2007 NEWS

2007 News > 4/17/07


By Marty Noble, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

PHILADELPHIA -- Tom Glavine has moved comfortably close to the 300th victory that will set apart his already distinguished career, though he has done so rather uncomfortably of late, more often than not dealing with the elements as well as opponents. When he overcame both on Tuesday night -- a chilling wind and the colder Phillies -- he was rather pleased with himself in the no-pain, no-gain kind of way.

Glavine had asserted himself against 46 degrees, a 25 mph wind that was relentless, and a Phillies batting order that wasn't, resulting in a win for the third time this season and the 293rd time in his career. When the Mets had played for the first time in three days and they had won, 8-1, he could smile and say, "It was nice just to play." It went without saying that it was nicer just to win.

No one knows whether Glavine will pitch next April or even how this May will go for him, so every start is borderline critical for him as he stretches for 300 and another chance to perform on October's stage. Yet he handles all of it -- the chill, the National League and the closing window.

The wind attacked the spacious uniform worn by Phillies starter Freddy Garcia on Monday night, and his uniform flapped like the five flags beyond center field at Citizens Bank Park. The wind blew when Glavine was pitching, too, but it didn't show. Perhaps his uniform is tighter. More likely, it's because he's unflappable.

He was as composed as ever in the fifth inning after the two Phillies had reached base and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard -- theoretically, the Phillies' most challenging outs -- were due to bat. The Mets' lead was merely 3-1.

Glavine had survived two contentious confrontations with the Phillies' Nos. 3 and 4 hitters in the third inning, hitting Utley to load the bases and wisely walking Howard to force in a run.

"I didn't care in the least if I walked him," he said later. "I'd rather walk him than say, 'Here's a strike' and have him clear the bases."

He had given them changeups almost exclusively. And now they were back, trying to re-direct the game and maybe their season.

Glavine attacked them with fastballs -- his power, such as it is, against theirs. And it worked. Utley took a third strike, Howard swung at a third one, and Pat Burrell, not the nemesis he used to be, fouled out. So ended the last moment of tension in the Mets' third victory in four games against the Phillies this season. Their games haven't been particularly compelling.

"I like them that way," manager Willie Randolph said. "I'm not saying they're easy. But some have been a little one-sided."

Glavine's victories have been decided by five, two and seven runs, his loss by two.

"I never assume it's going to be easy," Glavine said. "But it's been harder than I've wanted lately. I'm proud that I've gotten through it as well as I have."

Aside from his first start in the relative warmth of St. Louis, the conditions for his starts have been miserable.

"You can't work a sequence of pitches," Glavine said, "because you can't trust yourself to throw the right pitch at the time because you have no feel."

Eventually, the Mets offense and the Phillies bullpen eliminated the tension. While Glavine was the Mets' pitcher, in six innings, they scored four runs, three of them the result of the first two home runs of the season for Moises Alou. The Mets scored once in the seventh inning and three times in the eighth, essentially for appearance's sake.

Glavine allowed six hits and five walks and hit a batter in his 103-pitch evening. His only other strikeout came against Garcia in the fourth.

The opposing pitcher had been more of a challenge in the third, when Glavine walked him on four pitches after one out. The out came on a pretty backhand grab and sensational throw by Jose Reyes, who always seems to be at his best against the Phillies.

Alou had hit his first home run, the Mets' seventh and their first in six games since April 8, following a leadoff single by David Wright. The single extended Wright's hitting streak to 24 games, tying a franchise record.

Glavine scored the Mets' third run in the fifth inning, after leading off the inning with a single, his second hit of the season. A single by Ramon Castro, who had replaced injured Paul Lo Duca the previous half-inning, and a double by Carlos Beltran produced the run.

Alou's second home run came in the sixth inning when he led off against Geoff Geary. Beltran drove in the run in the seventh against Francisco Rosario on a force out. Castro had a two-run double in the eighth.

The lack of tension and injury to Lo Duca -- X-rays of his right hand were negative, but another assessment is likely on Wednesday in Miami -- made it possible for Randolph to use most of his players and three relievers, not an unimportant accomplishment after two unscheduled days off.

"We're back on it," the manager said. "I think Tommy found some rhythm after a while tonight. Now I hope we all get some back."