I'm not sure Tom Glavine has been the Mets' ace this year- he has shown periods of extreme inability to pitch like one, and he frequently is in trouble with walks and too many balls. But he sure as hell pitched like one tonight.
Sure, to repeat the all too common refrain, they're still in first, et cetera, but they needed to win this game tonight. Despite that necessity, we saw something of the B-Team out there again: our good friend Mike DiFelice (of the +.1 WARP1 since 2004) was behind the plate, Shawn Green was in right field against a lefty, and Damion Easley was at first base. Not exactly the team you'd want in Game 7 (though Yadier Molina might not be on that team either).
The gang of misfits became the unlikeliest of heroes tonight. Green was on base twice, DiFelice drove in three and hit a long triple (the ninth of his long career), and Easley set the tone with an early home run and managed not to screw up at first base.
Factor in a slick double play from Reyes and Castillo, both of whom were on base twice tonight, and great plate discipline and contributions all around the lineup, and you have the seeds of a win. Seeds, mind you, that were grown into nice shrubbery by Tom Glavine.
Glavine threw seven innings, allowing eight hits and a walk, but whiffing six and keeping the Nationals, a pretty hot team, to one run. Although we heard the rumblings of "here we go again. . ." when Jorge Sosa took the hill and proceeded to have a rough go of it, there was Pedro Feliciano returning to form and inducing a ground-ball right to Reyes for the double play. Pedro even went the extra mile, as it were, by not melting down in the ninth inning, which allowed Alpaca Man to remain in the bullpen.
This game was one of those which you expected to win, like last night's, and the feeling afterwards is less rejoicing than it is relief. You'd like to have your regular lineup back, and you'd like to beat Matt Chico a little bit more resoundingly, but for now, the Mets will take it day by day.
I know they won two out of three. But still, might we be able to question Willie's field managing skills?
Read my Talkin' Pitchin' With Aarin' Heilmin' sketch from the archives.
I promise I'll be back tomorrow– though this is starting to resemble Groundhog Day.
- Sorry for not posting anything all that meaty or pithy of late; I wish I had an excuse other than "Willie is really starting to turn my stomach." I'll be back tonight.
- If you're bored, check out my piece about the bullpen of woe at Mike's Mets.