A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Insert Corny Title Here

The possibilities are endless to make a corny title with John Maine's name, but I'll abstain. When I imagine where this Met rotation would be without him, the bodily function known as regurgitation occurs. John Maine has been so solid for the Mets, it makes Omar look like a genius who supposedly would not budge on the Benson deal until Maine was included. He did not feel Julio alone was good enough for Benson and pushed for the young pitcher who fell out of favor with the Orioles.

Since July 1st, Maine has had the lowest h/9 with 5.54, whip with 0.92, bb/9 with 2.77, and ERA with 2.08 out of ever starter. The closest person in h/9 was Pedro Martinez with 7.08, the closest whip was Pedro with 1.13, and the closest ERA was Steve Trachsel with 4.87. His k/9 was second to only The Duque, who posted an impressive 8.9 k/9 since July 1st. He has flat out dominated.

Maine has the highest average game score since July 1st and not by a little bit. He is sitting at 61 with The Duque at 49.1, Pedro at 49.5, Glavine at 42.3, and Trachsel at 44.6. It really has not been close as to who has been the Mets best pitcher since the All-Star break and one has to wonder what type of numbers he would have put up if he had not gotten injured and was in the rotation since May 2nd. John Maine has looked like the real deal.

* * *

  • This could quite possibly be the single best thing I've ever watched.

  • Fernando Martinez went 2 for 5 with a run scored and a double as Jesus Flores went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a stolen base in St. Lucie's 4-1 win over Clearwater.

    Deolis Guerra is a stud. Hagerstown won 5-0 behind five hitless innings by Deolis in which he struck out six en route to his sixth win. Guerra did struggle with his control a lot and walked six, but it seems he is his own worst enemy at this point. His control has been markedly improved since early in the year, but he does relapse every once in a while.

    Tobi Stoner had yet another good outing for the Cyclones and went six innings and gave up six hits, two runs, and two walks while striking out three in Brooklyn's 2-1 loss to Auburn. Joseph Holden also continues to hit well and went 3 for 4 with a run scored, a walk, and a double.

  • MLB is still interested in Paul LoDuca's reported gambling problem.

    Major League Baseball hasn't placed the Paul LoDuca gambling investigation in the cold-case file just yet.

    MLB sent two investigators from its security office to Philadelphia during the Mets' series against the Phillies this week to interview the All-Star catcher about gambling issues, the Daily News has learned.

  • Preston Wilson has reached out to the Mets to let them know he is interested in coming to New York. Shocking.

  • Here is an interesting tidbit. Kazmir struck out the first seven batters in his start yesterday and had ten total. Kazmir's ten strikeouts yesterday brought him to within two of the club record.

    Scott Kazmir's 370 strikeouts are two off Victor Zambrano's Rays record. His 1.95 home ERA leads the league.

    Kazmir has done it in 63 games and 358 innings and Zambrano needed 481.2 innings and 135 games.

  • Bob Klapisch is concerned.

    Pedro Martinez's latest setback in the war against time is being called a mild calf strain. Before that, it was food poisoning and a sore left hip, which was preceded by the damaged big toe on his push-off foot. Little by little, one trip at a time to the disabled list, the Mets keep learning just how fragile Martinez really is, and why the trip to October somehow hangs over the Mets like an anvil.

    It's there, some scouts whisper, that Pedro's vulnerabilities will be fully exposed, if not in the Division Series or League Championship Series, then certainly in the World Series against a more powerful American League team.

    All of these strange injuries are certainly concerned. I know the story that the Mets and Pedro tell that if this was the playoffs, he would be ready to go. However, it is hard not to wonder what is really going on with Pedro.

  • It looks like it will David Williams on Saturday.

    Willie Randolph said Dave Williams is more likely to replace Pedro Martinez as tomorrow's starter against the Colorado Rockies than left-hander Oliver Perez.

    "We'll talk about it, but he might be the front-runner," the Mets' manager said about Williams. "He's pitching a little better at this point."

    Williams is 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA in six starts with the Class AAA Norfolk Tides.

    Perez, who came to the Mets from Pittsburgh in the Xavier Nady deal, was 2-10 with the Pirates with an ERA over 9.00.

    Give us Perez. Tell him to just go out there and chuck.

  • From Newsday.com:

    Jose Reyes' first-inning homer in Tuesday's 11-4 loss to the Phillies was the fifth time he has led off the game with a home run this season, tying him with Kaz Matsui (2004) for the single-season franchise record. But it also was the seventh of his young career, only two shy of the team mark shared by Tommie Agee and Lenny Dykstra. This season, Reyes is third in the National League, trailing the Astros' Craig Biggio (six) and the Nationals' Alfonso Soriano (eight).

  • From Dailynews.com:

    Carlos Beltran's solo homer in the fifth was his NL-leading 23rd on the road, tying Howard Johnson's club record for most in one season away from Shea. Beltran also enjoyed the 15th four-hit game of his career and his third of the season.

  • AskBA answers a Kevin Mulvey question.

    Now that righthander Kevin Mulvey is in the fold for the Mets, where do you think he ranks in their system and where do you see him eventually fitting into their plans? I didn’t hear much about him in the run up to the draft.

    Pete Duffy
    New York

    New York's top pick in the June draft, Mulvey ranks in the Mets' second tier of prospects. He's behind outfielder Fernando Martinez and righthanders Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber, and alongside players such as righty Deolis Guerra, lefty Jon Niese and outfielder Carlos Gomez.

    There was talk that he could go in the supplemental first round, but the Mets landed him in the middle of the second round and signed him for slot money, $585,000. He has three solid pitches, including a low-90s fastball, a curveball or a slider. Despite his good stuff, Mulvey didn't dominate mid-level competition at Villanova, so that's a red flag. But if he develops as hoped, he should be a nice mid-rotation starter for New York two or three years from now.

  • Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Ollie Time

    Randolph said both Brian Bannister (eight shutout innings Tuesday for the Tides) and Mike Pelfrey, who's expected to come off the Triple-A disabled list this weekend, are "not in the mix" to replace Martinez.

    It boils down to two lefties who both have had success in the bigs. Dave Williams is the likely starter, but I do not think there is one person that is not intrigued with Oliver Perez and that would include everyone in the Mets organization. While publicly everyone says next year is the time to watch Oliver Perez, it is undeniable the flame throwing left-hander is secretly on everyone's mind for this season. He is not a rookie and has had big league success. Could he be effective this season with some minor tweaking or does he need a complete overhaul?

    In 2004, Perez was seventh in the majors in ERA, fifth in strikeouts, fourth in batting average against, first in K/9, ninth in WHIP, and ninth in SLG% against. If not for Randy Johnson and Perez being on a shitty team, he could of won the CY Young Award. I have seen pitchers toss up years that are clearly an anomaly, but Perez's year was just beyond sick and I have not seen anomaly years that dominant before. His K/9 was always strong and he always had 'stuff', but he put it together in 2004 at a very young age.

    John Sickels points out the obvious and says there is hope for him. Sickels also said that Perez was hitting 95 mph and consistently hitting the 92-95 mph range in at least one start prior to the trade. If that is the case and he can keep his velocity up, that is a big boon. However, the problem is that he just hasn't been consistent as Emad has pointed out.

    I believe John. But how can he get lit up by AAA hitters sitting 93 with a devastating slider? I understand his command might not be there, but AAA hitters shouldn't be able to carpet bomb stuff like that, even with poor command. Unless, of course, he's just lobbing it in there.

    In the first two games at Norfolk, people I trust told me he was at 82-83. I don't know what to believe. All I can say is that the kid is an enigma wrapped in a mystery.

    Ollie clearly isn't hurt, but the position of his arm and leg aren't as pronounced as they used to be. That is, his arm isn't extended as far back as it used to during windup. The position of his leg is also closer to his body and less extended. Don't know what this means, but call it an amateur observation.

    Another poster had said he was hitting the low to mid 90's in his last start which was very solid with Norfolk. If Perez's fastball is up consistently in the mid to low 90's, I think he should get the nod. I know I wanted to shut him down and have him sent to St. Lucie for rehab and a shrink, but Pedro's injury kind of changes things. Why not let Guy Conti and Rick Peterson get a first hand look at him? Dave Williams may be the safe bet, but with a double digit lead, the Mets should go with the riskier bet with higher upside. Give Oliver a start on Saturday and see if he responds enough to warrent giving him another start or two until Pedro is back. How the Mets play today and Friday might impact who they do actually bring up, but I hope Omar takes a chance on Perez.

    Special mention:

    You have to love the Microsoft Paint question mark that Sickels put on the baseball card. Classic.

    * * *

  • The chunky one is back.

    Heath Bell got the call-up Wednesday to fill Martinez's roster spot. But he knows he could be gone Saturday to open a spot for a starter. He's been shuttled five times between Norfolk and the majors this season – four officially and once when he wasn't eligible and had to head right back to the minors.

    How about he stays? Just maybe, he can add something to this bullpen and the Mets sorely need to add another reliable set up man. He can easily replicate at the very least Roberto Hernandez's 1.60+ whip. Just give the guy a shot and regular work. Please....

  • Darryl is back in the 1986 World Series celebration and it just wouldn't have been right without him.

  • The guy who admitted to killing JonBenet Ramsey just looks creepy.

    Not only does he look creepy, he is creepy.

    Asked what happened when JonBenet died, he said: "It would take several hours to describe that. It's a very involved series of events that would involve a lot of time. It's very painful for me to talk about it."

    "He said it was second-degree murder. He said it was unintentional," Suwat said. "He said he loved this child, that he was in love with her. He said she was very pretty, a pageant queen. She was the school star, she was very cute and sweet."

    Hopefully he gets death by broomsticks shoved up his ass.

  • John Maine has been pretty impressive so far.

    Right-handed hitters have 14 hits and 24 strikeouts in 85 at-bats against Maine. That's a .165 average. But five of the 14 hits have been home runs.

    Righties are hitting .165/.193/.388 off of him and lefites are not doing much better with a .222/.325/.319 line with sixteen hits and thirteen strikeouts in 72 at-bats.

  • From BA:

    The Double-A Binghamton Mets lost four pitchers to Olympic qualifying teams, including closer Henry Owens, who will pitch for Team USA. Starter Miguel Pinango may be selected for the Venezuela team, while Puerto Rican lefthander Willie Collazo and righthander Ivan Maldonado will represent their homeland. The Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament begins Aug. 25 in Cuba, and the pitchers will leave the Mets Sunday.

    "To put on the Puerto Rico jersey at the World Baseball Classic was so special," Collazo told the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. "I have no doubt that it will still be special to put on the Puerto Rico jersey and try to qualify for the Olympics. As much as I want to be here and try to qualify for the (Eastern League) playoffs, at the same time I’ve got an opportunity to play for Puerto Rico."

  • Quote of the year....

    It wasn't. On Tuesday, the Post found another 19-year-old, Christina Alisio, who works in a Philadelphia betting parlor and said she had hooked up with Lo Duca last summer. That qualified as front-page news. "He's all right," Alisio said about Lo Duca's off-the-diamond skills, "but below what I expected."

    Paulie Ballgame? Under the bus.

    Really, really good reporting by the New York Post hitting the hard issues. It's not like World War III was about to break out or anything at the time of their award winning coverage on the LoDuca non-story.

  • Phil Humber had a solid outing in Binghamton's loss to Bowie. Humber went 5.2 innings and gave up three hits, two earned runs, one homer, and two walks while striking out nine.

    Fernando Martinez, Mike Carp, and Caleb Stewart all went deep in St. Lucie's 7-2 win over Clearwater. Martinez went 1 for 4 with his third homer of the year and his eighth overall, Carp went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and his thirteenth homer of the year to bring his average up to .297, and Stewart went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, a triple, four RBIs, and his thirteenth homerun of the year. Jose Sanchez picked up his tenth win of the year with seven innings of one earned run ball.

    Jon Neise threw three scoreless innings with one hit allowed, two walks allowed, and four strikeouts in Hagerstown's loss to Lakewood. He was held to three innings as he was on a pitch count to keep watch on his arm which has thrown 120 innings this year.

    Eric Brown and John Ruckle each threw a scoreless inning for the NL All-Stars as Dustin Martin went 2 for 5 with a double and Jason Jacobs went 0 for 1 in NL's loss to the AL-Starts in the NY-Penn All Star Game.
  • Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Sorry About Your Life

    I made the trek down to Philadelphia to see the Mets get ripped apart for the second straight game by the Phillies. The Philly fans, who root for a sub .500 team and have to jump at any chance they can get to enjoy their team beating a team of the Mets ilk, took every chance to let me know how much my favorite team sucked. That's all well and fine. The Mets got shellacked two games in a row and there wasn't much I can do. There are times you have to just grin and bear it, although I do prefer that my antagonists have all their teeth.

    One trash talking girl was particularly creative. She disregarded the fact there was a baseball game going on and told my friend "sorry about your life". Now, his life sucks, but not because of baseball. I just found it hysterical she would just go for the jugular and try and tear down his entire being while we were hanging out on the concourse after giving up on the game. Good times for all. I do give the Philly fans credit because they showed up in droves to a weekday game and were into it.

    One thing that I did notice is that the Mets have become the Braves...well, this year at least. As I was at the game taking some abuse from Philly fans, I was reminding them that their team was under .500, double digit games behind the Mets, still looking for their first World Series win, not going to make the playoffs (9.86% chance), and still just an all around big pile of suck. Then one kid said, "yeah, you will make the playoffs but you'll never win the World Series". That is what Met fans have been saying about the Braves for years and that is somehow supposed to make up for the fact your team isn't very good and will not be going to the playoffs while the team you hate does. What is even more bizarre is the fact that I kind of sounded like a Yankee fan. It is strange how things come full circle, but I like being here.

    * * *

  • Brian Bannister's last AAA start was very bad. This one? More like we all expected. Bannister should be dominating AAA at this point and he went eight innings and allowed three hits, no runs, and no walks while striking out seven.

    Fernando Martinez went 0 for 5, Mike Carp went 1 for 4 with his twelfth homerun, a walk, and two RBIs, and Jesus Flores went 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double in St. Lucie's loss to Clearwater.

  • The Mets and the Diamondbacks are still talking about Shawn Green.

    The Mets and D-Backs have talked about a deal involving Green, and with the no-trade clause looking like less of an obstacle, it could come down to money as Aug. 31 approaches. Green will earn $9.5 million next season, with a $2 million option for 2008, and the Mets would want the D-Backs to pick up at least half of that money.

    This would definitely be a savvy move by Omar and one that is looking increasingly important day by day.

  • Pedro might be headed for the DL.

    Despite the Mets' optimism, the bottom line is that Martinez has been bothered by tightness in his calf for at least his last three starts, including Monday's, when his leg was definitely a problem. Martinez did not return after hitting two batters with the bases loaded and giving up six runs in the first inning of a 13-0 loss to the Phillies.

    I'm going to state the obvious, but Pedro needs to be healthy. If he needs to go on the DL, so be it. Get him healthy and done with these lingering injuries as much as can be. It is concerning enough that he has his 99.99999999% torn labrum, a hip issue, a toe issue, and now a calf issue. He will never be 100% healthy for the rest of his career probably, but he needs to be as healthy as he can. Enough saving face about Pedro and his health, get him more rest.

  • Talk about a different view of things that small market teams have.

    Wolff, in his second year of ownership, is hoping for his first postseason and commended the coaching staff and players for pushing forward despite the flood of injuries.

    "If we win the division, great," Wolff said. "If we don't, we'll still have a great year."

  • The Duque needed to step up and it's safe to say he didn't.

    "If it was a good pitch, they hit it good," Hernandez said. "If it was a bad pitch, they hit it good."

    However, he didn't get much help in the field either.

    Lastings Milledge misplayed three balls in right field that led to three runs, and Chris Woodward misjudged a line drive in left. None of those plays, Randolph said, were the result of not hustling.

    Had they been, there would have been no laughter.

    "It happens once in a while," Randolph said. "We've been crisp all year."

    Jose Reyes was the lone bright spot and very bright one at that. From yesterday's post:

    If Reyes steals one more base and lifts his average to .300 (he was at .295 entering Monday's game), he would finish with better than 50 stolen bases, 20 doubles, 15 triples, 10 homers and a .300 average -- making him only the third player in history to do that, joining Honus Wagner (1908) and Willie McGee (1985).

    Reyes now has a .299/.354/.496 line and is on pace for 137 runs scored, 32 doubles, 21 triples, 20 homers, 68 stolen bases, and 82 RBIs. How many players have hit over .300, scored 130 times knocked 30 doubles, 20 triples, and 20 homers, stole 60 bases and hit over 80 RBIs? I have no idea, but I think it is safe to safe Reyes could be the first.

    The Mets are in dire need of having Tom Glavine go seven innings tonight, but that is a tall order in Citizen's Bank Park.

  • Ramon Castro is on his way back.

    Catcher Ramon Castro took soft-toss batting practice yesterday at Port St. Lucie, Fla., but still had problems with his strained oblique muscle. "The report I got was he didn't look comfortable," Randolph said. It had been hoped Castro would have been cleared to play in a rehab game, but that's still a few days away. ... Left fielder Cliff Floyd is still not ready to do anything other than work on an exercise bike or swim therapy to help his strained left Achilles' tendon.

  • Why trade Nady for Roberto if he is not even going to get used? He has been used in four losses and two wins so far and looks like he is not getting much responsibility. The Mets weakened their team to bolster the pen with a guy they are not using. Why not just give those spots to Heath Bell? I liked the move because of what the Mets received in return with bullpen help and Oliver Perez as a low risk, really high reward, but if you don't trust Roberto enough to use him, the move was not really good at all.

  • This was the second time I was at Citizen's Bank Park and the first time this season. Last year, they had Geno's cheesesteaks. This year? Rick's. Apparently Pat Olivieri, who is the purveyor of Pat's cheesesteaks, has a cousin Rick Olivieri. He wanted nothing more in his life to grow up and make cheesesteaks and his wish finally came true. Rick decided to cash in on the family name in 1995 with his very own cheesesteak venture. The result? A weak imposter. Very perplexing move by the Phillies.

    Cheesesteak-gate aside, it is still an amazing park. We were able to get some tickets for the Hall of Fame Club which is a glass enclosed, air conditioned, and carpeted part of the ball park. It has a full bar, plasma TVs, and sit-down eating as well as some other perks. Coors field had the same thing and I hope Shea has one. As of now, the Mets have the Diamond Club, but this just is way different. You can buy a one game tickets for the Hall of Fame Club so anyone can go and you can get a seat behind home plate with Press-level seating and youcan walk from your seat to enclosed area all game. Good stuff. I hope the Wilpons took note.
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    It Ain't Easy Being Green

    The Mets have in interest in acquiring Shawn Green and it really is not a bad idea. First and foremost is Cliff Floyd's inability to stay healthy. They simply cannot chance heading into the playoffs with an amalgamation of Endy Chavez, Lastings Milledge, or Michael Tucker starting in the outfield. It especially gets dicey if you add in the possibility of a DH and you have a team that is significantly weaker than it's possible American League opponents.

    Second, the Mets are short one outfielder in 2007 and it is becoming clearer by the day Cliff Floyd is not a great option even on a one year deal. Acquiring Shawn Green gives them options. Should they choose to hold onto Lastings Milledge and let him blossom into the player a lot of people think he can be, it might not make sense for the Mets to chase a high priced outfield option that would lock up an outfield spot for years to come with Fernando Martinez and Carlos Gomez on the horizon. Conversely, if they choose to deal Milledge for pitching, they would need to find two outfielders instead of one to plug up a hole.

    There also is the matter of Green's contract, which includes a limited no-trade provision and guarantees him a 2007 salary of $9.5 million and has a $2 million buyout for the following season. The Mets "don't see Green as an $11 million player," the person said. They would want the D-Backs to assume some responsibility for the remaining obligation. Moreover, Green is understood to have an aversion to playing in New York.

    Of course, it boils down to money. Though the Mets have plenty of it, they are expected to be a big player for some top notch starting pitching and Omar will assuredly be chasing some bullpen arms. Green would cost them $9.5 million in 2007 with a $2 million buyout for the following season. Green's salary might impact the way they approach the off season especially if they pick up Tom Glavine's contract. Xavier Nady and Lastings Milledge provided some salary relief at the corners and that is no longer a luxury for Omar. Let's not forget, the Mets still need to plug second base with an able body.

    Will the Diamondbacks throw in some cash? Absolutely. With Chris Young on the way in 2007, Carlos Quentin already finding it hard to get playing time between Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green, Eric Byrnes having one more arbitration year, and the money they still save after throwing in a few million, it makes sense to dish him off and get him off the books. While Shawn Green might not like the East Coast, he still has not won a championship and the Mets give him a great chance to do that. Are his numbers down while hitting in a hitter's park? Yes, but he still a decent hitter. He has a .281/.345/.425 line and will get close to 50 extra base hits. His home/away splits are not that drastic and he adds a professional bat into a very good lineup. If the Mets can get away with that deal while giving up a nominal prospect or two, it is a brainer. It has to be done.

    * * *

  • Yesterday’s game was one of those games in which you are done watching after the first. Simply brutal. After Delgado lost the bat twice and hit Hamels once in the leg, you had a feeling that the Mets were going to have trouble getting anything going against Cole. Turned out they had lots of trouble. Hamels was dealing and showed us all first hand why Met fans should not look forward to seeing him in the NL East for years to come. Rough game for Pedro and a rough game for the Mets as he is now listed day to day after feeling a twinge in his right calf. Hopefully the Mets will put up a strong showing as my friends and I are heading down to Philly to see The Duque (2.57 ERA in his last three starts) take on Rady Wolf (frumpy white guy).

    If I drive all the way down there to see them get lit up, I will not be a happy guy. Although, pulled pork and Geno's cheesesteaks are a nice consolation prize.

  • The understatement of the year goes too.......

    Tom Glavine! Congratulations Tom, you win nothing. I'd give you my self respect, but I lost that long time ago.

    "I think it's fair to say his hitting has been moderately surprising because of last year," Tom Glavine said.

    Moderately surprising? It would have been less surprising to find out Hillary Clinton is a post-op transexual than to see Valentin hit the way he has. Actually, I don't think I would be too surprised at all to find that out about Hillary.

  • I love it.

    It takes a lot to out-Yankee the Yanks, but after two big signings last week (Jose Reyes and David Wright) and a juicy back-page gambling and teenage sex-kitten scandal (oh, Paul Lo Duca), the Mets are the talk of the town. Remember when a juicy Mets story was questioning Mike Piazza's sexuality? Welcome to the new Queens Zoo.

    "Out-Yankee the Yankees" is pure genius.

  • Marty Noble states his case for Keith Hernandez's number to be retired.

    Hernandez was the most critical figure in the Mets' run of success from 1984 through 1989 -- all first or second-place finishes. He changed the team's sense of self in 1983 when the Mets acquired him from the Cardinals and led the National League in MVP points -- without winning the award -- from '84 through '88.

    All good points Marty, but I can't do it.

  • Oliver Perez didn't get the win, but he turned in a solid performance. Perez went six innings and gave up five hits, one run on one homerun, and one walk while striking out seven. Edgardo Alfonso went 2 for 4 with his second homerun as a Tide.

    Fernando Martinez went 1 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI as Mike Carp went 2 for 3 with two RBIs in St. Lucie's loss.

    Knuckle-baller Zac Clements was a hard luck loser on Sunday as he went six innings and gave up five hits, one earned run, and two walks while striking out four.

    Brahiam Maldonado continues to hit well for the K-Mets and went 1 for 3 with his fifth homer and a walk in Kingsport's 3-1 win.

  • Henry Owens will be representing the best country in the world in the Olympic qualifier.

    "At first, I was reluctant to say yes right away," Owens said Monday night. "At the time (he was asked), we had a nice winning streak and obviously we're contending for the playoffs, and I feel obligated to this team.

    Do us proud Henry.

  • Carlos Delgado is hurting.

  • Yes, we already went over this, but it sounds better the second time after it set in.

    Here are some interesting accolades to consider regarding Jose Reyes: Baseball America polled MLB managers and the result had Reyes ranked as the most exciting player in the National League, the fastest baserunner, the best baserunner, the second-best bunter and the second-best defensive shortstop, trailing Omar Vizquel.

    Credit the San Francisco Chronicle for crunching these numbers: If Reyes steals one more base and lifts his average to .300 (he was at .295 entering Monday's game), he would finish with better than 50 stolen bases, 20 doubles, 15 triples, 10 homers and a .300 average -- making him only the third player in history to do that, joining Honus Wagner (1908) and Willie McGee (1985).

    Excuse me while I go grab some tissues and some lotion.

  • No twenty game winners? I would have not believed it a quarter of the way through the season, but now? It might happen.

    It's up to you and a small handful of others to get on a roll -- pronto -- or the major leagues will go without a 20-game winner this season.

    That hasn't happened since . . . um . . . ever. In every non-strike season since the Modern Era began in 1900, at least one pitcher has reached the 20-win plateau.

    But entering play tonight, smack in the middle of August, no one had even reached victory No. 15.

    It doesn't take 20-20 vision to see that the streak is in trouble.

    ``It's too early to start making projections like that,'' said the A's Barry Zito, a 23-game winner in 2002. ``But for the pitchers who have a chance, it's going to come down to run support.''

    Glavine looked like a sure fire 20-game winner early on in the season, but that is not happening anymore.