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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Seeing Glavine's Opening Day Start Through Orange & Blue Lenses 

Let's face it, watching Tom Glavine pitch against the Braves last year wasn't pretty. Okay, let's really face it; it was flat out ugly. Rosie O'Donnell ugly. Glavine went 0 and 4 against his old club with a 10.35 ERA. At Turner Field it got even uglier. Ellen Degeneres ugly. In Atlanta Glavine was 0 and 2 with a super sized 15.26 ERA. So why in the world would Art Howe send the lamb to the slaughter again by naming Glavine the opening day starter against the Braves? Well, for starters (no pun intended), whether he pitches first, second or third he's going to face Atlanta in Atlanta in this opening series anyway so why not get him right out there to face his tomahawk chopping demons. Whether we like it or not Glavine is taking the mound in Atlanta come April 6th so I for one am going to pull the orange and blue wool over my eyes and try to convince myself, and maybe one or two of you, that Glavine will lead the Mets to a win. Bear with me.

Glavine took a shellacking last year but if you look deep, really deep, you might find a few positives. First, Glavine was not actually all that bad out of Shea and out from under the watchful eye of old man Questec. On the road, Glavine had a respectable 3.82 ERA. Hell, Glavine's buddy Greg Maddux won 16 games last year with a higher ERA than that. Feeling better about opening day yet? And while his overall ERA and record were bad, Glavine showed flashes of his former brilliant self, going 3 and 1 with a 2.59 ERA in April and went 3 and 1 again in August, this time with a virtually unhittable 1.95 ERA. Convinced? Despite getting violated in Atlanta last year, Glavine has had huge success over his career there, with a lifetime 3.27 ERA while going 48 and 24. So now you must be convinced that Glavine is going to pick up his first W against Atlanta on opening day, right?

Glavine, and Mets fans, should also sleep better at night knowing that the main culprits behind his 2003 Braves mugging have left Atlanta for greener pastures. Gone is Gary Sheffield who creamed Glavine last year going 4 for 8 with a home run and 3 free passes to first. Gone is Javy Lopez who tagged him for 4 hits in 6 at bats including a home run. Gone is Vinny Castilla who went 4 for 10 against Glavine. Julio Franco, who tattoo'd Glavine with 2 home runs while going 5 for 7 with 2 walks, might be on the bench opening day so that the Braves can showcase hot shot rookie first basemen Adam LaRoche. What's left of the Braves line-up is not that scary. Convinced? Newly acquired catcher, outfielder and/or first basemen Eli Marrero is only a .214 lifetime hitter off of Glavine. Johnny Estrada went 0 for 4 against Glavine last year. Marcus Giles was equally unimpressive against Glavine in failing to get a hit in 5 at bats. Rafael Furcal managed only 2 hits in 11 at bats. And new third basemen Mark DeRosa is a lifetime .167 hitter against Glavine. That leaves only Larry (3/7 1 HR) and Andruw Jones (5/10 2 HR) and J.D. Drew (3/8) as potential problems. Taking away Larry, Andruw and Drew, Glavine will be facing a potential line-up that is only 6 for 40 against him lifetime, amounting to a poultry .150 batting average. Not convinced yet? What if I told you that Glavine gained 20 MPH on his fastball this offseason? Okay, I guess I can't tell you that.

So there you have it. Convinced yet? If not don't worry, I wrote this damn artilce and I don't think I managed to convince myself. Oh well, let's go Mets. Rah rah. Ugh.
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