Archive: May 5th, 2006

The K Watch

Though it is surprising that Tom Glavine is not only leading the NL in ERA, but is also second in strikeouts with 41, there’s something even more surprising among the NL pitching leaders.

A few days ago I posted the fact that Jorge “Kulio” Julio was averaging close to 18 strikeouts per nine innings. Well, with his one-inning, three-K performance last night, he is now tied for 24th in the NL in strikeouts. That may not seem like a big deal, but consider this: he has just as many Ks as Dontrelle Willis, more than Brandon Webb, and is one strikeout behind Ben Sheets and Jake Peavy. And he’s done this in only 14 innings.


Game 28: Win

Mets 6 Pirates 0

Vintage Glavine

Tom Glavine has evolved similarly to an aged fine wine; as an aficionado such as Steve Trachsel might tell you, a wine can go through a “dumb” or “funky” stage before reaching its finest flavors, in its peak years of drinking. Glavine may very well have gone through the “dumb stage” of his career from 2003 to the first half of 2005. However, it appears that he has evolved beyond that funky part and is now in his “second” prime. Not unlike his former teammate Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine has been performing at a vintage level.

As if Glavine’s remarkable lack of run support in his history with the Mets wasn’t challenging enough, Mr. Willie added a second wrench by sitting Carlos Delgado and giving Julio Franco a start at first base. But it didn’t matter, because not only did the Mets explode for six runs, Glavine only needed one. He would likely have pitched a complete-game shutout, but Mr. Willie had to of course follow his little book and take Tommy out after seven innings, as he was nearing 100 pitches. Duaner Sanchez threw yet another perfect inning of relief, and Jorge Julio finished the game by striking out the side in the ninth.

So far my prediction for Xavier Nady is not panning out; where I was sure he’d be hitting around .190 at this point, instead he is well over .300 and hitting a bomb every week. As I’m still a Victor Diaz fan, and my negativity toward Nady seems to be working as a reverse curse, I’ll continue to root against him.

Next up is a three-game series with the Braves. We have Steve Trachsel, Victor Zambrano, and possiby Jose Lima going against Kyle Davies, Tim Hudson, and Jorge Sosa. I think we should be overjoyed if we win one out of these three, and not worry too much if we get swept. However, this ugly back end of the rotation needs to be addressed, and I don’t mean by Jose Lima licking the stamp. At some point, Mr. Willie and Ultimo Minaya need to reconsider the stupidity of keeping a talent like Heilman out of the rotation — especially if Jorge Julio continues to progress.

Even if Julio does not gain the Mets’ confidence, I’d think we’re a stronger team with Heath Bell in the ‘pen and Heilman in the rotation, than with a situation of Trax/VZam/LimaTime starting 60% of the team’s games.


Game 27: Win

Mets 4 Pirates 3

In a swamp-soaked game, Pedro Martinez pitched as though the game were meant to be played under a waterfall. For at least three innings, the conditions were so awful that it was difficult to watch the game on TV, as the rain was coming down hard enough to obscure the cameras. Yet through it all, Pedro smiled, slung, and swashbuckled through the Pirates batters, mowing them down like an overgrown lawn.

Despite pitching brilliantly through six, and throwing only 72 pitches, Pedro was lifted for pinch hitter Jose (ugh) Valentin, just after Endy Chavez doubled in Cliff Floyd for the go-ahead run. Why? We’re not sure. I’m going to guess that Mr. Willie was looking out for Pedro’s health; with the conditions the way they were, there had to be concern for Pedro accidentally slipping — with the Mets’ hopes for 2006 sliding with him. If the conditions were dry and warm, I have to believe that Pedro stays in to hit for himself, and quite possibly finishes the game.

As it was, Aaron Heilman came in and threw two perfect innings before yielding the 3-1 lead to Billy Wagner to close out the game. The minute Wagner came into the game, I knew it was a mistake, for several reasons. First, if you are going to take out Pedro for safety reasons, why would you risk Wagner, who may very well have as much value this year? Second, Heilman was dominating in his two-inning stint, and considering the conditions, it would seem that one would leave him out there, as he’d conquered the mud, the rain, the mound, and was ready to keep on plowing. Third, since Heilman had already thrown two innings, he was already a scratch for the next game, so why not leave him in for one more? Whether he pitches two or three innings makes no difference in regard to his availability on Friday. Finally, because of the wet conditions, it did not make sense to bring in a fresh pitcher, who would have to adjust to the game mound, when the current hurler was doing just fine. But Willie being Willie, and going by that godforsaken “book” he stole from Joe Torre, he had to bring in Billy to save the day.

As it turned out, Billy barely got his footing, and was throwing all over the place. I’m surprised he didn’t hurt himself, especially with his six and a half foot stride. By the time it was all over, it was a tie ballgame.

Thankfully, we have Carlos Delgado this year, and he took the game back in the 12th with an opposite-field bomb.

Note: Endy Minaya — er, Chavez — went 4-5 and could have easily gone 5-5 if the official scorer didn’t score his last time on base as an error (it could have gone either way). He also made an unbelievable diving catch that the post-Cameron Carlos Beltran was definitely not diving for. Though I still think he looks more like an American Legion player than a MLB player, he’s starting to grow on me. With his speed and hustle, and penchant for comign up with big hits, he looks like he’ll be a significant sub on this potentially playoff-bound team.