Well, this one certainly seemed closer than it needed to be. But this is a textbook example of the type of game a team wins when they’re on a roll. Tom Glavine, arguably the ace of the staff, went 4.1 innings and gave up four runs, leaving with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth. They somehow got out of it. After taking a 9-4 lead immediately after he left, Aaron Heilman enters the game in the eighth and immediately puts the Phillies back in it, off of a three run-homer by David Dellucci. But Billy Wagner came in and closed the door and the Mets barely eeked out a win.
I’ll be honest – I’m not sure the Mets deserved this one. The Phillies could have, and should have, ended the sixth inning at any number of times, but the Mets got lucky when the Phillies somehow committed three errors. Three errors led to five runs, giving the Mets another big lead. Yet it almost felt like they could have scored more. The Mets would strand the bases loaded twice in this game, leaving twelve men on base, and eight in scoring position. Without some timely Phillies errors, this could have been a loss very easily, but…like I said, when you’re on a roll, you win games like this.
To me, moreso than the runs, the big story of the game was Tom Glavine. He just did not look good out there at all. He gave up four home runs, all solo shots. Yes, Citizen’s Bank Park is a bandbox, but to put that in perspective, Glavine gave up four home runs in his first ten starts. He allowed as many home runs tonight as he allowed in his first ten starts of the season. That’s a little worrisome. Then again, it might have been the small park. Who knows?
I just know that I felt a little uncomfortable with him out there today, and this is the first time all season where I can say that. His previous start was also nothing to write home about last week against the Dodgers. He got the win, but it sure was ugly. Last week, the excuse was he went on three days’ rest. With a day’s extra rest, he should have been good to go today, and wasn’t. That has me worried, just a bit.
And…you know, in the offseason, I was completely against this, but it’s beginning to look like the Mets should have traded Heilman when they had the chance. It’s looking more and more like 2005 was a fluke, and we’re seeing the real Aaron Heilman out there, and frankly, the real Aaron Heilman isn’t very good. It can’t be blamed on overwork; he’s a former starter, and he hasn’t pitched in a few days. He just has not pitched well this season. He’s had stretches of effectiveness, but he’s also got a bad tendency of putting teams back into games. I was a big opponent of trading Heilman last year, thinking he had turned a corner, thinking he was ready to take his game to another level. He’s proving that I was wrong. With Julio gone, Heilman may be the pitcher in the bullpen with whom I have the least confidence.
But enough negative. How about some positives? Such as…once again, every Met in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Every Mets’ starter except Paul Lo Duca scored at least one run. How about three runs for Jose Reyes, who also had a stolen base, two hits, and three walks? How about a middle of the order (Beltran, Delgado, and Wright) who each had a home run? How about Endy Chavez, proving me wrong at every opportunity, hitting two doubles today, pushing his batting average to .300? Once again, the lineup got it done. Every hitter in the Mets’ locker room should feel proud with their performance, not only today but over the past week now. They have just been an enjoyable team to watch. And in games like this, I’m glad they have the ability to give their pitchers some run support, because they need all the runs they can get.
Tomorrow is game two of the three game series, with the Mets riding high on a six game winning streak. Let’s hope it can continue when Orlando Hernandez takes the mound against Brett Myers. Last time El Duque pitched for the Mets, he threw a complete game, and didn’t allow a run until there were two outs in the ninth. Let’s hope he can continue his hot play into tomorrow.