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300

Mike SteffanosMonday, August 6, 2007
By Mike Steffanos


Mets 8 - Cubs 3
Played Sunday, August 5, 2007

I have to confess that the emotion I felt watching Glavine's 300th win last night wasn't what it would have been if Dwight Gooden had managed to overcome his demons and win 300 games in a Mets uniform. Unlike some Yankees fans that seem to feel some moronic need to appropriate Doc and Darryl Strawberry as their own, I'm actually very comfortable with the fact that Glavine will be going into the Hall of Fame as an Atlanta Brave. His best years -- and 3/4 of his career -- were spent there.

On the other hand, I experienced no real mixed emotions watching him earn the milestone victory as a Met. After 5 years here, he looks like a New York Met to me. We may have never had the Cy Young winning Tom Glavine during his New York tenure, but he's been a pro. I guess it bothers some people that he wanted to return to Atlanta this past winter, but there was nothing clandestine about it, and I can understand his desire to be with his family more. Besides, I remember Glavine's efforts in recruiting Billy Wagner and appreciate the terrific mentor he has been to this young staff here.

Tom Glavine (Last 5 Starts)
DateOpp.IPRERHKBBHRERAWHIPTeam Result
7/14CIN81125011.130.25W
7/19@LAD2661001227.005.50W
7/25PIT63382314.501.83W
7/31@MIL61122501.501.17L
8/5@CHC6.12261102.841.11W
Season (24 Games)14472691476350184.311.3715-9

View Tom Glavine's Full Season Stats

Having said all of that, I'm also grateful that Glavine's historic win is in the past. I don't think the Mets needed the distraction that this milestone might have become had it been delayed much longer. There are important pennant race games to be played, and I'm glad 100% of the focus can be on that.

There were some in the New York media who tried to paint the decision to replace Rick Down as hitting coach of this club as something out of the pre-senile George Steinbrenner's playbook of making someone pay for a lack of success. Others pointed to it as a sign that the feel-good era of everyone getting along -- which was a myth in the first place - was crashing to a halt. Either point of view conveniently ignored the fact that this is a fairly common baseball move to try to shake up the dynamic of a struggling team that continues to display an unacceptable approach.

While it would be silly to give Howard Johnson all of the credit for the patience this team is showing at the plate right now, it would be equally foolish to say that the same thing would have happened if Down stayed. This team did need a kick in the pants, and if paid off with the way they have been working opposing pitchers the last couple of weeks. Moreover, the patience at the plate has also been reflected in the number of clutch RBIs we've seen recently. Opposing pitchers can no longer count on Mets batters to get themselves out by chasing bad pitches any longer.

The Mets would not have won 4 of 6 on this tough road trip with the offensive approach they had a month ago. While their offense is hardly perfect, it is dramatically improved. If Beltran returns and Shawn Green is relegated to the bench, it can only get better.

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 (5)

I agree about your comments regarding both Glavine and the firing of Downs and the promtion of HoJo. I think there are a few reasons why the Mets lineup, of late, has looked alot sharper.

-First, Delgado isn't hitting .200 anymore. His batting average is near .255 now, which translates into him hitting well over .320 over the past few months.

-Second, the signal that Willie sent by benching Reyes- twice- in the same week was just as telling. He was just as tired of the lazy offensive play as we were, and he sent out a signal that he wasn't going to put up with it anymore- from stars and veterans to rookies, no one would be safe. Combine that with the release of Julio Franco and the hiring of Rickey Henderson as 1B coach and HoJo's promotion, and you have a clear message that Willie and Minaya are sending.

-Third, the Mets are starting to get healthy. Outside of Beltran's injuries, the Mets got Alou and Milledge back, which allowed the lineup to be lengthened. They also brought the right mix of veterans in at the trade deadline- signed Marlon Anderson and Luis Castillo, which put Easley/Gotay where they belong on the bench. It also gave Willie more choices for situational hitting and defense. With Castillo, he's got the potential to be a sparkplug at the #2 hole (which the Mets have sorely lacked this year), especially since he's no longer playing on astroturf. When Beltran gets back, the Mets lineup will be as deep as it's been in a while.

-Fourth, the Mets hitting has improved with Lo Duca out. Sadly, he's not a #6 hitter, and he's usually reliable to get the Mets OUT of rallies with a double play grounder. Castro's a flyball hitter who minimizes any damage that he'll cause. Simply put, the Mets should consider riding Castro for the rest of the way (but they won't).

-Reyes and Wright continue to anchor this team. As good as Beltran and Delgado have been at times this year, those two have been reliable all year round. And if Wright gets REALLY hot, he might just find himself with the MVP trophy.

Oh, there are some moves that might interest us Mets fans:

-The Yankees have DFA'ed Mike Myers; Mets could do worse than signing a leftie who righties have a .182 BA against him.

-Mike Piazza was also put on waivers by the A's. That's more iffy, but if the Mets want a right handed power bat to come off the bench and pinch hit (and serve as a 3rd string catcher/1B), they could do worse as well. Plus, it's Piazza. Him coming back to NY would be buzzworthy news. And if the Mets make the playoffs- and the World Series- who wouldn't DH him in the AL ballparks? And it beats getting Sammy "Ego Corkboy" Sosa.

I am glad that he has gotten 300 out of the way and it is an important milestone for anyone, first time someone did it in a Mets uniform. Bravo Glavine. I commend him for changing his pitching approach and realizing that he could still get hitters out, just changing the way he goes about it. Now with that said, it's time to focus on the business at hand, it's time for the Mets to take it up a notch, and let the rest of the division know they are ready to take over down the stretch. It starts tomorrow night with the Braves. They are at home and poised to make a move and put some games between them and the rest of the group. Ollie P. should be able to take care of the first game, and with Duque and Maine (he wanted this start) the outlook seems positive. Time to put up or be 1 1/2 games ahead by Thursday. Go get em Mets!

It would be foolish, and tempting fate, to start checking magic numbers or figuring out clinching dates. Way too early for that.

But, if the Mets do no more than win five out of nine games from the Braves and four out of seven from the Phillies, and win half of the rest of their remaining games, both those teams would have to play about .700 ball to catch us.

Those last two weeks of the season loom large, too. The Mets finish up with 16 of their last 17 games against the Nats and Fish, and spend the entire last week at home. The Braves and Phillies beat each other up three times the last week of the season; the Braves spend their last full week on the road; the Phillies have a ten game roadtrip near the end that includes three at Shea and three in St. Louis.

Advantage, Mets. Since they haven't done anything the easy way this year, they'll need every advantage they can get.

Jason - I'd be surprised if they tried to get Piazza, but I agree with you Ild rather go there than with Sosa.
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L. J. - Even Glavine said something about being grateful that 300 will no longer be a distraction for the Mets. Agreed on the Braves.
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Nostra - The way the Mets have been playing against the Nats this season, I'm not sure that I'm comforted by playing them so often at the end of the year.

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