So just to set up for the week ahead, we've got Trachsel Monday night against the Diamondbacks (last year, no game on Memorial Day, this year a night game; we're getting there), Soler on Tuesday followed by Pedro on normal rest. After an off day, it will be Glavine Friday, Hernandez Saturday and back to Trachsel on Sunday.
Do you know what that means? It means barring the unforeseen — and there's been lots of that — we have an actual rotation spinning on its own axis every five games. It includes a rookie with just one start and an ancient who's put in only five innings (four lovely, one icky) as a Met, but it shapes up as…let's just say it shapes up. Since the dehammyfication of Bannister and the zapping of Zambrano, we haven't been able to say that much. It's shown.
Yet here we are, still in first place by a reasonable margin despite a month or so when 40% of our starts have been taken by the lame and the halting and 20% more thrown by somebody who isn't Pedro Martinez or Tom Glavine.
Glavine's clearly the MVP of this club to date. He hasn't tossed a single bad game yet. Probably not a bad inning. It would be co-MVPs except Pedro and wins have been strangers on a train lately. He was right, though, the other night when he told the assembled reporters at his locker that he didn't lose to Florida just because he got tagged with an L. I haven't seen him lose since he's become a Met. Sometimes the other team wins is all. Hell, I'd say there haven't been any no-decisions where he's concerned. The decision to sign him was brilliant, the decision to space out his starts has been genius, the decision to not score on his behalf…well, there we could use a little less indecisiveness and a few more runs.
Not a problem for Orlando Hernandez who was spotted four in the first and took care of Marlin business thereafter. The second inning was a little slimy (as Fish, even the baby ones, tend to be), but he righted himself and the Mets were smart enough to score a few more on his behalf. They generally score for everybody but Pedro. I haven't kept track, but it seems Beltran's doing the inverse of last year. He'll homer for you and you and you and you, but not you, Pedro. You already got yours.
Let's assume the “neggies” (the downcast stats and trends sunshine-minded PR departments don't care to disseminate; the beat men on the '62 Mets popularized their calculation) will even themselves out and that the pozzies will keep pumping as they have. Let's assume that because it's no fun to go the other way.
• Let's assume Glavine is the living embodiment of what Leo Mazzone said about him a generation ago: “Payback is a bitch with Tommy Glavine. Just look into his eyes sometime.” I don't know whom he's paying back, but I like this effectively vengeful side of him.
• Let's assume the offense will sign a Louisville Slugger of apology and present it to Pedro.
• Let's assume Alay Soler won't become Julio Valera (he wasn't bad his first start either).
• Let's assume Trachsel is, you know, Trachsel.
• And let's assume Orlando E.D. Hernandez is capable of four splendid innings for every occasional clinker, a ratio beyond the grasp of John Maine, Jose Lima and Jeremi Gonzalez. Unless we're primed to recall Jim Palmer, Jack Morris or Juan Marichal, let's stay away from J-boys, OK?
Assume all that and you're spinning pretty good for yourself.