Mets edged by Phils in extras
Glavine denied career win No. 296 for third time
NEW YORK -- It isn't a problem yet, and it's well short of being something psychologically challenging. Tom Glavine calls it a rut, and that seems quite appropriate. It is a rut -- seemingly not too deep or too wide. And not too much fun either. It's not easy to pitch from a rut.
Glavine's rut now measures three games wide or deep -- or however ruts are measured. He has pitched three times in 13 days and, in his words, has "nothing to show for it."
Glavine hasn't lost all three starts, only two, but he hasn't won any of them either. And at this point that is the issue. Glavine is in the gun lap of his quest for 300 career victories and in -- of all things -- a no-win situation.
His chance to gain the 296th victory of his career was gone long before the Mets lost to the Phillies, 4-2, in 11 innings on Tuesday night. His being denied was the first element of an all-around unrewarding evening for a team that likes to consider itself the best in the National League. Four innings before Chase Utley hit a home run off Pedro Feliciano, Glavine threw his final pitch. And a few moments later, when a Mets rally was defused by Jamie Moyer, Glavine no longer could win.
The Mets still could have won, but they didn't. Utley's home run and an insurance run produced the 4-2 score, the Mets' fourth defeat in six games and a degree of clubhouse consternation. Perhaps "rut" applies to the Mets as well.
Shea Stadium has been unkind to the Mets; they have now lost 14 of their 31 home games. Moreover, a sameness exists in their three most recent defeats, in games started by Barry Zito, Doug Davis and Moyer, left-handers all. That isn't a problem yet, either.
"Just one of those things," was Willie Randolph's characterization.
Glavine's was, "Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don't."
For 13 days, they haven't gone Glavine's way. His ERA in the three starts is 3.15. The support furnished by his colleagues barely registers -- three runs. The Mets have scored 37 runs in the nine games he hasn't started, which may suggest that their under-hitting is a product of their overtrying.
"I'm not sure what guys are feeling," Glavine said. "I don't ask them about it."
Other elements were at work in this one. Moyer extricated himself from a one-out, runners-on-first-and-second predicament in the seventh by picking Jose Reyes off second base before retiring Carlos Beltran on a lazy, albeit warning-track, fly ball to left. And Reyes, the game's final batter, was called out at first base on a play that was thisclose when a safe call would have brought the winning run to the plate.
And Beltran and Carlos Delgado produced nothing when they batted with two runners on in the fifth. The Mets had three hits in 13 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"Gotta pick up the ducks," Randolph said after repeating those numbers.
The Mets had afforded Glavine a 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the second inning. A leadoff walk to Delgado and a double to left-center by David Wright preceded a two-run single by Paul Lo Duca. Moyer retired Ben Johnson and Carlos Gomez before the first of Glavine's two singles advanced Lo Duca to third, but Reyes grounded out to end the inning.
The Phillies tied the score after two outs in the third. Glavine's description of the rally follows:
"Jimmy's ball [an infield single by Jimmy Rollins] nicked off my glove. Then [Shane] Victorino nubs one down the line. Suddenly, you have two runners in scoring position and a great hitter like Utley up."
The last time Glavine opposed the Phillies, he called Rollins a nemesis and said, "I can't explain why he hits me so well. ... He hits me for the same reason Utley doesn't."
That changed when Utley singled to right for two runs, his fourth hit in 20 career at-bats against Glavine.
Utley's third hit of the evening was more damaging, as he sent Feliciano's second pitch over the wall for his 11th home run. Felicano (1-1) hadn't allowed a home run in 23 appearances (20 innings), and left-handed hitters had merely two hits in 23 at-bats against him.
"Paul [Lo Duca] called for a slider, I threw a sinker. It was a good swing," Feliciano said.
And for the Mets, a bad result.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.