By Mike Steffanos
Mets 8 - Phillies 1
After his first two seasons in New York, 300 wins seemed like an unobtainable goal for Tom Glavine. The 39-year-old had only managed 20 wins combined, was declining in effectiveness and was 38 wins short of that plateau. It's been well-documented how Glavine was willing to reinvent himself as a pitcher, with the result that only 7 wins stand between the veteran lefty and baseball immortality. It's a testament to the adaptability of Tom Glavine that he has managed to climb two notches closer to 300 wins in his last two starts despite issuing an uncharacteristic 8 walks in 12 innings of work. It's probably also a testament to Philadelphia's early-season tendency to put lots of men on base, but convert few of them into runs.
Glavine attributes the unGlavine-like wildness to a lack of feel for his pitches due to the weather better suited for ice skates than baseball cleats. As for the Phillies, they just seem to be floundering under the weight of the expectations they placed upon themselves. Sure, their bullpen is pretty bad, but their offense has been lacking and the starting pitching has been disappointing. I don't think you can write any team off with 150 games to play, but I'm starting to believe that I overrated this team. Not that I bought into all of the silly hype in the media this spring, but I thought that their starting pitching and the way they gelled as a team would translate into their usual 86 wins despite the bullpen. Then again, I assumed they would trade either Rowand or Lieber for bullpen help.
The Phillies sit dead last in the National League with a 5.38 team ERA, and they are in the middle of the pack offensively. Both areas will probably improve, but it's going to take a lot of effort from them to get within spitting distance of the division race. Still, the same guys who were gushing about this club in March are now completely writing them off. I have a feeling they are as wrong now as they were then.
Here is an updated pitching chart for Glavine through 4 starts:
|TOTAL (4 Games)||23.1||10||7||20||11||11||3||2.70||1.33||3-1|
I know I'm stating the obvious when I say that Glavine isn't going to get off this easy in games where he pitches to a WHIP of 1.8+. As I've said before, though, I'm going to resist the urge to read too much into performances during the extreme weather.
The Joses -- Reyes and Valentin -- have turned into one heck of a shortstop-second base combo, one of the best defensive pairings at that position in Mets history. Watching them work together this young season now that they are fully used to playing together has been a pleasure.
Congrats to David Wright for the hitting streak, although you could put me down as one that doesn't believe in streaks that continue from one season to the next. I'd be willing to trade that whole streak for some better hitting in RBI situations, anyway.
Moises Alou has done pretty much what he was signed to do with the bat, but his defense has been somewhat of a revelation. I don't know who would "win" a footrace between Alou and Shawn Green, perhaps they would both lose, but the difference in their defense is the great jumps that Alou gets on balls and the smart way he plays. A slow corner outfielder can make up for his lack of foot speed with his brain, and Alou is proof of that. I know Chavez came in for Alou last night after the game was already all but decided, but in close games I think Green will almost always be the OF that is replaced defensively.