October 07, 2006

The Ghost of The Braves Lives On: Maddux Takes The Hill Tonight!

It has taken 4 years for us to fully embrace Tom Glavine as a Met, our hatred for the Braves boiling too deep for words. Tonight, in Game 3 of the series between the Mets & Dodgers, Greg Maddux faces the master of long-game pitching, Steve Trachsel. Maddux has turned his season around upon arriving in Los Angeles from Chicago, where it looked like the porous Chicago defense would cause his retirement. He has become the 2nd most important pitcher on the Dodgers' staff, and his manager, Grady Little, can't help raving about Maddux.

From Bob Klapisch's latest column on ESPN.com:

"I think it goes without saying we're very confident with our pitcher on the mound on Saturday," Little said. "Greg is going to have a great plan when he takes the mound, and he's one of those pitchers that can take this great plan and put it into effect.
"He will have a plan. It's as good a plan as anyone could have. He'll execute it and we'll see what happens," Little said.

Maddux is perhaps the most cerebral pitcher who has ever played the game, which is saying a lot in a game that once featured the likes of Tom Seaver. He never possessed a "plus" fastball, relying on guile, changing speeds and extensive usage of all four quadrants of the strike zone. His pitches break late, and his changing speeds causes batters to over and under swing repeatedly. In a game where a Joel Zumaya can come out throwing 102 heat, Maddux is part of a shrinking breed that also includes his good friend, Tom Glavine.

Let's hope that the Mets', who are 18-35 lifetime against Maddux, can figure him out quickly today and make it a clean sweep in Los Angeles (so I don't have to decide whether or not to scalp tickets again tomorrow! LOL)

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