Though he admitted to his nerves being tested by going for win No. 300, Tom Glavine may still feel chills upon his return to the mound at Shea Stadium.
The 41-year-old Glavine (10-6, 4.31 ERA) became the 23rd player in major league history - and just the fifth left-hander - to record 300 victories on Sunday in an 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
“I was nervous Sunday before the game,” Glavine said. “You think, ‘What’s going to happen on a given day?’ Once I got out there and got through the first inning, I settled down.”
The five-time 20-game winner allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, five days after New York’s bullpen blew a one-run lead at Milwaukee in his first attempt to win his 300th.
The crowd at Wrigley Field gave him a warm reception and Mets fans chanted his name after the game, though it’s unlikely to compare to the cheers he’ll hear at Shea Stadium on Saturday. This game comes three days after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave Glavine the Key to the City.
“Winning 300. My God, that’s a lot of wins,” Glavine said. “When I look over my whole career, never thinking about being here, then being here and realizing how long a journey it’s been.”
His journey has included the last five seasons in a Mets uniform, and now he can refocus on helping New York (64-51) hold on to win the NL East. He’s played a key role in keeping the Mets in first place, allowing three runs or fewer in five of his past six starts.
Glavine has given the fans at Shea plenty to appreciate this season, lasting at least six innings in all 10 of his home starts and allowing more than three runs in only one of them. He’s won his last four outings at Shea, posting a 1.61 ERA.
This will be the first time this season he’s faced the Marlins. The Mets won all five starts Glavine made against them last year as he went 2-0 with a 3.44 ERA. He’s 17-18 with a 3.79 ERA in 45 career starts versus Florida.
The player that often finishes up Glavine’s wins has been shaky this week.
Closer Billy Wagner gave up a two-run double to Hanley Ramirez in the ninth inning Friday to hand the Marlins a 4-3 victory. It was his second blown save in 28 chances and the first time he was scored upon in 21 appearances since June 13.
Two nights earlier, Wagner loaded the bases with none out in the ninth before escaping the jam to save a 4-3 win over Atlanta. He’s given up nine hits and three walks in his last five innings.
“Billy’s been outstanding all year. You expect him to close the game,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
The biggest bright spot from Friday’s loss for New York was the return of Carlos Beltran, who hit a three-run homer after spending time on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left side.
“I feel great. It’s bad that we lost, but I’m happy that I’m back,” Beltran said. “I was driving my wife crazy.”
Beltran could provide a boost for a Mets team which is just 7-8 since July 25, seeing its NL East lead cut to three games over Philadelphia and 3 1/2 over Atlanta.
The Marlins (54-62) ended a four-game skid against the Mets with Friday’s win, their fourth in six games.
Ramirez’s game-winning hit capped a 2-for-4 night, raising his NL-leading average to .342, and he also had a career-high three stolen bases.
“It feels good because we need it. I don’t like to be in last place,” said Ramirez, who is batting .414 with 19 RBIs over his last 17 games.
Ramirez looks to continue his hot hitting in support of Scott Olsen (9-9, 5.43), making his fourth start since his DUI arrest.
Olsen lost his first two outings after being arrested, getting tagged for 13 runs and 18 hits in 10 innings, but bounced back to beat Houston on Sunday. The 23-year-old southpaw allowed three runs and struck out eight in 7 1-3 innings of a 6-5 victory.
After not getting a decision in four starts versus the Mets last season, he’s gone 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts against them this year.