Game 107: Loss
Marlins 4 Mets 1
Mr. Willie makes my blood boil.
Willie Randolph is a moronic, despicable robot who has no understanding of the human body, pitching talent, nor pitching management. Sure, the bunkheads of the world will say Aaron Heilman blew the game, but there is no way a sane person can blame the game on Heilman; it was all Randolph’s stupidity.
The Mets have a 13-game lead in the NL East. They are playing an overachieving, self-destructing young team that is almost 15 games away from them. With a 1-1 tie, yes, it would be nice to put your top relievers in the game. HOWEVER, when your top setup reliever has already been used in back-to-back games, AND historically has had trouble pitching back-to-back games, there’s absolutely no reason to force the issue and use him again.
Did I mention Willie Randolph is a freakin’ idiot?
Someone, please, explain to me why Royce Ring was called up to the Majors, if he is not to be trusted in close games on a team that has a 13-game lead. Better yet, please tell me why Heath Bell — a guy who is coveted by 29 Major League teams as a potential setup man — is toiling in AAA after the Mets lost their top setup reliever? Even if you disagree with using Ring or having Bell on the ML roster, then please explain to me why Willie Randolph insists on managing every game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series?
Going into this rubber match, we knew that pitching management would be an issue. D-Train was pitching for the Fish, meaning it likely would be a low-scoring game. It was only the second start in a month for Pedro, so he likely wasn’t going to go beyond the sixth. Roberto Hernandez is 42 years old and made clear at age 41 that he could not pitch back-to-back games. Aaron Heilman had already pitched in back-to-back games, and his issues recently can be traced to overuse by any logical observer. Chad Bradford and Billy Wagner also pitched in back-to-back games, though they didn’t throw too many pitches in the combined nights so they might have been OK to go a third game in a row. Meantime, Pedro Feliciano is fairly fresh, Royce Ring is fresh, and Darren Oliver is fresh. So, with a 13-game lead and a 1-1 tie in the seventh, who does Willie send to the mound? Bert and Aaron, of course!
Is it me? Am I too sensible, logical, and intelligent to watch the cement-head robotic “managing” style of Willie Randolph? I think we’re beyond the point where Mr. Willie is termed a “manager”; he’s like a guy in Atlantic City with a cheat sheet at the blackjack table: stay on 17, hit on 13 if the dealer shows a face card, double up on 11, etc. He treats his bullpen arms as if he’s playing a baseball game on XBox: all the players are machines and the results based on mathematical formulas.
Of course, we have to listen to the numnuts on SNY — Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, — tell us how the Mets are missing Duaner Sanchez and Aaron Heilman needs to step it up. WRONG! The issue is not with Heilman, or Sanchez, or anyone else in the bullpen. It is with Mr. Willie, who naturally would have used Sanchez in all three games and been just as surprised when he blew the lead in game three. His “MO” is frighteningly similar to his protege Joe Torre: use and abuse a reliever’s arm until the thing falls off, then blame it on the fatigued reliever when he blows the game. You call that management? Ha!
Disagree with me if you wish, tell me that the guys in the dugout know more than we do. Fine. But look me straight in the eye and say that Aaron Heilman had his effective arm angle and command of his pitches. You can’t. He’s fatigued because he can’t physically handle the day-after-day strain of relief. Being fatigued, his arm angle drops an inch or two (screw the Jacket, it’s not “higher”, you friggin’ blind jackass!). The angle goes down, and the pitches go up and in to the righty batter. Very simple formula, it’s seen every day at every level from little league to the bigs. When you see that formula, you take the pitcher out of the game before he either 1. blows the game or 2. blows out his arm. Unless of course, you’re Willie Randolph, and you say “his velocity is there, so he’s not fatigued, let’s leave him out there”. Or better yet, throw the pitcher under the bus with the stupid question “are you OK to go today?” OF COURSE Aaron Heilman is going to say he’s OK to go today! The guy is a competitor, and one of the toughest sons of bitches you are going to see on a pitching mound in the 21st century. He could pitch complete-game doubleheaders four days in a row and he’ll still say he’s “OK” to pitch; he’s a warrior, a samurai, and any other answer would be unexpected. That’s why it is so important for a “manager” to keep a close eye on his pitchers, and have a strong understanding on who to throw and when. It’s amazing to me how a person can be so oblivious to the obvious, and continually make the same mistake over and over (isn’t that called insanity?).
David Wright more or less broke out of his first slump of the year, going 2 for 4. Jose Valentin was the only other starter to do anything against D-train, collecting three hits in four at-bats.
Julio Franco, suffering from a flu and showing it, played a wonderful head game against Dontrelle Willis. First, he took about eight minutes getting ready for his pinch-hit appearance. That may have been partly due to his illness, but part of it was making D-Train wait. Franco was further assisted by the home plate umpire, who was not calling any strikes below the waist. He took the low inside pitches — ticking off Willis — until he found one he liked and stroked it into right field. A great and enjoyable at-bat.
Pedro Martinez threw a great game, and it was a shame the Mets bats couldn’t score some runs and get him a win. No biggie; the important thing is that he finds his form and gets back into the groove that establishes him as the Mets’ ace. He has two months to get there.
El Duque vs. Ryan Madson and the Phillies tomorrow. Let’s hope it is a “good” outing for El Duque, the kind where he throws a complete-game shutout. Otherwise, expect the insane Mr. Willie to bring Bert and Aaron in AGAIN (while Ring and Oliver continue to rot on the bench).