Yesterday’s loss to Atlanta was a day of firsts for New York. For the first time all season the Mets committed an error, two crucial ones at that. After a Matt Diaz home run in the bottom of the second inning, the Mets trailed for the first time this year. The fifth game of the season also found Tom Glavine’s pitch count at 113 when he left the ball game after just 5 1/3 innings pitched, the shortest outing for a Mets starter this year and by far the most pitches thrown. And, of course, when Shawn Green’s line drive was speared by a leaping Craig Wilson at first with the tying run on second base, it was the first loss of the 2007 season for the Mets.
The game was lost due in part to each of these firsts, but the most important and frustrating of them was the defense. In a way, one could argue that the Mets were due for a lousy game in the field, following the terrific glovemanship that they had shown in the first four games. That thought, however, didn’t make Carlos Delgado’s first-inning drop of a routine throw to first feel any better, nor was it much consolation when Shawn Green dropped a routine fly ball in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded. Those two errors accounted for the three unearned runs charged to Tom Glavine and, in essence, lost the game for New York.
One has to question Willie Randolph’s move to stick with Tom Glavine in the bottom of the sixth inning. Glavine had thrown 104 pitches after Brian McCann hit a screaming line drive up the middle that was caught by a diving Jose Valentin for the first out of the inning. There were runners at first and third, one out, and all three batters that inning had made good contact. At first I assumed Randolph stuck with Glavine because he didn’t want Pedro Feliciano, who was warming up in the bullpen, to face right-handed Craig Wilson, who was the next batter. But later that inning, Randolph brought in Feliciano to face the nine spot in the batting order, knowing that a righty would pinch hit. Why stick with a tired lefty to face a weak righty hitter rather than bring in a fresh southpaw? Odd decision . . .
Depsite the lousy fielding yesterday, Jose Valentin’s defense at second continues to shine. As mentioned above, Valentin made a huge diving catch in the sixth inning . . .
That ninth inning was painful, but at least the Mets hit Braves’ closer Bob Wickman pretty hard. In fact, the Mets faced the Braves’ three best relievers yesterday, and fared well against two of them. They scored a run off of Mike Gonzalez in the seventh and would have tied the game in the ninth if it weren’t for Wilson’s catch. Hats off to Rafael Soriano, though; he worked a perfect eighth for Atlanta . . .
With both teams’ records at 4-1, today’s rubber game is important. Orlando Hernandez on the mound for New York, countered by Kyle Davies for Atlanta. Just a guess, but I think we could see at least one reserve getting a start today. Anyway, make sure to tune in at 1 PM on SNY . . .