Friday, May 13, 2005

Scoreboard Hunting

Crank up those MVP chants again.

Cliff Floyd put not one, but two dents in the right field scoreboard tonight, and more impressively it was on a night where runs were hard to come by on a teriffic pitching duel, as the Mets took the first game of the series from the N.L. Champion Cardinals, 2-0.

Let's start, however, with Tom Glavine. Yes, I said he was done. I stand by it. But tonight, when the Mets really needed it, Glavine was awesome. He hurled 7+ scoreless innings, and it would have been more had it not been for the lurking weed known as the Kaz Matsui error on a sure double play ball. You could tell the Shea crowd was antsy before Glavine's first pitch, ready to erupt with a Mount St. Helens type fury at the first Glavine run given up. But it never came. He was back to painting corners like Picasso and not like Jackson Pollack on acid. (OK, I stole that think I like art?) Sure, it was a Card lineup without Scott Rolen (out 3-6 weeks with a sprained shoulder), and Jim Edmonds (day off), but tonight we saw Tom Glavine vintage 1990's, and not the Braves spy we've come to know and love. The rest of Glavine's line: four hits, and get this, NO WALKS in seven innings plus. Now it's time for him to come up with a couple of good starts in a row (which would be good for Metstradamus because I will be present at Wednesday's tilt against the Reds). But hopefully, one good start will turn into a few.

Of course, Glavine had help. After Matsui's error, the ageless wonder known as Roberto Hernandez came in with two runners on and saved Kaz's hide. He struck out pinch hitter Jim Edmonds, induced a John Mabry groundout, and then got David Eckstein to tap out back to the mound to end the inning. Braden Looper then shut down the Cards in the ninth, save for an Albert Pujols one out single, for his 9th save.

Cliff Floyd is an all-star. And if there was any doubt about that, Floyd ended it tonight. Two bombs off the scoreboard against Jason Marquis (who was equally brilliant tonight) in the second and seventh, a curtain call, and some major hustle in the outfield on the leadoff hit in the 8th inning holding Abraham Nunez to a single instead of a double. Floyd is now tied for the league lead in homers with 10, and in my mind, is the N.L. MVP this side of Derrek Lee.

The most important aspect of the victory, is the victory itself against the Cards. With Pedro Martinez on the hill on Saturday, prospects for a series win, which seemed improbable just 3 hours ago, now look very, VERY good.

Matsu-E: Kaz Matsui's error on So Taguchi's double play ball in the 8th was his third of the season. It had the chance to derail Glavine and the Mets had it not been for Hernandez's relief work. Matsui was booed heartily when he came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth.

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