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Monday, May 24, 2004

Mediocrity is ours - all ours!! 

Tom Glavine chose one hell of a way to finally get the Mets to .500, bringing a no hitter into the 8th inning before it was broken up by Kit Pellow (30 years old with a whopping 162 career at bats), who belted a two out double off the right field wall. Glavine brushed the hit off and finished with a complete game, one hit shutout as the Mets won 4 to 0 to complete the three game sweep of the Rockies. Despite all the great pitchers to wear the blue and orange, no one has ever tossed a no no for the Mets. Nolan Ryan left Flushing to toss 7 career no hitters and Tom Seaver, Mike Scott (aka Mike "Scuff" to those of us who rooted against him in '86 when he was pitching for the Astros) and Hideo Nomo all left the Mets and threw no hitters for other teams. Adding insult to injury, Dwight Gooden and David Cone left the Mets and threw no hitters for The Evil Empire.

As noted earlier, yesterday's win evens out the Mets record at 22 and 22, which is three games ahead of last year's pace when, after 44 games, the Mets found themselves at 19 and 25. Just as encouraging is that their record has them right in the mix for the lead in the NL East standings, as the Mets are only 3 games behind the first place Phillies and only 2.5 games behind the second place Marlins. When you're a Mets fan it's all about redefining victory, so, along with being within striking distance of first place we can also take something away from the fact that it is over a quarter of the way through the season and the Braves are currently looking up at the Mets in the standings. Oooooh, ahahooooh, ohahoooooh.

The Mets can thank their very own "big three" of Tom Glavine, Al Leiter and Steve Trachsel for their success thus far, who have combined for a stingy 2.59 ERA. By comparison, Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson's previous "big three" of Barry Zito, Marc Mulder and Tim Hudson have combined for a 3.71 ERA so far this season. However, the true test of just how good, or bad, this team is occurs over the course of the next 12 games when the Mets play five games against the Phillies and seven against the Fish.

The first of two games against the Phillies will feature Trachsel (4-3 3.16) against Eric Milton (5-0 4.47 ERA) then Matt Ginter (1-0 5.06) will square off against Brett Myers (3-2 4.25). Keep an eye on Pat "the Bat" Burrell, who, besides having the coolest nick name in baseball, is also a Met killer. I tried to get the Smokin' Hot Corner (i.e. the wife) to call me "Norm the Bat" but she just laughed? Oh well. Burrell has 22 HRs against the Mets with an eye popping 1.042 OPS and he's smacked 3 HRs off Trachsel in 29 at bats. Jim Thome who, despite not having as cool a nick name as Burrell, has had success against Met pitching also. He has six hits in 18 at bats against Trachsel and half of those hits have been of the four bagger variety. With the exception of Mike Cameron, who is 5 for 22 with 2 HRs against him, Met batters haven't had a chance to see much of Milton who has spent his career in the AL before being traded to the Phillies this year. The same goes for Myers who is in his sophomore season, although keep an eye on Jason Phillips who is 5 for 10 off him. Art Howe will apparently take advantage of today's and Thursday's off days and pitch Glavine again on Friday to open the series against the Marlins, Jae Weong Seo on Saturday then Trachsel to close out the series on Sunday (maybe Leiter if he's healthy).

It should be a fun and "meaningful" 12 games.
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