I just posted an article over at MetsGeek called Dissecting Carpenter, which basically just lays out his some dramatic platoon splits, specifically Home vs Away and RHB vs LHB. Both splits seem to favor the Mets, as Carpenter struggles against lefties and on the road and the Mets' lineup is chock full of left-handed bats. Oh yea, they're also playing at homem, which qualifies as a road game for Carpenter.
Last night was one of those must-wins, and the Mets won it. Tom Glavine was terrific, again, though he induced some timely at-em balls in the early part of the game that could have led to some St. Louis runs had they been placed differently. He had the fortune of a couple of very nice double plays, he kept his pitch count low, and he is in a good position to start a potential Game 5 on three days rest.
Cliff Floyd hurt himself again, although it's probably more accurate to say that he simply rediscovered an existing injury. His balky achilles, which forced him from Game 3 of the LDS, acted up again and, like the last game, he had to be pulled early in the contest and replaced by wunderkind Endy Chavez. You can count on Endy being back in the lineup tonight, though more than likely he'll be batting in the eight-hole instead of sixth.
Man oh man was I cursing at Guillermo Mota in the eighth inning. He retired the first two batters with ease, and then proceeded to walk David Eckstein on four pitches and start Preston Wilson off 3-0. Needless to say he was on my shit list, as another baserunner would have brought Albert Pujols to the plate in a situation where he could do massive amounts of damage, namely a three-run homer that would have given the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. To Mota's credit, he worked the count back to 3-2 and, after a number of foul balls by Wilson, got him to pop out to Delgado.
One of the biggest plays of the game was Jose Valentin's glovework with one out in the top of the ninth. Billy Wagner had come on and retired Pujols on a lineout to first. Juan Encarnacion then grounded one sharply up the middle that Valentin ranged far to his right to glove and executed a jump-throw to first that nailed Encarnacion for the second out and, much to my surprise, drew approximately zero comparisons to Derek Jeter from the Vice President and Recording Secretary of his fan club who both happened to be calling the game for Fox. Wagner made us sweat a bit by walking Scott Rolen before getting fu-man Spiezio to loop out to Valentin to end it.
Paul Lo Duca continues to impress me as I shovel extra helpings of crow into my face. I did not advocate the acquisition of Lo Duca during the offseason, I felt Ramon Castro was just as good offensively, cost less money, and I felt that the things Lo Duca brought to the table that would be absent from any box score were not justification enough to trade a solid pitching prospect for. I was completely wrong, I love the guy, he is exactly the type of player and person that this team needs and, for what it's worth, if there's a guy on third base with less than two outs he is the only guy I want up at the plate. He has made a believer out of me, and I am not often a patron of the kool aid.
Good times were had by all, so good in fact that we should come out tonight and do it again. And then again tomorrow. And the next day. And so forth.