Randolph Mixes It Up
Nice to see manager Willie Randolph finally “showing us another look”. Two significant changes were made in Tuesday night’s ballgame, and in my humble opinion, both were for the better.
First of all, Willie left David Wright in the three-hole and batted Carlos Beltran cleanup. I can’t be happier with this move, mostly because Beltran is no better than a .260-.270 hitter and Wright has established himself as a .300 swinger. I know there are people who disagree, but I’ve always been of the philosophy that your best pure hitter — and top on-base guys — need to be batting somewhere in the top three spots of the order. It’s illogical not to ensure that your top hitter and top OBP guy are guaranteed to get an at-bat in the first inning. And while Wright is hitting 50 points higher and his OBP is 60 points better than Beltran, it’s hard NOT to have Wright third and Beltran anywhere behind him — be it fourth, fifth, or wherever. For nearly three years the Mets have tried to force a square peg into a round hole (Beltran in the three spot) — sitting on a weak argument that Beltran’s speed was part of the reason. Facts are facts, and Beltran, no matter which way you look at it, is not a three hitter on a championship club. Unless that club is the 1973 Mets.
The second change in the lineup was the insertion of Lastings Milledge in rightfield against the righthanded Ian Snell. According to Willie’s remarks in his pregame chat on WFAN, Milledge and Shawn Green will be more or less sharing the position, based on matchups and Willie’s famous hunches. Now anyone who’s followed MetsToday knows I’m a HUGE fan of Green, and a lukewarm supporter of LMillz. However, I’m not completely blinded by my man-crush, and can see that Milledge needs to see more time — and Green less. I like Willie’s handling of the situation, and believe that Green still has something to offer — as a part-time player. Before anyone jumps on the Stings bandwagon and starts clamoring for his taking the job full-time, see this post on MetsBlog concerning Green’s hitting against top pitchers. It’s time for Green to make room for Milledge, but not move over completely … he can still help a team win a championship, if used correctly.
Pedro in Two Weeks?
Also on the WFAN pregame last night, Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti remarked that he expected to see Pedro Martinez join the Mets in about two weeks. FYI, Pedro pitched three perfect innings before giving up three runs in his fourth frame of work in his second rehab start with Port St. Lucie on Tuesday afternoon. I’m not sure how the rosters work in regard to the postseason — I believe that someone on the DL as of August 31 can be eligible for the postseason, but not sure how that will apply to Pedro’s situation — since he hasn’t played at all this year and the 60-day DL has lapsed (any help appreciated). So we’re likely to see Pedro with the big club when rosters expand in September, at the latest. I’d be happy if he could appear in middle relief once or twice a week — never mind expect him to come in and start. If John Smoltz could do it (temporarily), and Kerry Wood can do it, why not Pedro?
This has nothing to do with the Mets but as a baseball fan I find it fascinating: Boston Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has made 24 starts this year, and is 14-10. How many other pitchers have factored into the decision for every start they made? Are there any others this year? Any others in the past five years? A remarkable stat in this day and age of five-inning starters.