept the team in the game the rest of the way as the Braves came charging back and eventually pushed past the Phillies. Andruw Jones had a three-hit day, Mark Teixeira hit a three-run homer and Chipper Jones had a two-run shot to help boost the Braves.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said, “Our team knows what they have to do.”
Braves manager Bobby Cox was more complete, saying, “We know what we have to do. We have to win.”
Fascinating stuff, guys!
(Nationals 10 Mets 9)
Meantime, in Flushing, Tom Glavine was terrible, Aaron Sele proved his worthlessness, and the Mets played like a bunch of sloppy zombies until there was one out in the bottom of the ninth, at which point they exploded for six runs before manager Willie Randolph informed the team that the Phillies had already lost and there was no need to strain themselves. Jose Reyes was 3-for-5 with two homers and 4 RBI in the losing cause.
This is a really unorthodox strategy of winning a division (waiting for the second-place team to lose), but if it works, I guess it’s okay. I’m having a really hard time, though, rooting for Chipper and the Braves (to the point where, I refuse to disrespect him by calling him “Larry”).
Moises Alou remains red-hot, going 4-for-5 with 3 RBI — all the RBI coming on his ninth-inning, bases-clearing double.
Shawn Green was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. He had a fantastic at-bat in the second, in which he worked the count full and then fouled off seven pitches before stroking an RBI single up the middle. He received a standing ovation upon reaching first base. After collecting his 2000th career hit in the sixth, I thought he was getting another standing O, then realized everyone was actually standing up for the Pepsi T-shirt toss.
Willie Randolph stunned everyone by bringing in Carlos Muniz for his MLB debut with the Mets down by only three in the sixth. Didn’t he say you can’t force-feed the babies into the pennant race? (Personally, I was so overjoyed I nearly fell out of my seat.)
After the eighth inning, instead of playing “Sweet Caroline” (ugh), the Shea Stadium organist broke into — of all things — a jazzy rendition of “Crocodile Rock”. I turned to my friend and said, “Why the heck are they playing Crocodile Rock?” To which he answered, “Because he can play whatever he wants — who’s gonna stop him?” It was true. At the time, the Mets were down by 6 runs, Aaron Sele was on the mound, the bottom of the lineup was due up for the home team for last licks, and everyone was leaving the stadium — the organist could have been playing Dueling Banjos and no one would have cared. (And yeah, we were among the tens of thousands of fans who were on the #7 train during the ninth-inning rally.)
Tim Hudson goes to the hill against Kyle Lohse in a 7:05 PM start in Citizens Bank Park. Another win by the Braves will make the Mets magic number three.
If it matters, Philip Humber makes his first Major League start for the Mets in the finale against the Nationals, who will send former Met and current soft-tosser Mike Bacsik to the mound. Game time is 7:10 PM.
About the Author
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.