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Glavine Takes Care of Business

Mike SteffanosFriday, October 6, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 4 - Dodgers 1
Mets lead NLDS 2-0

The Mets have taken the first two games of their series against the Dodgers using a simple, time-tested baseball formula -- they're making the plays and their opponents are not. Oh yeah, and our Hall of Fame bound lefty outpitched their secret weapon. Now the Mets head out to LA with Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez lined up to start those games and can wrap things up with one more win. This was a huge win tonight, and Glavine was magnificent with six shutout innings.

Glavine was sharp out of the box, allowing only a walk to Russell Martin over his first 3 innings of work. Meanwhile, the Mets were putting together better at bats against Hong-Chih Kuo than they did last time they saw him in September. After Kuo skated with a 10 pitch first, the Mets worked him for 27 pitches in the second and 24 in the third. They also scratched out a run in the third when Chavez led off with a bunt single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, moved to third on Glavine's soft grounder, and scored on Reyes' ground ball.

The Dodgers threatened in the fourth when Garciaparra and Kent had 1-out hits off Glavine, but the lefty came back to strikeout J. D. Drew and retire Martin on a fly out to center. The Mets hit 2 balls to the fence in their half of the fourth, but both were kept in the park by the wind. Cliff Floyd's in particular would have hit the scoreboard on a normal night.

Glavine pitched around a Lugo double and a walk to Furcal in the fifth. In the home fifth, Jose Valentin worked a leadoff walk and Chavez followed with a hard single. After Glavine bunted both over, Kuo walked Reyes intentionally and then was lifted by Grady Little. It took Kuo 85 pitches to negotiate 4-1/3 innings. Lo Duca greeted reliever Brett Tomko with a sac fly that put the Mets up 2-0.

Glavine worked a scoreless sixth, then the Mets scratched out another two runs. Julio Franco came up with the bases loaded and hit a soft ground ball to Furcal that the Dodgers failed to turn into a double play, and then Reyes drove in his second run of the game with a single.

Pedro Feliciano pitched a scoreless seventh in relief of Glavine. Heilman got touched up on a long solo homer by Wilson Betemit in the eighth to make it 4-1, but allowed nothing else, and Wagner notched his second post-season save with a flawless ninth.

Thoughts on the game
The Mets simply outplayed the Dodgers. Endy Chavez did a great job sparking the offense from the eight hole, Glavine was magnificent and the bullpen was great, too. The Mets made all the plays while the Dodgers were a little shaky, and the Mets were clearly the better team tonight -- as they were yesterday. Their bullpen was also much better.

It's doubtful the Mets will take anything for granted in LA this weekend with Trachsel and Oliver Perez starting games for them, but they did what they had to do by holding serve at home, and now they need to end this thing in Los Angeles.

Box Score

Comments (13)

The Mets are setting the standard for future series. Five innings or more is a plus. Solid bullpen to pitch the rest is a must.

The days of using the 3,4,5 guys to pitch relief is over.

You heard it here fist folks!

I had a couple of thoughts:

Call me crazy, but I felt that the first turning point of the game occurred when Cliff Floyd required eleven pitches before striking out in the 2nd. The next batter, Valentin, made out too, but to my (possibly wishful) thinking Kuo took to nibbling more after Floyd frustrated him on pitch after pitch. It's something we've seen before -- I remember Lenny Dykstra accomplishing the same thing years ago -- and I believe it is something to which a rookie is particularly succeptable: when good pitch after good pitch doesn't result in the desired effect, a kid pitcher will stray a little farther from the strike zone, maybe get himself into a hole with a batter, not to mention the fatiguing effects of throwing those extra pitches. I think a veteran pitcher is less likely to fall prey to that trap; witness Aaron Heilman coming back strong after giving up the home run to Betemit after a long AB.

The plan, to nibble away at the tough lefthander, worked as well as it did in part because this Dodger team simply isn't as good a defensive outfit as the Mets; they couldn't stop the attack. Somewhere recently I read one of those articles of who deserves the Gold Gloves this season naming Nomar Garciaparra; I hope that writer saw this game. Nomar completely misplayed the bunt by Chavez in the 3rd, and looked "wrong" a few other times; and he was not alone among the Dodger defenders. By contrast, DelGado, who is not our strongest defensive link, did his job as necessary, managing two tag out plays in the 9th on off-line throws by Reyes. As a unit the Mets are far the superior team; the Dodgers have no answer to Wright, Valentin, Beltran and Chavez.

I'm no huge fan of Little Ball(no relation), but I throughly enjoyed this display.

Oh, yeah; another thought: sorry to bring it up, but NOW is when the series gets dicey; because we're not out of it I suppose. If we're going Trachsel and Perez, then I can easily imagine a game 5 happening.

Of course the Mets could slug their way out of this problem, and here's hoping they do. But if it was me doing this, I'd consider an all-bullpen game 4. Give Perez the start, I guess, but give him no leash at all; have Darren Oliver ready to go from the 1st inning on. I think that the circumstances dictate, even demand such an approach.

So that's 2.

Let's finish this tomorrow shall we?

Attention ESPN and FOX, Tom Glavine is a good pitcher. All we heard as Kuo, Kuo, Kuo. How he would shut down the Mets. Hey, did you think that maybe Glavine would shut down the Dodgers?
Guess not.

Another nice win.
I'm loving it!

Patrick - There aren't that many teams that have a bullpen as deep as the Mets have.
dd - I agree with you on Cliff's AB. I also think you're reasoning on game 4 is sound, and I suspect Willie won't give Trachsel that long of a leash in game 3, either. This is undoubtedly where it gets dicey.
Ed - On top of Glavine getting zero credit, how come I keep reading how great Kuo pitched? He lasted 4-1/3, gave up 2 runs, should have been more, and both Wright and Floyd had potential homeruns kept in by the wind. And I keep reading how good he pitched.

Hi Mike, I said I pray we will have some good things to talk about when I get back from vac.Man this can't get any better. I must admit as I caught the last inning of the first game in my hotel, I was popping tums and told my wife I am getting to old for this, and this is only the first game. That first game was huge for us, even as the vultures were gathering overhead, the pitching came up strong and shot them down. Just one more win and then it's onward and upward we go. I am proud of this team, I will have to buy a new Met hat soon. My old one is really old. I need a new one for this new Met team.The old one is from 1969 Mets. They won 100 and lost 62 that year.I did'nt take tums in those days, I just popped open another can of beer. A case of beer a day was no problem for me, for my wife it was, but I thought I was just fine. LORD have mercy. So tums is doing OK for 30 years now. Maybe thats why I don't remember to many 9th innings in those days.The best is yet to come. LETS GO METS.

Hi Rev, welcome back. Please say another prayer for Steve Trachsel and Oliver Perez.

I loved that run Endy helped create on the basepaths, via three batted balls (which must have traveled no more than 180 feet combined) and a wild pitch. In fact, the wild pitch was probably the ball that traveled fastest and furthest in the whole sequence.

Five innings from Traxx tomorrow night, with fewer than three runs allowed, would be heavenly. Is that too much to ask from our "W" leader? I think not.

Well, my friends, it appears fundamentally sound baseball beats out trying to finesse it. Additionally, bad in-game managing is going to cost you, as the first game's effects poured over into the second's (Little didn't save any lefthanders to come out and face us in key spots). Finally, you could tell that Willie's style of motivation has played a factor, because we've looked ready to fight to the death from the gate.

Let's Go Mets, and Let's Go Trachsel, because after seeing how he performed in the clincher, I think he has it in him to pitch the game of his life tomorrow. But that's just me.

NostraDennis - Sounds good to me. I'd sign up for that from Trachsel right now.
Matt - I think our bullpen advantage proved to be a bigger deal than most gave it credit for being, too.

When all our trades were going on I thought we were in trouble not getting one or two top starters. I just seen us getting bullpen guys and didn't see it as a need. Hats off to our GM and his staff for seeing how to strenghten the pitching staff with the bullpen. I think in the off year we may see a new pitcher or two in the rotation and continue to keep the bullpen strong.NostraDennis put my name down allso for a Trachsel solid five.

Rev - I look at it this way - the goal of most teams is to work a starter, make him throw a lot of pitches and get him out of the game. The purpose of this is to get into the other team's middle relief, which usually isn't very good. But the Mets go 5 deep in top quality pitchers in the bullpen (Wagner, Heilman, Mota, Feliciano, Bradford) and have 3 others (Hernandez, Ring, Oliver) who are better than average. That was Omar's philosophy in building a strong pen, and it was a good one.

Mike,what do you see as possible in the off year in fine tunning this team.

Rev - Let's hold off on that until after the playoffs. I don't even want to look ahead at this point.

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