By Mike Steffanos
It's a shame the Mets had to sweep the Braves in Atlanta on the weekend before the trade deadline. Then again, there are quite a few pundits out there that are probably grateful that the hype has distracted baseball fans from paying much attention to just badly their predictions have panned out. First they told us the Braves were going to win the NL east again with that dysfunctional bullpen. They laid low for a while as the Braves had that horrendous month of June, then came back with a vengeance when the Braves put a little streak together before and after the All-Star break. The Braves were going to show all of us that had written them off, right? How did that work out?
The Braves may actually be able to climb to the top of that pile of mediocrity that is the 2006 NL wild card race, but they have 9 clubs in front of them now, and should probably make up those 8 games they're sitting below the break-even mark before they talk much about the playoffs. Then again, given their track record with talking coming into this series, they might want to consider putting a sock in it and going on silent running for a while. Just a thought.
Before we turn the page on this, I'd like to give a special shout out to the writer that annoyed me the most with his pre-season prediction, Baseball Prospecus' Joe Sheehan. Joe, who is apparently a fan of the other New York team, felt that both the Braves and Phillies would finish ahead of the Mets in 2006. That's right, Joe looked at the acquisitions of Billy Wagner, Carlos Delgado and Duaner Sanchez, among others, and felt they would add up to one freaking win improvement over 2005 to 84-78. Joe felt the Braves would 90 with their dynamic bullpen, and the Phillies would win 86 with their terrific starting pitching. Then again, perhaps Joe was just looking for a reason to pick against the Mets. By the way, it costs money to read that web site. Jeez...
To give some deserved credit along with the virtual raspberry, I liked a piece by Joe very much in which he called Bud Selig to task for chasing casual fans at the expense of devoted fans and the game itself.
For something a lot less annoying from Baseball Prospectus, in today's Future Shock column, Kevin Goldstein offers the following on pitcher Phil Humber:
Humber has been receiving rave reviews of late, and he looks to be all the way back from Tommy John surgery, showing the same stuff that made him the third overall pick in 2004. On Saturday, the former Rice star struck out seven over five shutout innings, and in his last four starts, he's giving up just one earned run in 23 innings with twice as many strikeouts (22) as hits allowed (11). The Mets have no need to rush Humber; he'll likely finish the year with a handful of starts at Double-A Binghamton, where he was pitching last year when the elbow finally snapped. While mid-2007 as a date for a big league debut seemed far too optimistic a month ago, it sounds about right now.
I know everyone is over at MetsBlog keeping up with the latest rumors, and I'm right there with you. Still, I'm kind of hoping that the reason that John Maine doesn't have his next start scheduled doesn't have anything to do with him not being here after today. I'd love to see a successful young rotation built around Maine, Humber and Mike Pelfrey when the Mets move into those new digs in 2009. Just a thought, now I'll let you get back to your trade rumors.
Bergen Record: Glavine Mad?
Steve Popper offers up this nugget from after yesterday's game:
[Glavine] has seemed frustrated at times this year with Willie Randolph's timing in pulling him from games and although he didn't seem pleased to be gone an inning shy of the required five innings to get the win, he wasn't going to gripe.
"I don't want to get into that," Glavine said. "The manager took me out of the game and that's the deal."
I respect Tom Glavine as a competitor, but if he's really mad at Willie for yesterday, then he's a fool -- or at least fooling himself. He got staked to a big lead, and was hemorrhaging it back to the Braves almost as fast. He was over 100 pitches already after 4 innings. It was time to go, and the opportunity to sweep Atlanta was more important than Glavine's feelings, period.
Daily News: More Glavine
Adam Rubin quotes the Mets veteran lefty on his recent struggles:
I'm not that far off. It's just that I'm getting in some situations where I'm not making pitches that I want when I have a chance to put guys away. Or, I'm not making pitches when I want to when there's guys in scoring position. Most of it is probably mental - feeling comfortable again and trying to make the pitches I want to make. My side sessions are good. My warmups are good. I get in the game and I'm either putting too much pressure on myself or trying too hard to be perfect.
I watched him pretty closely yesterday and I thought he was close to getting back on track, too. I'm not sure that we'll ever see the Glavine we saw for two months at the end of last year and two more at the beginning of this one, but I think he'll be okay. Jamie Moyer did good after the age of 40 with less velocity than Glavine still possesses, it's just a matter of executing.
Newsday: The Defeated
Ken Davidoff gives us a peak inside the losing locker room.