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Mets Come From Behind Again In Florida

Mike SteffanosThursday, September 14, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 7 - Marlins 4 (11)

The Mets came from behind in the ninth inning, then rode some sloppy Marlins play in the eleventh inning to score 3 times and put a serious hurt on the post-season aspirations of the Fish. It was victory number 90 on the season for the Mets, and lowered their magic number over the Phillies to 2.

After starting the game with 3 very strong innings, Tom Glavine ran into trouble in the home fourth. Miguel Cabrera had a one out single, and came around on Josh Willingham's double. Reyes' error allowed Willingham to advance to third where he scored on a sac fly by Wes Helms.

The Mets finally broke through on Marlins starter Scott Olsen in the sixth. Olsen walked Glavine with 1 out, then Reyes' single advanced Glavine to second. A passed ball by Miguel Olivo allowed both runners to advance, and both scored on Lo Duca's double. After Beltran grounded out for the second out, Olsen intentionally walked David Wright to pitch to Julio Franco. Franco foiled the strategy with an RBI single that momentarily eluded RF Joe Borchard, but recovered in time to throw Wright out at the plate for the final out. 3-2 Mets.

As is too often the case with Glavine, the lead didn't survive an inning. A hanging changeup to Willingham with a man on resulted in a 2-run homer that put the Marlins back up 4-3. Olsen, with a little help from his fielders, made that lead stand up until Joe Borowski came in for the ninth. With 2 outs and runners on first and second, pinch hitter Carlos Delgado hit a ball that 3B Cabrera couldn't come up with that tied the game at 4.

Solid work from the bullpen, including 2 innings from Heilman, kept the game tied, and the Mets finally broke things open with the help of some sloppy Fish defense in the 11th. Jose Valentin had a 1-out double, then pinch hitter Shawn Green was hit by a pitch. Ricky Ledee hit a grounder to 2B Dan Uggla that looked like a sure double play, but Uggla misplayed it and was only able to get the force at second with Valentin advancing to third. Another by passed ball by Miguel Olivo allowed Valentin to score. Reyes hit a ball in the hole that Hanley Ramirez had no play on but to attempt to get Ledee at third. His wild throw allowed Ledee to score and Reyes to advance to second, where he scored on Lo Duca's single.

Wagner came in and allowed only yet another bloop single -- he's one unlucky little redneck -- in nailing down his 38th save of the season.

Thoughts on the game
Tom Glavine pitched well today, but he has that exasperating habit of giving a lead right back. Usually it's on a series of hits, but today it was on one bad pitch. That actually does make me feel a little better about it. Here's Glavine's updated chart:

Tom Glavine
Total (6 Games)37.118173628934.101.214-2

This is a better Tom Glavine than we saw during those rough two months he had. I hope he continues to tighten it up and acquits himself well in the playoffs.

The bullpen was spectacular again tonight. Mota was able to overcome Lo Duca's throwing error in the eighth that put Ramirez on third with no outs. He struck out Uggla and Willingham, then popped up Helms for the final out. The Mets aren't in a position to tie in the ninth if he doesn't do that. Heilman struck out 3 while allowing nothing in 2 innings, and Wagner -- though unlucky again -- was overpowering once more.

Miguel Olivo will never win a gold glove as a catcher.

Milledge had a nice night with 2 hits and a couple of fine catches.

The Phillies and Braves play one more tomorrow. If the Braves win -- and that could be a long shot, since they seem to have absolutely quit on the season -- the magic number will be one, and the Mets can control their own fate Friday night in Pittsburgh. The Mets will be facing 3 lefties in Pittsburgh: Paul Maholm, Tom Gorzelanny and Zach Duke. Pedro goes Friday night, followed by Orlando Hernandez and John Maine.

The Mets off-day tomorrow is the last scheduled during the regular season.

Box Score

Comments (5)

Watching Heilman, I think I am watching the next closer to come into the spotlight. Have you noticed how Heilman coughs on the mound. Like Sid Fernandez use to do. I used to think he was sick and ready for a 911 call to the mound. Its just nerves for both of them, I hope.

Watching these last two games, three names occurred to me: Royce Ring, Henry Owens, Heath Bell. Three guys who can't hardly get arrested in New York; but if the Fish had those three to call upon there wouldn't be any Wild Card race, the Marlins would be wrapping it up about now.

If must be extra tough, trying to maintain a rooting interest in this team. Obviously the Marlins have developed a core of talented young players to build upon for next season. But what is likely, at least if most of my fan's experience holds true, is that this core will probably regress a little bit next year, as young pitchers deal with the increased workload, hitters become more generally known around the league -- anyway, it usually happens for whatever reason. There are exceptions, of course, two being the 1985 Mets and the 1992 Braves; but most teams that take huge leaps forward take a small step back the following year. Call it a consolidation of earlier gains, or a profit taking like in the stock market.

That's when cash dollars is needed; that's when the ability to patch the leaks that spring up becomes so vital -- and this team won't have that ability. Loria is living off the luxury tax paid by the Yankees, Sox, Mets and a few other teams; he's not going to extend himself to take the final step with this team.

There is the little matter of attendance at the Fish ballgames; Miami has not supported this team that so richly deserves their support. But how can we know how good a baseball town Miami MIGHT be? When was a fan population ever submitted to more betrayals and sucker punches than the Marlins fans? And now they have my very least favorite baseball human for an owner. I love good baseball, I particularly enjoy seeing the young talent develop, but I wonder if I'd be going to the games if I lived down there.

Hanley Ramirez and Mike Jacobs, Josh Johnson and Scott Olsen have a lot to overcome. I don't know if you can overcome it all by just playing baseball.

REV AL -- I don't think I've ever seen someone spit quite as often as Aaron, either.
dd -- What have Mets fans like you and me been supporting for all of these years? How many times have we felt betrayed over the years? But we support our team, especially when they're fighting for the playoffs. The Marlins bullpen this year is no worse than the 2004 Mets 'pen. Marlins fans have watched 2 World Championships in their short existence while Cub fans wonder if they'll ever see one. It's hard for me to feel sorry for these fans. We've gone through more for longer.

The magic number is 2 and we have 90 wins. 13 more than the next team in the NL!

In other words; I expect the 6-man rotation to continue, and Humber and even to get a start or two. I'd like to see pelfrey in relief. With the glut of starters right now I'd like to see Omar put Pelfrey in the pen for next yr, learn the NL (and his offspeed stuff)then compete for a rotation spot in '08.

Milledge is slowly quietened his critics. In the playoffs and beyond it makes sense to have a LH/RH platoon in RF. His play yesterday was enhanced by the auspicious play in the field by Green previously in Ollie's start. In comparing efforts Glavine's and Ollie's were quite similar. Wes Helm's would have had an out with Endy in the field the day before, that WAS an out (SF) vs Glavine. And Willingham hit them both. Again I ask why did we have our 3 lefties in a row vs FLA?

The bullpen is as good as can be right now. Bert, Mota, Heilman, Bradford and Wags are air-tight. Mota has been the Sept MVP, his addition has made the August Bullpen leak go away. Amazing how much difference one arm makes. Add Sanchez and WOW.

I could see your point on Pelfrey, but the bullpen might be good enough that he might be better served starting in AAA.

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