Inside Pitch: Revenge & Rivalry

The Mets will have revenge and rivalry on their minds this week. But first comes the attempted payback.

The Cincinnati Reds, who swept a three-game series from the Mets to start the season, arrive at Shea Stadium on Monday to begin a three-game series.

The Mets led the Reds 6-4 going into the bottom of the ninth inning of the season opener when closer Braden Looper gave up four runs, including a walk-off two-run blast by Joe Randa.

The Mets went on to lose the next two games of the series 9-5 and 6-1 en route to an 0-5 start.

"I think we owe those guys," left fielder Cliff Floyd said.

After a day off Thursday, the annual New York blood-letting known as the Subway Series gets under way at Shea Stadium. Pedro Martinez is lined up for Game 1 against the Yankees.

The Mets were 4-2 against the Yankees last season, sweeping the three games played at Shea in what proved to be the highlight of the season. The series, always heated, takes on more meaning this season as Mets manager Willie Randolph is the former bench coach of the Yankees.

"It will different," Randolph said. "That series means a lot for New Yorkers, and I'm a New Yorker."

NOTES, QUOTES

  • It would seem Tom Glavine isn't done after all.

    The 39-year-old left-hander threw seven scoreless innings Friday night and regained his team's confidence in a 2-0 victory over St. Louis.

    Glavine entered the game with a 1-4 record and 6.87 ERA. He had allowed 29 hits over his last 14 innings. Once the master of hitting the outside corner, Glavine was no longer getting calls on the black and was getting ripped when he came inside.

    But Glavine adjusted, pitching inside against the hard-hitting Cardinals. He scattered four hits, all singles. Glavine walked none and stuck out three. Glavine at one point retired 12 straight.

    "I saw him throwing his pitches in his last start (in Milwaukee on Sunday) so I'm not too surprised he did what he did," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "It was good to see."

  • OF Cliff Floyd snapped out of a 2-for-22 slump with two solo home runs Friday, both 400-foot shots to right field.

  • News that baseball was about to reveal plans for the first World Baseball Classic next spring brought a smile to the face of Carlos Beltran.

    "It would be dream come true to be able to play for Puerto Rico," he said. "I know a lot of guys from Latin countries think that way. I'm glad they're starting that up."

    The 16-nation tournament would take place during spring training and would include Major League players. Games would be played in the United States and Asia.

    "I think of a lot of players will want to play and represent their country," Beltran said. "It should be a great thing."

    The Mets have several players who would be candidates to play for their national teams.

    "I don't know if they'd want me but I always thought it would be great to get a gold medal," Mike Piazza said. "I wanted to play in the Olympics when I was younger. This would be sort of the same thing."

    Kazuo Matsui said he "would be honored" if asked to play for Japan.

    "People in Japan would be very interested in this event," Matsui said. "If Ichiro and Hideki (Matsui) played, it would be very interesting."

    Pedro Martinez was asked if he would pitch for the Dominican Republic.

    "Only if I have to," he said.

    But according to Beltran, he and Martinez have discussed the tournament already.

    "There's going to be a lot of pride at stake," Beltran said. "If they ask Pedro to represent his country I bet he plays."

  • C Mike Piazza took a foul tip off his right shoulder in the 10th inning of Wednesday's loss to Chicago and experienced numbness. He was back in the lineup Friday.

  • OF Cliff Floyd was 2-for-22 over the recent six-game road trip, dropping his batting average from .391 to .330. "I feel fine, I'm just battling myself," Floyd said.

  • OF Eric Valent collected his first RBI of the season when he singled in the top of the ninth on Wednesday.

  • RHP Heath Bell throws strikes. Sometimes too many of them.

    Bell has allowed seven home runs in his brief -- 38 1/3 innings -- major-league career. He gave up a costly one Wednesday, when Derrek Lee hit a fastball out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Chicago Cubs a 4-3 victory over the Mets.

    So when Lee worked the count to 3-1, Bell threw him nothing but fastballs.

    "A quality pitch there is a strike on the corner," Bell said. "That's what I had to keep throwing."

    And that's what he did, six times in a row. Lee fouled off the first five, then lined the sixth into the first row of the bleachers in left center.

    Lee is hitting .383 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs. But he didn't think the ball was a home run coming off the bat, such was the force of the wind blowing at Wrigley Field.

    "I had my doubts," Lee said. "When the wind is in your face here you don't expect to hit it out. I knew I hit it good but I wasn't sure."

    The Mets have lost three of their last four.

  • OF Mike Cameron didn't play Wednesday, his first off-day since he came off the disabled list. With the Mets off Thursday, Willie Randolph wanted to give his right fielder an extended break. "It gives me a good chance to give Cammy a couple of days," Randolph said. "Cammy's been sore but he's not going to want to come out. This is one of those times that I have to step in. It just makes sense."

    Cameron, who missed a month because of tendinitis in his left wrist, said he would have played. But he admitted his wrist was "cold and stiff" and the time off would help.

  • 3B David Wright (bruised left foot) was back in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday's game.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez usually listens to music on headphones before games, obeying the rules laid down in spring training. But Martinez bent the rules and played salsa music on the clubhouse stereo yesterday morning. He then danced a few steps with assistant general manager Jim Duquette. "Got to get the blood flowing," Martinez said.

  • RHP Victor Zambrano has hit six batters, the most in the major leagues.

  • INF Marlon Anderson is 10-for-20 as a pinch hitter. His 10 pinch hits are the most in the majors this season. Eric Valent led the Mets with 10 pinch hits last season.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Number of runs LHP Tom Glavine has allowed in his last 11 innings.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "These are normal struggles a pitcher goes through. People are accustomed to not seeing me give it up in back-to-back games. But those things happen. I'm human." -- RHP Pedro Martinez on giving up nine earned runs over his last two starts.

    ROSTER REPORT

       ROTATION:
       1. RHP Pedro Martinez
       2. LHP Tom Glavine
       3. RHP Kris Benson
       4. RHP Victor Zambrano
       5. RHP Aaron Heilman
    
       BULLPEN:
       RHP Braden Looper (closer)
       RHP Mike DeJean
       RHP Heath Bell
       LHP Dae-Sung Koo
       RHP Roberto Hernandez
       RHP Manny Aybar
    
       LINEUP:
       1. SS Jose Reyes
       2. 2B Kazuo Matsui
       3. CF Carlos Beltran
       4. C Mike Piazza
       5. LF Cliff Floyd
       6. RF Mike Cameron
       7. 1B Doug Mientkiewicz
       8. 3B David Wright
    
       RESERVES:
       C Ramon Castro
       INF Miguel Cairo
       INF Chris Woodward
       INF/OF Marlon Anderson
       OF Eric Valent
       OF Victor Diaz

    MEDICAL WATCH:
    April 22: LHP Kaz Ishii, pulled muscle in left side, 15-day DL.
    April 19: LHP Felix Heredia, strained left thumb, 15-day DL.
    RHP Steve Trachsel underwent surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back on March 19 and will miss at least three months.
    RHP Tyler Yates, who showed promise as a reliever, was lost for the season when he had shoulder surgery in February.

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