Mets 4 Reds 2
Tom Glavine failed again in his attempt to win his 12th game, but he likely bought Chad Bradford dinner for avoiding his 4th loss.
Glavine was throwing an excellent game until the seventh, when Ryan Freel led off with a double, was sacrificed to third, and then was joined on the bases by Adam Dunn and Rich Aurilia, who both walked. ChadBrad came in and struck out Scott Hatteberg — one of the most difficult batters to K in MLB — and induced a harmless grounder from Brandon Phillips to end the inning unscathed. It was a magnificent performance by the Chad, and it completely destroyed the Reds’ hopes of winning the game.
However, it took three more innings for the Mets batters to react to the performance, when they finally broke out with two runs in the top of the tenth. It started with a leadoff double by Xavier Nady. As it’s often been in the late innings this year, Endy Chavez drove in Nady with the go-ahead run with another double. Carlos Beltran, succumbing to the power of suggestion, added a third double to drive in Chavez and seal the victory. Billy Wagner finished off the Reds in the bottom of the tenth without so much of a whimper coming from the Cincinnati bats.
Cliff Floyd stayed hot with another bomb, and he’s borderline unconscious right now. Carlos Delgado added a bomb of his own, on what looked like a very tough pitch to hit, so we’re hopeful he’s on his way back to being the monster we saw in April. If Delgado can resume his mashing now, while Floyd is hot and Beltran and Wright continue to be rock-solid, the NL East race could be over in a hurry.
Don’t look now, but the Braves are on a hot streak and just picked up Bob Wickman from the Indians. It took three and a half months for all the writers, radio buffoons, and other pundits to write off the Braves for ’06, then they go and become significant again. True, they’re 12 games back, but they’re the Braves, and therefore as Mets fans we need to be concerned. If they continue rolling and then sweep the Mets in Atlanta next weekend, all of a sudden it’s a race and we might not have the arms in the rotation to handle a September dash.
OK, I admit that’s just the longtime Met fan in me looking in the rearview mirror. Just the same I’d like the see the Mets sweep the Braves next weekend and bury them for good.
El Duque vs. Taylor Buchholz tonight. After getting bombed by the Cubs on July 5th, Buchholz strung together five strong outings, then was mediocre against the Marlins in his last start. At times he’s looked dominating, other times like an overmatched 24-year-old.
In comparison, El Duque has been either lights out or bombs away. Which Hernandez shows up today is anybody’s guess. After getting chased from the game in the second inning on Sunday, El Duque will hopefully leverage his pride for a good outing.
It would be nice to take two of three from the ‘stros, and we have John Maine on Saturday facing Brandon Backe, who is making his first start since April. How Backe will do is a crapshoot, but there’s a good chance he’ll be less than stellar. On Sunday Mike Pelfrey will face Roy Oswalt, which sounds like a daunting match for the rookie, but Oswalt has been struggling with a nagging back injury for the last month or so. This could be as good a time as any for the Mets back-end rotation to be matching up against Houston.