Questions for Willie
Though the Mets beat the Dodgers on Friday, there are still some questions for Willie Randolph.
- Why was there a double steal attempt in the first inning, with Ruben Gotay as the lead runner, one out, and Moises Alou at the plate? Was Willie working against Alou’s penchant for grounding into double plays this year? Did Gotay go on his own (not likely)? I’m loving the Mets’ recent style of running wild on the bases, but there has to be some intelligence. Penny is a guy who gets the ball to the plate in 1.3-1.5 seconds, Russell Martin is a catcher with a gun, and Gotay has decent speed, but not great speed. Personally, the only guy I send in that situation is Reyes, or possibly Beltran.
- Why, in the fourth inning with none out and men on first and second, does #8 batter Mike DiFelice sacrifice, setting up the runners for Oliver Perez? Especially with DiFelice swinging a pretty decent bat lately. Further, Penny was was struggling with the strike zone, having walked both Carlos Delgado and Lastings Milledge. Let Penny struggle and beat himself, don’t give him outs. That one was a real head-scratcher.
- Against Cy Young candidate Brad Penny, why isn’t Shawn Green in the lineup? Green has a career .419 average against Penny. .419! The rest of MLB is batting around .240 against him. If you want Milledge in the lineup to get exposure to tough righties, that’s fine — put Green at first and give Delgado a breather. A week ago Randolph insisted that Milledge did not win the RF job, and that Green would get worked into the lineup according to “matchups”. I guess by “matchups” he wasn’t talking about putting Green up against pitchers he owns.
Secret to Ollie’s Success
Why did Oliver Perez lose 3-5 MPH of velocity, and his command, for a few starts, then suddenly regain it last night against LA? Some might suggest he was having a “dead arm” period. I have a better explanation. After taking another look at his previous starts and comparing them to his start against the Dodgers on Friday night, there was one glaring difference in his mechanics: his head. When Ollie struggles, his head is all over the place, and his body out of control, after he releases the ball; sometimes, he’s looking at David Wright immediately after releasing the ball. On Friday night, however, after nearly every pitch, Ollie’s eyes and head were fixated on the catcher’s target — throughout his follow-through. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that The Jacket found something in Ollie’s mechanics, had Perez focus on it, and as a result had his good command and velocity back. This is good news — Rick Peterson may have found the key to unlock his greatness.
Endy’s In — Who Goes?
Endy Chavez is reportedly returning to the Mets’ roster any day. I’m hoping it’s due to some kind of rule pertaining to the disabled list, because it would make a heckuva lot more sense to wait until September 1. First of all, the Mets aren’t desperate for his services — Milledge is entrenched as a starter, and Marlon Anderson has filled in heroically in the fourth outfielder spot. Plus, there’s still Shawn Green hanging around. If Chavez is added to the 25-man, who gets dropped? Milledge has options, but you can’t demote him the way he’s been playing. Has Green’s lack of playing time been a precursor to an outright release? The only other person I can see as a candidate for removal is Aaron Sele.
Personally, I’m hoping it’s Sele that goes, because if it’s not then it’s likely to be Green — who can be very helpful off the bench down the stretch and in the postseason. Yes, he’s a shell of his former self, but he’s still hitting over .270, and has been remarkably successful against the best pitchers in the NL.
Time will tell.
Is Wickman an Option?
You may have already heard that the Braves have DFA’s their closer Bob Wickman. Strange, considering the chaos existing in their bullpen. However, he voiced some issues about being put into non-save situations, and Bobby Cox is intolerant of selfishness. With the Mets’ recent relief woes, of course the question is, should they get Wickman?
Yes, the guy is scary, but he’s like Inspector Clouseau — somehow, some way, he bumbles into saves seemingly by accident. Maybe he be similarly effective in a setup or middle relief role. Certainly he can’t be worse than what Guillermo Mota has shown lately.
However, there is little to no chance of the Mets obtaining Wickman. First of all, the Mets probably don’t see him as a better option than Mota — mostly because the organization is very high on Mota’s stuff, and thinks he can eventually “figure it out”. Secondly, why would the Mets bring in a guy into the clubhouse who is leaving his last club because of selfishness? If he wasn’t happy in non-save situations with the Braves, why would he be happy in a secondary role with the Mets? Finally, it’s doubtful the Mets and Braves would get together to make a trade — and more doubtful that Wickman will pass through the rest of the league before the Mets can claim him.
There is a possibility that Wickman will wind up in New York — but not with the Mets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wickman return to the Yankees, and Kyle Farnsworth return to Atlanta.