With one Cy Young award-winning pitcher out for the playoffs, the performance of another becomes even more important for the New York Mets.
Glavine (14-7, 3.94 ERA) is slated to start Game 2 of the Mets’ division series next Thursday at Shea Stadium against an opponent to be determined. Although he has been New York’s most consistent starter this season, Glavine had a shaky outing against the Nationals on Monday.
The 40-year-old left-hander, who won the NL Cy Young Award in 1991 and 1998 with Atlanta, pitched six innings and gave up eight hits and four runs—three earned. He also walked three batters for the first time in eight starts as New York lost 7-3.
“Command is an issue,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said after Glavine suffered his first home loss since July 25. “Balls and strikes were almost even. Tom’s a control guy, we know that. Control was an issue but sometimes it escapes you and that’s what happened to him tonight.”
Glavine is 31-22 with a 3.39 ERA in 63 career starts against the Nationals franchise. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his last 13 starts against them.
Having Glavine at the top of his game appears crucial if New York (95-65) hopes to advance after Thursday’s news that three-time Cy Young award winner Pedro Martinez will miss the postseason with a torn tendon in his calf. Orlando Hernandez will start Game 1 of the division series.
“We’ve had a little bit of a cloud of uncertainty wondering: Is he healthy? What’s the rotation? Who’s pitching?” Glavine said. “A lot of that stuff goes away now. We can start focusing on who the guys are who are here, who are going to be able to pitch, who are going to try to help us win. That is going to be helpful for us mentally.”
One pitcher competing for a spot in the Mets’ postseason rotation, John Maine, threw six solid innings as New York won Friday night’s series opener 4-3. Carlos Beltran and Paul Lo Duca each had two hits and an RBI for the Mets, who have won two straight after a four-game skid.
Beltran has reached base safely in 28 consecutive games.
With Washington (71-89) completing a third consecutive last-place season in the NL East, speculation has mounted that manager Frank Robinson will not be asked to return next year. Robinson met with team president Stan Kasten and general manager Jim Bowden separately Thursday, but would not reveal what was said.
“It’s that time of year when, as seasons end, you know there are hard decisions that have to be made, evaluations that have to be made. Those will be made in due course. I don’t have anything to say about it today,” Kasten said Friday. “But our season’s ending soon, and then it’ll be time to make decisions like that and make announcements about things like that.”
Nationals rookie Beltran Perez (2-0, 1.50) looks for another impressive outing as he makes his third major league start. The 24-year-old right-hander defeated Glavine and the Mets on Monday, allowing two runs over 6 1-3 innings while scattering four hits and six walks.
In his first career start on Sept. 19 against Atlanta, Beltran pitched six one-hit, shutout innings and did not walk a batter in Washington’s 9-2 victory.
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