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Rocky Mountain Low

Mike SteffanosTuesday, July 3, 2007
By Mike Steffanos

Rockies 6 - Mets 2
Played Monday, July 2, 2007

Tom Glavine managed to escape some first inning difficulty last night, but the third inning wouldn't be quite so kind to him. The Rockies sent 11 men to the plate as they utilized 5 singles, a home run and a couple of walks to plate six runs. To Glavine's credit, he came back with 3 scoreless innings to save the bullpen, but the Mets offense spent most of the night missing in action.

First Glavine. I'm inclined not to get too worked up over this start. Unlike the stinkers against the Tigers and Yankees last month, he did a good job of minimizing the damage in every inning but the third. He was in trouble a couple of other times but danced out of it. Essentially the fourth starter on this club now, I'm thinking Glavine will be respectable enough at the end of the year.

Tom Glavine (Last 5 Starts)
Season (18 Games)108.256531145239144.391.4110-8

View Tom Glavine's Full Season Stats

I have more concerns over the offense. Yet again, we saw an average- to below-average starter dominate this club with an almost criminally low pitch count. I understand there are days when the starter is throwing strikes that taking pitches will only put the batter in a hole. The problem is that we have seen a lot of these games over the last month or so, and that speaks to a problem with discipline on the part of the hitters. This still has the feel of an offense that has become dependent on the long ball to score.

Having Alou out has the certainly hurt the team, but the problems run deeper than that. When things go right this is an attack that can put a lot of pressure on a pitcher, but when things go wrong there is a disturbing tendency to allow the pitcher to impose his will on the game. Again, there are days when a team is just overwhelmed by a great pitching performance, even by a mediocre pitcher having a good day, but it's happening too often.

Compounding the problem with prolonged slumps by middle of the lineup hitters is the diminished production from the bottom of the order. Jose Valentin's power has dropped off since returning from the injury. More disturbing is that he has only worked one walk in 67 plate appearances since his return after walking 9 times in April before the injury. This speaks to trying too hard and a loss of discipline to me.

Shawn Green had a couple of hits last night but, as I mentioned previously, put up an anemic .182/.229/.318 line in June after his return. This is a team that's simply much easier to pitch to than they were last year. There is plenty of time to change that, and I think they really have to if they are going to accomplish what they hope to do this season.

Box Score

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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Comments (3)

Hey Mike, You are 100% on about letting oposing pitchers impose their will. Watching these games it seems like the Mets go up hacking early and getting behind fast. I have thought for a while that there is a need to work pitchers. How many pitchers have you seen get to the 7th-8th around or under 100 pitches. Its definatly worrisome.

I think we may be underestimating Alou's absence and it's effect on our lineup. Carlos Gomez (though improving) and Ricky LeDee are no real replacement for a bat the caliber (or that was the caliber) of Alou. Even Cliffy last year was better until. August. Omar may have to start considering the possiblity of trading Lastings Milledge or another prospect for a productive righthanded bat. God, I hope it isn't Sosa.

Dan - Alou is definitely important to this lineup, but he's naturally an aggressive hitter who won't take a lot of pitches. The patience will need to come from other places.

I can't see trading for a right-handed bat if Alou is going to come back. I'd like to see Milledge himself get a chance, and I suspect he will soon after the break.

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