Glavines Hunting Wabbits Again - Mets Top Giants, 5-1

Shhhh. Be vewy, vewy quiet because we don't want to distract him but with a 3-1 record and a 2.16 ERA in his past five starts, it might almost begin to look like Tom Glavine has finally found his way back from brink of the end of his career that he has wandered so perilously close to since last year's All Star break, has regained his touch and added a useful arm to the Mets starting rotation that it didn't have a month ago.

Last night's performance against the Giants was yet another small stone in the foundation's wall: 7 2/3 innings a mere run and no walks surrendered. Yes, a handful of hits but coming against a team that had hit into 56 double plays over 53 game like the Giants had, it might not have been such a big deal after all.

There was one or two rough patches, sure: it took a stupidly ignored stop sign that Deivi Cruz ran through at third base to get thrown out at the plate in the top of the first inning and prevent the Giants from scoring first. Then Moises Alou blasted a homerun in the 4th to tie the game, but for the better majority of the game, Tom Glavine was the man in charge.

Prior to last season's All Star break, before anyone would have imagined in their wildest dreams that Pedro would be our ace, Glavine had a 2.66 ERA over 19 starts and hitters were batting only .222 against him.

This might be some sort of temporary condition, the brief recovery before the final fatal breath is drawn on his career but if it could possibly prolong this stint of good fortune, the Mets have a formidable 1-2-3 starting rotation, one of the most formidable in the NL East.

But not even Glavine's performance was the surprise of the 5-1 victory.

That came in the bottom of the fifth inning when with none out and Jose Reyes dancing off second and Mike Cameron on first, Carlos Beltran came to the plate for a chance to earn some of that $119 million salary with Mike Piazza on deck. Instead of driving them in, he moved them over with a sacrifice bunt.

Well and pretty baseball you'd think except for the fact that Beltran is paid to drive them home not set the up for a plunky hitter like Mike Piazza to strike out swinging for instead. But Beltran has more faith in Piazza than I do and Piazza rewarded that faith by lunging at a change up that he was able to bloop into shallow left field to score both Reyes and Cameron. The icebreaker of the game in fact, a bit of luck of course, which Piazza will surely take anyway he can get it these days and enough, with Glavine pitching instead of blaming umpires, to give the Mets a victory.

Manager Willie was a calm as you'd expect him to be about an unexpected bunt he never called for. "Just because Carlos Beltran makes a lot of money, and we expect him to hit home runs all the time, that's not really all he can do."

It worked out somehow in the end, as it does when you're on a roll, just like it doesn't when you're running cold and beginning to doubt yourself as Glavine surely has and Piazza probably should be during the course of this season as it has thus far transpired. For now, the Mets have their third victory in a row, have juiced their record up to 29-26 and move within one game of first place in the NL East.

All this despite Pisshands Alou going 4 for 4 for the day with a single, double and homer for the only run by San Francisco. Alou, after a slow start due to injury and illness, has slammed seven homers in his last 13 games and raised his average to .301, the Bonds Lite for a thankfully Bonds-less team who have now lost eight in a row.


In yesterday's pregame interview with Manager Willie, it was revealed that Miguel Cairo may get some work in at first base this weekend. I didn't even know Cairo played first base frankly but you've got to wonder what Mientkiewicz feels like at this point, first benched in favour of a utility player who usually plays in the middle infield or outfield and then perhaps benched in favour of a backup second baseman who is STILL less of a headache at the plate than Mank. Not to mention his missus getting on his case as well - oh, I feel for that guy. Maybe he'll hit a pinch hit homer in one of the Sunday's games.

Sunday's traditional doubleheader will feature Brett Tomko (4-7 4.14) against Kaz Ishii (1-3 4.79) in the first game. Tomko is 3-6 with a 5.83 ERA lifetime against the Mets and Ishii is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA lifetime against the Giants. There's no telling what kind of lineup Manager Willie is going to go with with a pair of games to play.

Certainly Piazza will sit out at least one of those games giving Ramon Castro his first start since coming off the DL. Will the hotter hitting Chris Woodward continue his duties at first? Cairo will be back but where? Second base, first base? How many of the two games will Victor Diaz start? Will Cameron play centerfield to give the still hurting Carlos Beltran a rest in one of the games?

The night game of the doubleheader will see the once-formidable Jason Schmidt (3-1 5.08) against Mr Anna Benson, (3-2 4.21) - for the record, neither pitchers performance against their respective opponents will tell us much. Schmidt is 3-4 with a 4.09 ERA lifetime against the Mets and Benson has a career 4.57 ERA against the Giants - we won't go into his record though as well, he pitched for the Pirates in most of those starts and well, you can't really hold that against him.

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