Six People to Blame
Last night’s game is still irking me, mostly because Tom Glavine pitched his heart out and deserved to get his 300th win. It was the first time in a long time we witnessed Glavine getting squeezed by an umpire, yet finding a way to succeed in spite of it.
Although there were a number of incidents — especially as the game wore on — that could have won the game for Glavine, let’s focus on the six major culprits, and their actions that prevented Tommy from earning his 300th career victory.
1. Tom Glavine. Tommy came out of the game an inning too early. He could have sucked it up and induced that double play — the baseball gods were on his side last night. Yeah, hindsight is 20-20, but I think every Met fan was trying to read the lips of Willie and Tommy on the mound in the sixth, and hoping against hope that the discussion would turn out differently.
2. Sandy Alomar. Why “The Windmill Man” thought it logical to send a huffing and puffing Carlos Delgado home when Tony Graffanino was studying the stitches of the ball about 100 feet from home plate as Delgado jogged around third is beyond comprehension. If Delgado stays put, you have men on second and third with hot-hitting Ramon Castro at the plate and Jeff Suppan in a meatball-throwing funk. SHAWN GREEN hit the ball to the wall off of Suppan — that should have been enough of a message that Suppan was due to allow another hard line drive. If it were any other runner than Delgado (OK, or Castro), then maybe you send him. But not Delgado.
3. Carlos Delgado. With two outs and the first baseman playing behind him, Delgado has to get a better lead off of first and a better jump on contact. Shawn Green’s blast was both deep and high, and gave Delgado enough time to score. However, Delgado a) did not get a good lead; b) did not get a good secondary lead; c) did not get going at the crack of the bat; d) began to slow down as he reached third; and e) was completely winded as he rounded third. The last one may be the most infuriating issue — he didn’t score because he’s out of shape. I understand that Delgado is not a fast man, and is a big man, but that’s no excuse to be out of breath after running less than 200 feet. It doesn’t matter what size you are, you can get your lungs in shape to run 100 yards at full sprint without significantly slowing down at the finish line. Delgado was petered out before 60 yards — a disgrace for a man getting paid $14.5M to be an athlete, and who has plenty of time during the day to get his rhino-like body into shape. If Delgado’s in shape, and gets both an average lead and average jump, he scores on Green’s double, the Mets have a third run, and the game never goes to extras.
4. Guillermo Mota and Ramon Castro. I’m not sure who’s more at fault for the first-pitch changeup to Bill Hall, so they both get the blame. There’s nothing wrong with throwing a change-up to start off a hitter — AFTER you’ve already established your fastball in the inning. If Mota shook off the sign, then it’s Castro’s fault for not being more adamant about the stupidity of Mota’s selection. If both Mota and Castro felt the change-up was really the best idea entering the game — even though Mota throws a 97-MPH, sinking fastball — then it’s Mota’s fault for not concentrating intensely on getting that pitch down and away. In that situation, with a 2-1 game and the tying run in scoring position, the first pitch to a batter is the most important. If you can’t focus on making it an excellent pitch, you can’t be in the big leagues. And if you are trying to get it where it should have been — low and away — and it ends up where it did (up and middle-in), then again, you can’t pitch in the big leagues (or it’s NOT your best pitch and therefore shouldn’t be thrown in that situation).
5. Willie Randolph. Randolph made three poor decisions with the pitching changes. First, taking Glavine out when he did. Second, for taking out Heilman in the eighth, when Heilman has been the most effective reliever this side of Billy Wagner. Third, for bringing in the Mets’ least effective reliever of late — Guillermo Mota — to put out the fire. Mota has recently proven incapable of getting out of difficult situations, and it wasn’t fair of Willie to put him into that spot. I ALMOST would have rather seen Scott — dare I say — Schoeneweis (though, not really). Either you stick with Feliciano there, or tell Billy he’s got to get an old-school five-out save for his pal Tommy.
6. Tom Glavine’s kid. For wearing a David Wright jersey. Bad karma, kid.