May 22nd, 2006 Yanks Visit Red Sox Tonight, The Rivalry Over Batting Kings and Series Rings Continues
How’s Your RQ? (Rivalry Quotient)
Copyright c 2006 by Evan Pritchard
PART TWO OF A REALLY LONG SERIES
How’s your RQ? (That’s your “Rivalry Quotient.”) How well do you know the military history between the Red Sox and Yankees? As the Yankees haggard and injured troops march north after being beaten (for the most part) by their other rivals, the Mets, to face one of history’s greatest teams, the Red Sox, it seems like a great time to dig up old animosities between these two hostile groups of individuals.
In and around New York, (such as most Mets fans try to be) all you hear about is the “curse” and how often ttthhheeeeee Yankees win. But Boston has been a worthy adversary since 1903, and if your father didn’t tell you, it’s time you knew just how fierce a rivalry it was before you were born—before HE was born—running right up into tonight when the Yankees will face one of the best starters in baseball today, Josh Beckett, and a hot Red Sox team at Fenway Park, a team eager to win, a team eager to prove themselves worthy, a team eager to rescue the captive center fielder Johnny Damon and bring him back to his people.
Yankee fans don’t always know their history. It’s easier to say, “We always win. Any questions?” But if you are a Red Sox fan, I assume you have memorized every play of every game since 1903, which is expected of you, as you will have to spend your life defending your team’s reputation against large crowds of belligerent rowdies as you wander the face of the earth in search of the Bucky Dent home run ball.
The following is a short RQ quiz that even some Red Sox fans will find truly amazing. That’s why we’re here, to amaze you with unbelievable stats which have nothing to do with winning ballgames.
THE RQ QUIZ
1. How many World Series have the Boston Red Sox (or “Pilgrims”) played in?
2. How many times have the Red Sox and Yankees (or “Highlanders”) tied for first place at the
end of the regular season?
3. How many times have the Red Sox won the AL or Eastern Division rather than the Yankees?
4. How many times have the Red Sox ended the season in second place close behind the Yankees? How many times have the Yankees ended the season in second behind the Red Sox?
5. What was the worst era for the Red Sox in comparison to the Yankees?
6. What was the best era for the Red Sox in comparison to the Yankees?
7. How many times have the Red Sox and Yankees ended the regular season with the same team batting average?
8. How many times have the Red Sox ended the season with a higher team batting average than the Yankees?
9. How many times have the Yankees ended the season with a higher team batting average than the Red Sox?
10. How many times have the Red Sox led the Eastern Division in batting average in recent years since the three division system was introduced? How many times have the Yankees?
In the following study, we will compile some basic stats concerning this long-standing rivalry between Boston and New York baseball teams, and then crunch those numbers so that we can see how the teams really compare.
In the first part of this article, we will see a comparison of the batting averages of the earliest American League Boston and New York teams, up to the tragic moment when Babe Ruth was sold for cash to the Red Sox’ own rivals, shifting the balance of power over to the Bronx.
In the first phase, the “Babe In Scarlet Hose” days, we see the Boston team edge out the New York team in terms of batting average 10 times out of 17.
Yr Team BA NY Team BA winner
1903 Pilgrims .272 Highlanders .249 P
1904 Red Sox .247 Highlanders .259 H
1905 Red Sox .247 Highlanders .248 H
1906 Red Sox .237 Highlanders .266 H
1907 Red Sox .234 Highlanders .249 H
1908 Red Sox .245 Highlanders .236 RS
1909 Red Sox .263 Highlanders .248 RS
1910 Red Sox .256 Highlanders .248 RS
1911 Red Sox .275 Highlanders .272 RS
1912 Red Sox .277 Highlanders . 259 RS
1913 Red Sox .269 Yankees .237 RS
1914 Red Sox .250 Yankees .229 RS
1915 Red Sox .240 Yankees .251 Y
1916 Red Sox .248 Yankees .246 RS
1917 Red Sox .246 Yankees . 239 RS
1918 Red Sox .249 Yankees .257 Y
1919 Red Sox .261 Yankees .267 Y
During this first phase of the rivalry, the “pre-curse” era, the Boston team leads in batting 10 times out of 17, the New York team leads in batting only 7 times. The Sox won 5 pennants and won all five World Series they played in.
In the next phase, (see below) the “Curse of the Bambino” period of Red Sox history, we see the Yankees dominate in an overpowering manner, behind Babe Ruth.
1920 Red Sox .269 Yankees .280 Y
1921 Red Sox .277 Yankees .300 Y
1922 Red Sox .263 Yankees 287 Y
1923 Red Sox .261 Yankees .282 Y
1924 Red Sox .277 Yankees .289 Y
1925 Red Sox .266 Yankees .275 Y
1926 Red Sox .256 Yankees .289 Y
1927 Red Sox .259 Yankees .301 Y
1928 Red Sox .264 Yankees .296 Y
1929 Red Sox .267 Yankees .296 Y
1930 Red Sox .264 Yankees .309 Y
1931 Red Sox .262 Yankees .297 Y
1932 Red Sox .251 Yankees .286 Y
1933 Red Sox .253 Yankees .283 Y
1934 Red Sox .287 Yankees 278 RS
During the second phase of the rivalry, the “totally one-sided Curse of the Babe” phase, the Yankees did well under Babe Ruth and the Sox got the shaft. The Red Sox out-hit the Yankees only once, in 1934, during that 15 year period. In fact, few teams other than the Detroit Tigers out-hit the Yankees during that stretch.
The “Battle of the Joes” Phase
The following is the third phase, what we will call “The Battle of the Joes,” Joe Cronin versus The Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio phase. (At the end of this era, it was actually Joe versus his brother Dom DiMaggio) In this phase the Red Sox led the Yankees in batting average 10 seasons out of 16, almost exactly the tally from the first era, (10 out of 17) before Babe Ruth was traded. Unfortunately, the Red Sox only won the AL pennant once during this highly competitive phase, and that was in 1946, when the Sox led the Yanks in batting average by .23 points.
The Red Sox tied with the Yankees in wins in 1949, but lost the one game tie breaker, however they won the battle for batting average that year .282 to .269. At the end of this stage, the New York teams lead the Boston teams 27 to 21 in season batting average since their inceptions. However, not including the time that Babe Ruth was with the Yankees, the Red Sox led the Yankees in batting average 20 seasons to 13 up to this point.
1935 Red Sox .276 Yankees .280 Y
1936 Red Sox .276 Yankees .300 Y
1937 Red Sox 281 Yankees .283 Y
1938 Red Sox .299 Yankees .274 RS
1939 Red Sox .291 Yankees .287 RS
1940 Red Sox .286 Yankees .259 RS
1941 Red Sox .283 Yankees .269 RS
1942 Red Sox.276 Yankees .269 RS
1943 Red Sox .244 Yankees .256 Y
1944 Red Sox .270 Yankees .264 RS
1945 Red Sox .260 Yankees .259 RS
1946 Red Sox .271 Yankees .248 RS
1947 Red Sox .265 Yankees .271 Y
1948 Red Sox .274 Yankees .278 Y
1949 Red Sox .282 Yankees .269 RS
1950 Red Sox .302 Yankees .282 RS
The 1950s Era
The 1950s were a sad time for the Red Sox, and during that decade, the Yankees led in season batting average, 7 seasons to 3. Between 1947 and 1957, there was always at least one New York team in the World Series, and often two, while Boston was never invited.
1951 Red Sox .266 Yankees .269 Y
1952 Red Sox .255 Yankees .267 Y
1953 Red Sox .264 Yankees .273 Y
1954 Red Sox .266 Yankees .268 Y
1955 Red Sox .264 Yankees .260 RS
1956 Red Sox .275 Yankees .270 RS
1957 Red Sox .262 Yankees .268 Y
1958 Red Sox .256 Yankees .268 Y
1959 Red Sox .256 Yankees .260 Y
1960 Red Sox .261 Yankees .260 RS
Up to and including 1960, the season team batting totals are Yankees 34, Red Sox 24.
The Carl Yastrzemski Era
Then in 1961 came the dawning of the Carl Yastrzemski era, marking the rise of the heavy-hitting Red Sox outfielders who really gave the Yankees a run for the money, but only twice winning the pennant, in 1967, the year of Bob Gibson, and in 1975, the year of the Carlton Fisk homer. They also tied for first with the Yankees in 1978, leading to a one game playoff, leading to the Bucky Dent home run.
1961 Red Sox .254 Yankees .263 Y
1962 Red Sox .258 Yankees .267 Y
1963 Red Sox .252 Yankees .252 T
1964 Red Sox .258 Yankees .253 RS
1965 Red Sox .251 Yankees .235 RS
1966 Red Sox .240 Yankees .235 RS
1967 Red Sox .255 Yankees .225 RS
1968 Red Sox .236 Yankees .214 RS
1969 Red Sox .251 Yankees .235 RS
1970 Red Sox .262 Yankees .251 RS
1971 Red Sox .252 Yankees .254 Y
1972 Red Sox .248 Yankees .249 Y
1973 Red Sox .267 Yankees .261 RS
1974 Red Sox .264 Yankees .263 RS
1975 Red Sox .275 Yankees .264 RS
1976 Red Sox .263 Yankees .269 Y
1977 Red Sox .281 Yankees .281 T
1978 Red Sox .267 Yankees .267 T
1979 Red Sox .283 Yankees .266 RS
1980 Red Sox .283 Yankees .267 RS
1981 Red Sox .275 Yankees .252 RS
1982 Red Sox .274 Yankees .256 RS
1983 Red Sox .270 Yankees .273 Y
During the Carl Yastrzemski era, the two teams finished tied in batting average three times, a remarkable statistic. The other 20 years, the Yankees batters outdid the Red Sox hitters only 6 times during Yastrzemski’s career. The Red Sox beat the Yankees in this category14 times. The Red Sox were able lead the hit parade as often as Lennon and McCartney in the ‘60s. In fact, they beat out the Yankees in “hit records” every year consecutively between 1964 and 1970, the heyday of the Beatles exactly. In 1967, the year of Sgt. Peppers’ release, the Sox had their most memorable year and came within a game of winning the World Series.
In spite of the 14 to 6 score, it was a heated battle during the Yaz administration. The Sox led the league in hitting in 1964, 1967, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1977, and 1980. The Yankees led the league in hitting in 1972, 1976, and 1977 (tie). Yastrzemski’s efforts helped the Sox come within two on the century’s batting contest; the totals for the century up to this point were Red Sox 38, Yankees 40.
After Yastrzemski faded into the shadow of the green monster, other great young sluggers such as Wade Boggs (1982-1992) continued the legacy of their mentor. In fact they crushed the Yankees in batting average each of the following 8 years. In further fact the Red Sox led the AL in hitting in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990. They landed in first place in 1986, 1988 and 1990, while the Yankees won the pennant zero times between 1984 and 1991. As the smoke from the 1980s cleared, the Red Sox had come out ahead 45 to 40 in the yearly batting average “spitting contest” with the Yankees.
1984 Red Sox ..283 Yankees .276 RS
1985 Red Sox .282 Yankees .267 RS
1986 Red Sox .271 Yankees .271 T
1987 Red Sox .278 Yankees .262 RS
1988 Red Sox .283 Yankees .263 RS
1989 Red Sox .277 Yankees .269 RS
1990 Red Sox .272 Yankees .241 RS
1991 Red Sox .269 Yankees .264 RS
The twisting tides of fortune, as Howard Cosell would have said, turning again in favor of the Yankees in 1992. In 1994, the American League was divided into three divisions. From this point, the “league leading” bold type now means “division leading.”
1992 Red Sox ..246 Yankees .261 Y
1993 Red Sox .264 Yankees .279 Y
MULTIPLE DIVISION PLAY
1994 Red Sox .263 Yankees .290 Y
1995 Red Sox .280 Yankees .276 RS
1996 Red Sox .283 Yankees .288 Y
1997 Red Sox .291 Yankees .287 RS
1998 Red Sox .280 Yankees .288 Y
1999 Red Sox .278 Yankees .282 Y
2000 Red Sox .269 Yankees .277 Y
2001 Red Sox .266 Yankees .267 Y
2002 Red Sox .277 Yankees .275 RS
2003 Red Sox 289 Yankees .267 RS
2004 Red Sox .282 Yankees .268 RS
2005 Red Sox .281 Yankees .276 RS
During this last 14 year period, the Red Sox led the division in hitting for five years, in 1995, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005. The Yankees also led in five years, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, and 1999. For those who haven’t been reading the news, the Red Sox finally won the World Series in 2004, entering the post season as a wild card. They tied the Yankees for first place in 2005, but were not allowed the pleasure of a last figurative cigarette, a one game tie-breaker, because they had not won the season series with the Yankees. The Yankees and Red Sox have ended the season in first and second nine times during the last 12 years.
In this most recent phase, 1992 through 2005, the Yankees led in hitting 8 years out of 14 years, leaving the Sox with 6. At the end of the 2002 season, the Yankees and Red Sox were tied 48 to 48 in seasons leading the other in team batting average. However, during the last three years, the Sox have had the advantage, driving their number of seasons on top to 51. So after all the ups and downs, over the course of over a century, when it comes to season team batting average, the Red Sox come out ahead of the Yankees, 51 to 48, with a total of four ties between the two rivals.
From 1903 through 1995, the Red Sox landed in first place 11 times, and finished second 10 times, with fiveWorld Series wins. Since then the Sox have finished second behind the Yankees seven times and first one more time. This gives us a grand total of 12 first place finishes and 17 second place finishes behind the Yankees for the Red Sox in their team history.
But here is what is perhaps the most telling statistic of all in terms of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry: The Red Sox finished a close second behind the Yankees in 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1949, *1978,* 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005*. (In 1949 the two teams tied, and the Red Sox lost the tie breaker; again in 1978, the same thing happened. In 2005 the Sox tied the Yankees again, but were reckoned to have ended in second place, because they had lost more games to the Yankees during the season series.) In 1986, and 1995, the Yankees ended up in second place behind the Red Sox. That’s 16 times the two teams ended in a close race for first; 14 times with the Red Sox in second (three of those after losing a tie breaker), 2 times with the Yankees in second. That my friends, is a true rivalry.
Before you scroll down further, go back to that RQ quiz again and see if you know the answers. The answers are given below.
1. How many World Series have the Boston Red Sox (or “Pilgrims”) played in? 10 World Series: 1903 (W) 1912 (W) 1915 (W) 1916 (W) 1918 (W) 1946 (L), 1967 (L)1975(L), 1986, (L) 2004 (W). How many have they won? Six, and were 5-0 before 1946.
2. How many times have the Red Sox and Yankees (or “Highlanders”) tied for first place at the end of the regular season? Three times; 1949, 1978, 2005, each time, the Red Sox somehow ended up in second place. No two tie-breaking solutions were alike.
3. How many times have the Red Sox won the AL or Eastern Division rather than the Yankees? 12 times
4. How many times have the Red Sox ended the season in second place close behind the Yankees? 17 times. How many times have the Yankees ended the season in second behind the Red Sox? 2 times.
5. What was the worst era for the Red Sox in comparison to the Yankees? During Babe Ruth’s tenure with the Yankees, the Red Sox only out-batted the Yanks once, and never posed a challenge in the standings.
6. What was the best era for the Red Sox in comparison to the Yankees? 1984 to 1991, what I call the “Wade Boggs” era. They never had a lower team average than the Yankees during that time. They led the division in hitting five times, and ended in first place three times. The 23-year Yastrzemski era was also good, with the Yankees out-hitting the Sox only 6 times.
7. How many times have the Red Sox and Yankees ended the regular season with the same team batting average? 4 times
8. How many times have the Red Sox ended the season with a higher team batting average than the Yankees? 51 times
9. How many times have the Yankees ended the season with a higher team batting average than the Red Sox? 48 times.
10. How many times have the Red Sox led the Eastern Division in batting average since the three division system was introduced? 5 times. How many times have the Yankees? 4 times. How many times has each led the other in batting average under 3-division play? 6 times each.
May 22nd, 2006 “Mets Take Series From Yankees” (Don’t You Wish It Was October?)
Copyright © 2006 by Evan Pritchard
Yes, it feels good to say it. Say it out loud; “Mets Take Series From Yankees!” Okay, so it’s only May, and it was only a three game set, but we need to practice for October every chance we can get. They call it The Subway Series for a reason, and not just because Shea is on the number 7 line and Yankee Stadium is on the 6. (Change at Grand Central) It was an amazing three games too, with every game a come-from-behind victory for someone, and more see-saw battles than a host of horror flicks. There were lots of injuries and errors, heartbreaks and near misses, but that’s Hollywood.
The Yankees came out ahead 4-0 in the first inning, virtually throwing their brother New Yorkers down a well with Randy Johnson on the mound. But the Mets crawled back up out of the hole to seek revenge, and Carlos Beltran hit a three run homer off of “The Big Unit,” to put the Mets back in the plot. The Yanks came back with a fifth run in the top of the third. Then Xavier “The X-Man” Nady clobbered a two run homer off of Johnson in the bottom of the third, tying the game at five each. The Yankees went ahead again with one in the top of the fourth, making it 6-5. Then in the bottom of the fifth, the Mets got one more to tie and Goliath Johnson toppled over and bit the dust, racking up his ERA to 5.62. It was the first time he’d given up four or more runs in five consecutive starts.
The Mets starter Jeremi Gonzalez got just nine outs before being snuffed out, but then came the Children of the Bullpen, Oliver, Heilman and Wagner to retire the final 16 batters without mercy. Wagner’s ferocity on the mound was intense, and mowed down the opposition with laser strikes in the ninth like a scene from Invasion from Mars. It remained six to six from the bottom of the fifth to the bottom of the ninth, when Joe Torre brought in “The Sandman,” Mariano Rivera in a tied game, possibly the most feared strikeout genius in baseball history. He knocked down LoDuca with an inside pitch, then LoDuca came back in retaliation with a double down the left field line. Then Carlos I (Beltran) struck out, and Carlos II (Delgado) was walked intentionally, bringing the young Grail-seeking scion David Wright to the plate to unlock the mystery of“Leonardo” Rivera’s masterpiece cut fast ball. He hit that idea as far as you could without leaving the stadium of good taste, and the audience jumped up from their seats with applause. It was a walk-off RBI and saved the Mets from a dark millennium for sure. At first it looked to be a ground rule double, but was later scored a long single, and LoDuca scored the winning run.
The PA played Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” for Wagner, but didn’t play it three outs later for Rivera, for whom every other stadium plays it as his “signature music,” when he enters a game. It was a fateful decision not unlike the opening scene from “Carrie” in which she is slighted at the prom, and then uses her “fireball” to get even. It might have cost the Mets as dearly as what Carrie exacted from those pimply-faced runts at the prom, only the Yankees laid in waiting one more day to get revenge. One thing I’ve learned is, you never kick a sleeping tiger, and you never, ever, ever, pi—off the Yankees. This is sufficient information to understand why the Fellowship of the Mets lost the battle in the second installment of the Trilogy.
I really thought we had them this time. 4-0 through most of the game, and into the ninth inning, but it was all a set up to get revenge on our closer in the Battle of the Sandmen. Wagner, you were on the mound. They say you didn’t have enough adrenaline, because it wasn’t scary enough, and that’s why you couldn’t get it over the plate, because we had a big lead. That’s because you don’t understand the Yankees, Billy. You’re from Philadelphia, you didn’t have to play the Yankees very often. Didn’t you ever see the horror movie “Carrie?” That’s why you don’t tell the PA guy to NOT play “Enter Sandman” for Rivera. He can throw fire. Willie R should have taken you aside and told you, “Now Billy, lissen a me, Billy; you need to think o’ these guys as some creature from a Speilberg horror movie or somethin’. Like, be afraid, be very afraid…. Just when the film gets kinda quiet, that’s when these aliens suddenly spring out o’ some guy’s chest and blast off into space with the lead, with lots of Hollywood blood all over the place. Right when it gets peaceful, that’s when they pull out the Texas chain saws and start marchin’ towards you like an army of zombies….or sumptin! You’ve gotta be on your guard. Just when it looks like you’ll get the girl, these guys jump out from behind the bushes with pistols blazing and kidnap her and take her to their hideout. It’s been like that around here for years. Don’t loosen up out there, baby! And DON’T get ‘em riled!” But Randolph just figured everybody knew what was up with the Yankees, and let him go to the mound without a briefing. It was a disaster movie, right up there with Armageddon, Deep Impact and Day After Tomorrow. Wagner blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning, as the Yankees exploded with four. For Wagner it was like stepping on a land mine. He left it tied and going into overtime. The Mets lost 5-4, a slow, painful death by attrition.
The cards of horror were reversed in a sense on Sunday; the Yankees got out ahead 2-0 when David Wright misplayed a Derek Jeter single with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Then the Yankees started having trouble with “Spawn of the Braves” Tom Glavine (or Spawn of the Spaun of the Braves, as he is a lot like Warren Spahn in many respects) and then in the bottom of the fourth inning, with LoDuca and Carlos I on base, Mets first-baseman Carlos II (Delgado) hit a first pitch three run homer that put the Mets back in the lead, followed by another mammoth homer by David Wright a few seconds later. Both were impressive shots; the Delgado blast looked like one of those monster Mo Vaughn style homers against the right field scoreboard, and that was in spite of facing into a monsterous headwind. The Wright homer, probably his biggest homer ever at Shea, (445 feet) bounced once on some concrete past a tent behind the left field bleachers and then rebounded over the back fence into the Roosevelt Avenue parking lot and vanished like a banshee into the night. He literally hit it out of the park. Suddenly, before you could say “Seed of Chucky” it was 4-2. The Yankees came back with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth, but could only score one off of “Dirty” Duaner Sanchez. Then Billy Wagner came back from the dead to face his deepest fears, six guns blazing. He pitched some nasty strikeouts, but then the just as the beast lay still, with one out to go, Billy got complacent again, took his eye off the creature, and suddenly the Thing from the Bronx leaped up with two more hits, placing the tying run in scoring position. Miguel Cairo then grounded sharply to Kaz Matsui, who at times has been a one-man horror show. But this time, he saved the day and threw out Cairo to end the game. It was a real nail-biter, and it turned out to be Wagner’s ninth save in twelve tries, which is a great percentage unless you are a heart surgeon or a closer in this tiny little town of New York.
It was an important day for “Spawn of the Braves,” Tom Glavine. He won his fifth straight start for a 7-2 record, his 282nd win. His four strikeouts put his career totals up to 2,401 to tie the great Dennis Eckersley for 35th place. He became only the second 7 game winner this year in the NL.
What’s really great about the Mets winning the rubber game of the series is that it puts them back in the .600 Club after one day in oblivion. Here are the current “600 Club/BIB” (Best in Baseball) standings: Note the Mets are only 3 games behind the Crouching Tigers and one game behind the unholy Red Sox in the “Best in Baseball” race.
Detroit Tigers 29 14 .674
Chicago WS 28 15 .651
St. Louis Cards 29 15 .659
Boston Red Sox 25 16 .610
NY Mets 26 17 .605
Tom Glavine and the Ghost of Warren SpahnCopyright © 2006 Evan Pritchard
Okay, so Tom Glavine had a little trouble adjusting to New York, and had the misfortune of joining the Mets just as they were entering their worst years of the 21st century. He had trouble getting people out for a few seasons. But he hung in their and toughed out the bad times. Now he’s once again a dominant force in the National League, and is still on his way to the Hall of Fame and possibly more post-season excitement with the Mets, who now lead the .500 (22 and 22) Braves by 4 ½ games, led in part by his 7-2 pitching, and above-.400 hitting.
When he was a child growing up in Concord, MA. he heard about the Braves’ great hurler Warren Spahn from his father who grew up not far from Boston, home of the Boston Braves until they moved to Milwaukee in 1953. Glavine once said he learned all about baseball from Warren Spahn through his father. Young Tommy wanted to be just like Warren Spahn when he grew up, and that dream has become another amazing fact at AMAZINE. Let’s compare their lifetime records.
Warren Spahn 4/23/21 Buffalo NY BL TL 6 foot 175 lbs. Debut, 4/19/1942, at the age of 20. (He turned 21 a few days later, and played out the season as a 21 year old.
Tom Glavine 3/25/66 Concord MA, BL TL 6’ 1” 190 lbs. Debut 8/17/87. He was 21
Warren Spahn had a short, premature pre-rookie season in the majors, with the team of his destiny, the Braves. In 1942 Spahn went 0-0 4 games, 2 starts 15 innings pitched 25 hits, 0 HR 11 BB 7 SO with an ERA of 5.47. He batted .167. For most of that year he was 21. He did not reach the majors again for four years.
In 1987, Glavine also had a premature pre-rookie season with the same team, the Braves, now of Atlanta. He had a 2-4 record in 9 games. In 50 innings, he gave up 55 hits, 5 HR, 33 BB and 20 SO, with an ERA of 5.54. He was also 21. He batted .125.
In1946, at the age of 25, Spahn returned to the Boston Braves and went 8-5, appearing in 24 games, 8 complete games, pitching a total of 125 innings, giving up 107 hits 6 HR, 36 BB 67 SO with an ERA of 2.94, excellent numbers. He batted .163.
Unlike Spahn, Glavine came right back the following year (in 1988) at the age of 22. He went 7-17 appearing in 34 games with one complete game, 195 innings pitched, 201 hits, 12 HR, 63 BB 84 SO and a 4.56 ERA, not Hall of Fame numbers. He batted only .183.
In1947 at the age of 26, Spahn went 21-10 for the Boston Braves, appearing in 40 games with 22 complete games, 7 shutouts, 245 hits 15 HR 84 BB 123 SO. He had a lead leading ERA of 2.33. He batted .163.
In 1989, at the age of 23, Glavine went 14-8 for the Braves, appearing in 29 games, with 6 complete games and 4 shutouts. He pitched 186 innings, giving up 172 hits, 20 HR, 40 BB, 90 SO and a 3.68 ERA. Note that Glavine had a much better walks to strikeouts percentage. Not bad! Glavine batted .149. Glavine’s father reminded Tom that Spahn became a 20 game winner in his second complete year. Tom fell six wins short in his.
In 1948, at the age of 27, Spahn went 15-12 appearing in 36 games for the Braves, with 16 complete games, and 3 shutouts, in 237 innings pitched. He gave up 19 HR, 77 BB, and marked up 114 SO. He posted an ERA of 3.17. He batted .167. In the World Series against Cleveland, he went 1 and 1 with a 3.00 ERA. He pitched 12 innings, with 10 hits, 4 earned runs, 3 walks and 12 strikeouts. He got an RBI at the plate as well. This was the World Series that inspired the famous baseball saying, “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain.” Like the current Mets team, the Braves had two great starters in Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain, but no one else to start. Those two got the only two wins the Braves enjoyed in the series against Cleveland, who had Bob Feller, Satchel Paige, and Bob Lemon. Ironically, Lemon got two of Cleveland’s four wins, the other two were turned in by Gene Bearden and Steve Gromek, not exactly household names.
In 1990, at the age of 24, Glavine went 10-12 in 33 appearances for the Braves, (one complete game, no shutouts) with 214 innings pitched. He gave up 232 hits, 18 homers, 78 BB 129 SO, and a 4.28 ERA. He batted .113. Glavine was not to make his World Series debut until the following year.
Note that both pitchers had approximately the same number of losses, homers, bases on balls, strikeouts, and innings pitched. In fact, Glavine gave up one less homer, and 5 less hits.
In 1949, aged 28, Spahn went 21-14 (the most wins on the year for a National Leaguer), appearing in 38 games, with 25 complete games (he led the league in this category too), and 4 shutouts. He pitched a remarkable league-leading 302 innings, giving up 283 hits, only 27 homers, 86 BB versus 151 SO, and sporting a 3.07 ERA. He batted .162. He was already one of the most dominant names in baseball.
In 1991, at the age of 25 Glavine went 20 and 11, (he led the league with 20 wins) appearing in 34 games, leading the league with 9 complete games, and also had 1 shutout. He pitched 246 innings with 201 hits, only 17 homers, 69 BB, 192 SO, and sporting a 2.55 ERA. He batted .230 at the plate. Glavine went 0-2 in the NLCS with a 3.21 ERA, pitching 14 innings with 12 hits, 5 earned runs, 6 walks and 11 strikeouts. The Braves beat the Pirates 4-3, and went on to play the Twins in the World Series, whom they also beat 4-3. In his first World Series, like Spahn, Tom went 1 and 1, and gave up 4 earned runs. However Tom posted a lower ERA (2.70) and one complete game. He gave up 8 hits (2 less than Spahn) in 13.1 innings (1 more), with 7 walks (4 more) and 8 strikeouts (4 less) in his first World Series as opposed to Spahn. He also batted .250 at the plate.
Please note that Glavine bested his father’s pitching hero in some respects during the regular season, giving up 82 less hits, 10 less homers, 17 less bases on balls, getting 41 more strikeouts, and maintaining an ERA that was .52 points lower than Warren’s. In this critical fourth year, both led the league as a twenty game winner, and both led the league in complete games as well. When Tom called to tell his father he had won 20 games, Mr. Glavine reminded him that Spahn didn’t need to wait until his 4th year. However Glavine became a 20 game winner when he was only 25. Spahn was still a rookie at 25 and the 20 win years were still a year away.
In 1950, at the age of 29, Spahn gave the Boston Braves another 20 win season, going 21-17, leading the league in wins. He appeared in 41 games, with a remarkable 25 complete games, and 1 shutout. He pitched in 293 innings, giving up 248 hits, 22 HR, 111 BB, getting a league leading 191 SO, and hosting a 3.16 ERA. He batted a healthy .217
Glavine at the age of 26, in 1992, also gave the Braves a 20 win year, going 20 and 8, also leading the league in wins. He appeared in 33 games, with 7 complete games and a league leading 5 shutouts. He pitched 225 innings, giving up 197 hits, only 6 HR, 70 BB versus 129 SO and hosting an ERA of 2.76. He batted a healthy .247.
Note that Glavine had an ERA that was .35 points lower than Spahns’ during their respective fifth years, and gave up 51 less hits, 16 less homers, 41 less bases on balls. His walk to strike out ratio was also better than Spahn’s. Glavine pitched in the 1992 NLCS, but went 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA. In the 1992 World Series, he went 1 and 1 giving up 3 earned runs (again similar to Spahn’s first Series), posting a 1.59 ERA thorugh 17 innings, ie 2 complete games. He gave up 10 hits 4 walks and got 8 strikeouts in that series against the victorious Blue Jays, who won 4 games to 2.
In1951, at the age of 30, Spahn went 22 and14 for the Braves, appearing in 39 games, leading the league with both 26 complete games and 7 shutouts. He pitched a remarkable 310 innings, giving up 278 hits 20 HR, 109 BB and chalking up a league leading 164 SO while hosting a 2.98 ERA His batting average fell to .190
In 1993, at the age of 27, Glavine went 22 and 6, appearing in 36 games with 4 complete games, and two shutouts. He pitched 239 innings, giving up 236 hits, 16 homers, 90 BB, 120 SO, and posting a 3.20 ERA. His batting average fell to .173
Note that both pitchers were 22 game winners in their sixth year. Glavine gave up 4 less homers, and 19 less walks. Glavine’s ERA was .22 points higher, but still similar numbers in many respects.
In the 1993 NLCS, Glavine went 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA with 7 walks and 11 strikeouts, but the Braves lost to the Phillies, 4 games to 2 and were eliminated.
Spahn, at the age of 31 and pitching in his seventh full year for the Braves in1952, coming off one of his greatest years, went only 14-19 in 40 games, a disappointing year, win-wise. Nonetheless, he pitched19 complete games, with 5 shutouts, giving up 263 hits, 19 homers, and 73 BB while striking out a league leading 183 SO. His ERA was a chilling 2.98. His own batting average was was .161. It was to be his last year pitching in Boston, as the Braves decided to move west to the Great Lakes and take up residence in Milwaukee.
In 1994, Glavine, at the age of 28, also went down in wins, posting a 13 and 9 record, one less win that Spahn had in his seventh year, but a much better win-loss percentage. In 25 appearances, Glavine pitched 2 complete games. He pitched 165 innings, with 173 hits, only 10 homers, 70 BB, 140 SO, and a 3.97 ERA. He batted .179.
Note the similar number of wins, and bases on balls. Also, Glavine had 9 less homers dealt, although the 43 difference in strikeouts is hard to ignore.
No World Series was played in 1994.
Warren Spahn adjusted to a new city in 1953 with gusto, posting a league leading 23 and 7 record in his 32nd year. He appeared in 35 games, with 24 complete games and 5 shutouts. In 265 innings, he gave up 211 hits, 14 HR, 70 BB 148 SO, and unleashed a league-leading 2.10 ERA, certainly one of the better ERAs of modern times. His batting average was a healthy .219.
Glavine,in his eighth year, 1995, at the age of 29, went 16 and 7 in 29 appearances, with 3 complete games and 1 shutout. In 198 innings, he gave up 182 hits, 9 HR, 66 BB, 127 SO and had a 3.08 ERA. He batted .222, pretty good for a pitcher, and 3 points ahead of Spahn for his eighth year.
Note that both pitchers had the same number of losses in their eighth year, and similar number of walks. Glavine gave up 5 less homers, 4 less walks, but 21 less strikeouts. Although never a 2.10 pitcher, Tom Glavine did fall within one whole run of Spahn’s best year ERA.
In the NLDS in 1995, Glavine went 0-0 with a 2.57 ERA in 7 innings against the Rockies, and batted .333 at the plate. In the NLCS, the Braves beat the Reds 4 games to nothing. Tom Glavine went 0-0 but posted a remarkable 1.29 ERA in 7 innings, 5 strikeouts to 2 walks. In the 1995 World Series, the Braves defeated the Indians 4 games to 2. Glavine had a great series, going 2-0, with a 1.29ERA, giving up 2 earned runs in 14 innings, with 11 strikeouts to 6 walks.
Warren Spahn, at the age of 33, in 1954, went 21 and 12, appearing in 39 games with a remarkable 23 complete games, with one shutout. He pitched 283 innings, giving up 262 hits, 24 HR, 86 BB, 136 SO, and hosting a 3.14 ERA. He batted .208.
Glavine, in his ninth year, (1996) at the age of 30, went 15 and 10 in 36 appearances with one complete game. He pitched 235 innings, giving up 222 hits, 14 HR, 85 BB, getting 181 SO, and sporting a 2.98 ERA. He batted .289 on the season, earning a reputation as a great hitting pitcher.
Note that Glavine had less bases on balls but 45 more strikeouts than Spahn. Glavine also had 2 less losses in 3 less appearances. He gave up 40 less hits, 10 less homers, and achieved an ERA that was .16 points less than that of Spahn’s for the corresponding year.
In the NLDS, the Braves bested the Dodgers 3-0. Glavine went 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA, with 7 strikeouts to 3 walks, one earned run in 6.2 innings. He also batted .500 in 2 at bats. In the NLCS, the Braves beat the Cards 4 games to 3. Glavine went 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA, 3 earned runs in 13 innings, 10 hits 9 strikeouts to no walks. That led to the classic World Series between the Yankees and Braves, which the Yankees won 4 games to 2. Glavine went 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA over 7 innings, with one earned run, 4 hits and 8 strikeouts to 3 walks. Compare this series to Spahn’s 1958 post-season, where he had a 2.20 ERA in a losing effort to the Yankees, who won the Series, 4 games to 3.
This ends part one of the comparisons between Warren Spahn and the “Spawn of Spahn, Tom Glavine,” covering the first 10 seasons. Watch for part two in an upcoming posting, when we will compare Spahn’s 1955 through 1965 seasons with Glavine’s 1997 through 2005 seasons. Spahn got to pitch again in the World Series as the Braves defeated the Yankees in 1957 (1 and 1, 4.70 ERA) and lost to the Yankees in 1958 (2 and 1, 2.20 ERA) Both pitchers are known for winning in a losing effort against the Yankees in World Series play. In 1958 Spahn helped his own cause immensely with 38 base hits on the year for an amazing .333 batting average, which carried over into his World Series play, going 4 for 12 (.333) against the Yankees’Whitey Ford. Interestingly, at the end of his career, Spahn left the Braves, his lifelong team, to join the New York Giants, the team that more than any other is the predecessor of today’s Metropolitans. He even wore the old Giants’ baseball cap with what is now the Mets logo on it. Interesting!
The 600 Club; Mets in Fast Company
One of the most interesting things about the 2006 season so far is the number of teams in both leagues that are in the 600 Club. These are teams with winning percentages of 600 or over. Of course, thanks to something called mathematics, this means there are a number of teams in the 300 club as well. We won’t talk about them today. Here are the “600 Club” standings for tonight, including one team at least temporarily in the 700 club.
Chicago White Sox 20…….8 .714
Cincinnati Reds 20…….9 .690
NY Mets 19……9 .679
Houston Astros 19…….9 .679
Detroit Tigers 19 ……10 .655
The Mets are third in a pack of five very fast horses, carrying the banner for the National League East in their teeth. Its going to be a year to remember!
May 2nd, Some Mets Tidbits and Weird StatsCopyright c 2006 Evan Pritchard
The Mets are hot, and look to continue to be hot for a while. While they don’t have the best record in baseball, as they did in mid-April when they were 8-1 (.889) they are getting back up there. Here are the cross-baseball standings for teams over .600.
Reds 19 8 .704
White Sox 18 8 .692
Mets 17 8 .680
Tigers 17 9 .654
Astros 16 9 .640
Cards 17 10 .630
It amazes me that there are six teams above .600, and that four of them are in the National League. The Mets are in third place in the race for “best team record for 2006. However the Mets are only .24 behind the Reds in the race for the best record in baseball, one game behind, and tied in the loss column as well. In fact, the Reds “magic number” for the best record in baseball over the Mets is 136.
The Mets have now won as many games as the Marlins have lost, 17. Florida’s win percentage is now less than the inverse of the Mets wining percentage (.261 + .680 = 941, .59 points less than inverse. The inverse of the Mets winning percentage would be .320)
For a former Senators’ fan, this is very encouraging, as my main interest is making sure the Mets don’t somehow end up in the cellar, like they did several times in this short century already. (Fear of the cellar is something a lot of former Washingtonians suffer from who grew up during the “Ed Stroud Era” of baseball) Therefore, we need a magic number for the race for the cellar.
THE MAGIC NUMBER FOR THE RACE FOR THE WORST: 129
If you take 162 games, and subtract the number of losses of the league’s leading worst team (the Marlins, 17) and then subtract from that the number of wins of the team in question (Mets, 17) and then add one, you get 129. This then is the Mets magic number for being eliminated from competition for last place. Any combination of 129 Mets wins, or 129 Marlins losses, will insure that the Mets do not end up where they did in 2003. It is also comforting to know that this number is 3 less than their magic number to beat the Braves.
METS DWI Still Strong
The rest of the Eastern Division is currently suffering from a .363 winning percentage, while the Mets are currently at .680. The gap between these numbers is .317 which is the Mets’ current DWI, Divisional Wins Index. This is up from .309 the other day.
JOHN MAINE TO PINCH-PITCH TONIGHT
John Maine will see what he can do for New York tonight, filling in for Brian Bannister, from Arizona. Can he “Chicago” Washington, D.C. and shut them out? Well, in Virginia, this year he is 1-3 but with an ERA of 2.63. (This is better than Bannister’s major league ERA of 2.89) Maine was in Maryland last year, playing for the Orioles, and played in 10 games. He did not do so well then. In 40 innings, he gave up 39 hits (almost one per inning) 30 runs, (28 earned) and his walk to strike out ratio was 1-1 (24/24). His HRA, his Home Run Average, was 1.8018018, which means he gave up 1.8018 home runs every 9 innings on the average. This is high, as the range for major leaguer pitchers tends to be from .7 to about 2.0.
The Mets have given up about 22 runs per 6 games, and in the first 24 games gave up 89 runs. Not including last night, here is a ranking of which pitchers were charged with giving up those runs, earned or unearned, ranked from most to least.
Name # R # Inn
Zambrano 15 15.0
Trachsel 14 26.2
Julio 13 11.2
Martinez 12 33.2
Glavine 12 39.1
Bannister 9 28.0
Wagner 4 14.0
Heilman 4 13.2
Oliver 3 10.1
Bradford 2 7.2
Feliciano 1 7.0
Sanchez 0 17.0
As we can see, Zambrano gave up 17% of all the (earned/unearned) runs scored against the Mets this year, in only 7% of the innings (15 innings). That means that if Sanchez had been pitching those innings, (scorelessly of course) the Mets would have given up 74 runs all year so far, in 221.2 innings, for a 3.0122 Runs Average (runs scored per nine innings). What does all this mean? I don’t know, but I’m glad Zambrano put on a good show last night.
Team Scores High In Divisional Wins Index
by Evan Pritchard
Monday, May 1st, 2006
Happy May Day, everyone, May Day, and there’s no need to call for help for the Mets, because they are flying high. As of today, they have a 16 and 8 record. What’s truly amazing is their DWI score. That’s the Divisional Wins Index, a stat which, in fact, I just made up. Many Mets fans may feel that they are intoxicated with the smell of victory on their breath. That’s because, unconsciously, they know they have a strong division wins index behind them.
While the Mets are .666 in winning percentage, (with a 16 and 8 record behind the White Sox with 17 and 7, the Reds with 17 and 8 The Cards with 17 and 8 and tied with Houston at 16 and 8) the rest of the division has a 34 and 61 win loss record over 95 games, for an amazingly low winning percentage of .357. I don’t mean to ever gloat over another’s pain, but YOO HOO! That gives us a positive DWI (Division Wins Index) of .309. That is the difference between our winning percentage and that of the rest of the division. In fact, right now the Mets have won 17% of all the games played in the division for the year, and have won 32% of all the victories enjoyed by the division so far this season. (Of the 50 NL East wins so far, the Mets have 16 of them) While I feel bad for our division, and have alot of affection for the Nats, Phillies, and Marlins, I am grateful to the Goddess of Winged Victory for this opportunity to take a sip from the cup of bone crunching dominance.
That .357 winning percentage for the rest of our Eastern Division friends is remarkably close to .333, which, if it had happened, would give the Mets a division win index ratio of two to one, or half thier own win percentage. This would, I assume, be the first time in baseball history, since the begining of division play, that any team has dominated their division in a like manner. It’s good to enjoy those things for a few moments, and then get focused back on the sobering work at hand, beating the Braves.
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that the Braves won’t overcome their six game deficit, but for those of us who have been staring up at first place for the last four years as a drowned man might look up from the bottom of the pool at the sun, this is good news. It means that we have a low mathematical possibility of landing up in last place once again this year. I know, because I remember cheering on the Mets during 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004 seasons, when their DWI was probably a negative .333 at times.
So enjoy this wonderful May blossoming of young talent, and drive carefully Mets fans! Please observe all traffic laws while under the influence of WFAN.
GAME SCORES AND RMI TOTALS
In this posting, I will attempt to keep a running tab on all Mets scores for the season, plus the RMI totals. RMI, as you can see from the previous posting, is the Runs Margin Index, one of the most important of the “weird stats” that we keep track of here at AMAZINE.
If the Mets have a stupendous year, this page will become a permanent memorial to that thrilling campaign. If on the other hand, if the year turns sour, this page will be very embarrassing to all of us rooting for the orange and blue, and we will read it and weep, saying “Where did we go wrong?” Somehow, I feel pretty confident in these guys, Wright, Reyes, Delgado, Beltran, Pedro, LoDuca, Floyd, Wagner…I think we’ll have a year to remember this year.
METS SCORES FOR 2006
W Monday, April 3rd
Tuesday April 4th
L Wednesday April 5th,
W Thursday, April 6th,
W Friday April 7th,
Saturday April 8th
W Sunday April 9th
Monday April 10th
W Tuesday April 11th
W Wednesday April 12th
W Thursday, April 13th
W Friday, April 14th
L Saturday, April 15th
W Sunday, April 16th
W Monday, April 17th
12 GAME SUBTOTAL METS 72 OPPONENTS 44 RMI index 1.61 RMI ave. .620
(This means we scored 1.61 times the number of runs, with .620 of all runs)
10 wins and 2 losses
Runs Margin Index Part Two: This is a continuation of the RMI tally
L Tuesday April 18th,
Wednesday, April 19th,
L Mets 1
W Thursday April 20th
L Friday, April 21st
W Saturday, April 22nd
L Sunday, April 23rd,
L Monday, April 24th,
W Tuesday, April 25th,
W Wednesday April 26th
Thursday April 27th no game
W Friday April 28th,
W Saturday April 29th,
L Sunday, April 30th,
Subtotal: Mets 48 Opponents 44
6 WINS 6 LOSSES
RMI ave. .521
RMI index 1.09
Totals for April
Mets 120 Opponents 88
16 wins 8 losses .667
RMI ave .577
RMI index 1.3636
We had a good April with an RMI of index of 1.3636 This means that we scored 1.3636 times as many runs as our opponents. We also won twice as many games as we lost.
I am dividing the tallies up into 6 and 12 game sections for closer analysis. It is interesting that the Mets as a team have given up about 22 runs per 6 game week, both on the average and in fact. (That’s a defensive average of about 3.66 runs allowed per game, versus an offensive average of 5 runs scored per game) The defense has been very consistent. The offense was exceptional in the first half of the month, for a 10-2 record, and good enough for a .500 record in the second half.
Mets 120 Opponents 88
16 wins 8 losses
W Monday, May 1, 2006
L Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
W Wednesday, May 3rd
W Thursday, May 4th
MAY 5th through 31 TBA
Thursday June 1st NO GAME
Friday June 2nd Game with Giants postponed
L Saturday June 3rd, Mets 4 Giants 6
L Sunday June 4th, Mets 6 Giants 7
W Monday June 5th, Mets 4 Dodgers 1
L Tuesday June 6th Mets 5 Dodgers 8
W Wednesday June 7th, Mets 9 Dodgers 7
WThursday June 8th, Mets 7 Dodgers 1
W Friday, June 9th, Mets 10 Diamondbacks 6
W Saturday June 10th, Mets 5 Diamondbacks 0
W Sunday June 11th, Mets 15 Diamondbacks 2
Monday June 12th, NO GAME
WTuesday June 13th, Mets 9 Phillies 7
W Wednesday, June 14th, Mets 9 Phillies 3
W Thursday, June 15th, Mets 9 Phillies 3
L Friday, June 16th, Mets 3 Orioles 6
L Saturday, June 17th, Mets 2 Orioles 4
So far for the Month of June, the Mets have outscored opponents 97 to 70. This is a runs margin index of 1.39. Mets scored 97 of the 167 runs registered in these games for a RMI percentage of .580. The Mets won loss for June is 9 wins and 5 losses. In these 14 games, they have scored 97 runs, for a RPG (runs per game) average of 6.93. The opponents RPG is 5.
April 14th, 2006 Do You See A Pattern?By Evan Pritchard
(This article was written after the second week of major league play, but was misplaced. Sorry for the confusion)
Here are the National League leaders for April 14th:
Wins Mets 6-1 6 in a row .875
Batting Wright Mets.469
Mueller Dodgers .444
Stolen Bases Freel Reds 6
Reyes Mets 3
Slugging Wright Mets .938
Berkman Astros .938
Runs Beltran Mets 12
Atkins Rockies 12
Hits Mueller Dodgers 16
Wright Mets 15
Triples Sullivan Rockies 3
Wright Mets 2
Reyes Mets 2
Total Bases Hawpe Rockies 31
Wright Mets 30
Do you see a pattern here? The Mets are good, and David Wright had an excellent first two weeks on the field. As of April 14th, Wright is the best hitting third baseman since the 2005 All star break batting .348 during that time. Mets went 8-1 for the best starting record since 1985. It was the best win streak since Sept. 3-9 of 2002.
April 13th, 2006 Watch this space for special coverage of “Mets Do Kunga Line Dance at RFK,” story, score 13 runs off Nationals, covered live by Amazine.
April 26th, 2006: Mets Give The Devil His Due and End Up In Extra Inning Heaven
The Mets came from behind a 3-1 deficit and defeated the Giants in their own castle this afternoon, in a 3 hour 50 minute game that had more “winning runs” than most of last year. They got ahead 4-3, then the Giants came back to tie, 4-4 in the eighth. The Mets went ahead again, , but then the Giants came back in the ninth to make it 7 to 7. The highlight of the game was the bold, glory-seeking entry by “The Sandman” relief pitcher Billy Wagner who came in to pitch to pinch hitter Barry Bonds, who had been a “devil” of a batter lately to get out. First base was open, with one on, but Wagner was determined to advance his reputation as a closer by throwing three strikes past “The Sleeping Giant” rather than walk him. Wagner was not much as a Giant-slayer, and threw a reasonably plump pitch to Bonds, who took him very deep to tie up the game in the 9th, with a two run homer before 34,454 screaming fans. Call it a blown save, but the game wasn’t over by any means. It went into overtime with a 7-7 tie, and few relievers left standing. The Mets came back in the tenth to win it yet again, and this time held onto their lead, behind Oliver, for a 9-7 victory.
In the sixth inning, the Mets relief team hit a high water mark, but it was not to last. Their bullpen at that moment was number one in ERA with 2.53, number one in least walks with 21, number one in strikeouts, number one in runs, with only 3 runs scored in the last 32.3 innings. Then it became four runs in 34 innings, after Heilman set off a few fire crackers, but they were still first. Then the Great Wall started to crumble a little, and the bull pen leaked a few runs, after being knocked around by Barry Bonds, but came out with yet another win, credited to Oliver. Even after today’s slugfest, we can still claim the best bullpen in the National League.
The Mets had four steals in the game, including one by 47 year old Julio Franco (we are still waiting to hear if he is the oldest base-stealer in history) and two by Reyes, who now leads the National League in that category with 10. The Mets are now 14-7 on the year. At this pace, the Mets will finish the year with 108 victories and 54 defeats, and Reyes will steal 77 bases. I look outside and its green grass, blue sky and 70 degrees and sunny. I also project that this lovely weather will remain with us until Halloween, when the Mets are breathing on their little rings and polishing them against their Armani suits, happy with their 108 victories.