"To me, it doesn't matter that we score a lot of runs for him. I always talk about the fact that we score a lot of runs for him, but he kept us in a lot of games, too. That's why when it's time to give him the ball, I don't hesitate."The Mets scored 165 runs in Trachsel's 30 starts -- 5.5 per start -- which is one reason why Trachsel had his best season since he registered an identical 15-8 record with the Cubs in 1998, the year he also started and won a play-in game over the Giants. Trachsel had allowed only one hit that day at Wrigley Field and left with one out in the seventh inning and the Cubs leading, 4-0, en route to a 5-3 victory. But Trachsel didn't pitch in the NLDS as the Braves swept the best-of-five series.
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The play-in game is considered the final game of the regular season, but it gave a window into how Trachsel can pitch in a pressure situation."I remember lots of things about that game," Trachsel said. "Obviously, it was a big year for the Cubs. It was the year Harry Caray passed away, so the fans were really emotional about that. I remember the big Harry Caray balloon hanging over left field. And when I struck out Barry Bonds to end the first inning, just the roar from the crowd. I remember all that. "That's the only thing I have to really use as [playoff] motivation and to think about. It definitely helped."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less