Division Leaders Do Battle

New York Mets starter Tom Glavine is closing in on a huge milestone.

Glavine will try for his 299th career win on Thursday when the Mets open a four-game road series with the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers in a matchup between division leaders.

Glavine (8-6, 4.15 ERA), trying to become the 22nd major league pitcher to win 300 games, is 3-1 over his last five starts after going 0-4 in his previous five.

Oddsmakers have made Los Angeles -120 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Public betting information is not currently available for this game (View MLB Bet Percentages).

He earned win No. 298 on Saturday, allowing just one run and two hits in eight innings of a 2-1 victory over Cincinnati. Despite his impressive performance, however, Glavine wouldn't have gotten the win if not for Lasting Milledge's tiebreaking single with two outs in the eighth.

"It's human nature to be more excited in his games," Billy Wagner, who earned the save, told the Mets' official Web site. "There's more energy and intensity in his games - and there should be, because he's close to something that's almost unattainable.

"I think it would be wrong if we weren't more charged up. ... If I do nothing else in my career but help this guy get to 300, I will have done a lot."

Glavine is 20-18 with a 3.69 ERA in 48 starts against the Dodgers, and 9-9 with a 4.09 ERA in 24 outings at Dodger Stadium.

"I know there's a difference in games when something individual is riding on them for the pitcher," Glavine said. "But if I win, we win. It's good that way."

The Mets (52-42) were swept in three games in their last visit to Dodger Stadium June 11-13 and have lost their last four games against Los Angeles. New York has dropped nine of its last 15 overall, including Wednesday's 5-4 defeat in San Diego, and is averaging just 3.7 runs per game over that span.

David Wright and Carlos Delgado both homered Wednesday for New York, which remained 2 1/2 games ahead of second-place Atlanta in the NL East.

The Dodgers (54-41) hold a one-game lead over San Diego in the NL West and have won six of their last seven, including Wednesday's 5-4 victory over Philadelphia. Andre Ethier hit a three-run homer and Luis Gonzalez added a tiebreaking solo shot in the sixth for Los Angeles, which has pounded out 49 runs over its last seven games.

Center fielder Juan Pierre went 1-for-4 and is hitting .380 during an 11-game hitting streak.

"We have great young players that are able to mix in with some older guys," Gonzalez said. "These guys are being thrown in a winning mix. This team is built to win right now."

On Thursday, the Dodgers will hand the ball to Derek Lowe (8-8, 3.05), who is 0-2 in his last four starts despite posting a 2.63 ERA over that span. He gave up two runs and six hits Saturday in the Dodgers' 12-inning, 8-7 win in San Francisco.

Lowe's only start against the Mets came on June 6 last season, when he squared off against Pedro Martinez and allowed two runs in six innings of an 8-5 victory. He has also made five relief appearances against New York, allowing three runs in 3 1-3 innings and suffering one loss.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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