Glavine: Questec ruining baseball

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NEW YORK - Tom Glavine can handle human opponents. It's a machine that's got him down.

Echoing Curt Schilling, Glavine thinks the umpire evaluation equipment is ruining baseball.

``I know my name has been brought up in the Questec argument. I'm the poster child,'' he said Wednesday after Atlanta beat the New York Mets 6-3 and dropped him to 0-3 against his former team.

At Shea Stadium, where the Questec system is used, Glavine is 2-7. On the road, he's 4-2.

He says umpires have told Mets catchers that they will not call pitches on the corners at Shea because they don't want the machine to give them poor grades.

``Why not eliminate that altogether and have an electronic strike zone?'' Glavine said. ``That's almost what it's coming to.''

Glavine said he's heard throughout his career complaints that his strike zone ``was 24 inches wide and everyone else's was 10.''

Agreeing with Arizona's Schilling, Glavine says it's no longer possible to know in advance what's a ball and what's a strike. And because of that, Glavine says only power pitchers can be successful. Finesse guys who work the corners are out of luck.

``You can ask the hitters. They don't know what the strike zone is. Nobody knows,'' he said. ``It's not just me they're doing this to. They've done it to a lot of good pitchers.''

On May 24, Schilling punched out the machine in Arizona, which cost him a fine. Glavine attacked merely with words.

He estimated the computer cost him 8-10 pitches Wednesday that would have been called strikes in the past, about 10 percent of his total. The change caused him to fall behind in the count.

``If it's 2-0 vs. 1-1, that's a big deal,'' he said.

He thought he pitched well, and so did the Braves, but Glavine (6-9) allowed three of his first four batters to score as hits fell in as if it were intrasquad batting practice.

He walked leadoff man Rafael Furcal, gave up a one-out single to Gary Sheffield, then allowed Chipper Jones' bloop RBI single down the right-field line, Andruw Jones' soft run-scoring single to center and Javy Lopez's sacrifice fly.

``Playing against them now for the first time you understand why people get so frustrated against them or hate playing against them,'' Glavine said.

Julio Franco reached out for a low, outside pitch in the sixth for a two-run homer that put Atlanta ahead 5-1, and Glavine made an early exit two batters later, with some fans booing as he walked to the Mets' dugout, head bowed.

``Glavine is the same pitcher,'' said Lopez, his former catcher. ``I don't see anything different. He was throwing the same way as when he was with us.''

Many Braves are quite familiar with Glavine, who spent 16 seasons with Atlanta before signing with the Mets in December. New York expected the two-time Cy Young Award winner to lead the Mets back into the playoffs.

Instead, the eight-time All-Star heads into the All-Star break with a losing record for just the third time in his career.

Glavine allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings and tied a season high with five walks. He dropped to 0-3 against Atlanta this season and has allowed 16 runs in 15 2-3 innings against the Braves a 9.19 ERA.

``Today he was as good as I've seen him,'' Chipper Jones said. ``Good sink on his fastball, good sink on all his stuff.''

Atlanta, which leads the NL East at 58-31, matched a season high with its sixth straight win, opening the largest lead in the major leagues. The last-place Mets, who started three rookies, dropped to 39-50, including 3-6 against the Braves.

``I feel bad for him personally,'' said Greg Maddux, Glavine's former teammate. ``But as far as the team goes? We're doing what we're trying to do.''

Russ Ortiz (12-4) won his fifth straight start and tied Toronto's Roy Halladay for the major league lead in victories. He allowed seven hits, giving up runs on sacrifice flies by Timo Perez in the second and Jose Reyes in the eighth.

Following a 44-minute rain delay with one out and two on in the eighth, Ray King relieved and allowed an RBI single to Jeromy Burnitz. Kevin Gryboski then came in and got Jason Phillips to ground into a double play, and John Smoltz pitched the ninth for his major league-high 34th save.

Ortiz, picked for the NL All-Star team, is ready to start Tuesday night in Chicago if he's chosen.

``I'll be well rested,'' he said. ``It all depends on the other guys and what fits best."
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