Archive: April 25th, 2006

Game 19: Loss

Giants 6 Mets 2

Some very questionable moves by the Mets early in this game. First, in the first inning, with a man on first and two outs, Tom Glavine fell behind Barry Juicehead 3-0, then intentionally walked him. (The 2-0 pitch was DEFINITELY a strike, but the ump didn’t call it.) This put a runner in scoring position, and brought up Moises Alou, who’s been hitting about .700 vs. Glavine over the last few years. The three-run homerun that followed was thus not a surprise. (Inexplicably, later in the game, with none out, a man on second, and first base open, Glavine pitched to Bonds.)

Later on, in the sixth inning, Kaz Matsui was on third base with one out and Tom Glavine at the plate. Third baseman Pedro Feliz was playing a few steps in front of the bag, but first baseman Lance Niekro was playing behind his bag. Why not call a safety squeeze here? Just have Glavine square around and sac-bunt one down the first base line, and Kaz can take off when the ball hits the ground. Instead, Mr. Willie had Tommy swing away, and he struck out on four pitches. Luckily, Matsui scored on a Jose Reyes infield single.

Then in the seventh, the Mets once again intentionally walked Bonds with men on first and second and one out, thus loading the bases and bringing up the red-hot Moises Alou. To make it even worse, they brought in Heilman to face Bonds and walk him. Why bother? Why not have Glavine walk him, so Heilman can come in and start throwing strikes? But the real question is, why not pitch to Bonds, who is hitting about .220 and is a guaranteed double-play on any ground ball? This chickenshit strategy makes me nuts.

Speaking of Bonds and the strike zone, Glavine struck him out three times in the sixth inning with a man on second and nobody out. However, the umpire refused to punch him out looking. This crap has been going on since Barry started drinking flaxseed oil, and I for one am sick and tired of it. One of these men in boo have to grow some testicles and call this disgrace to the game out once in a while.

Reyes, by the way, is looking awful at the plate. It appears he is trying to swing his way out of the slump, as he is waving the bat at just about anything within a quarter mile radius of home plate. Particularly, he is chasing pitches up and away — a pitch that a man of his footspeed should be automatically taking. If I were the Mets’ bating coach, I’d remove Jose from batting practice before the game and direct him to a spot in the bullpen, where there would be an ax and a cord of logs for him to split. He needs to learn how to hit down to the ball (not necessarily down on the ball), which will not only get him to the ball faster but will also eliminate the possibility of hitting balls above the chest.

Oh, and another thing I’d do if I were the Mets’ hitting coach: smash Cliff Floyd over the head every time he swung at the first pitch. And he’d get two knocks on the head if he did it against a relief pitcher who he’s never seen before. First-pitch hitters don’t hit more than .250; Ted Williams said it first and the stats prove it.

Outside of the Alou homer in the first, Tom Glavine looked very good, once again. Even when the Giants earned hits, you wouldn’t exactly say they were “earned”: at least three of their first five hits were seeing-eye bloops. In other words, the Giants were not making good contact, even when they made hits. In addition, home plate umpire Eric Cooper was squeezing Glavine like it was nobody’s business, especially on two-strike pitches. It appeared that Cooper was afraid to call anyone out on strikes. The most glaring examples came in the sixth against Bonds (Bonds eventually walked) and in the seventh on a 3-2 pitch to Omar Vizquel. That one was definitely a strike, which would have been the second out of the inning, but instead Vizquel walked, making it first and second with one out, and Lance Niekro followed with a run-scoring single. It’s a shame, and it’s getting old; Glavine continually puts forth strong efforts, and yet he is stung by bad luck and anemic hitting support.

A suggestion to Carlos Delgado: lay down a bunt already. Nearly every team the Mets have faced, is using a stupid shift, positioning the third baseman in the shortstop hole. With that shift, Delgado could square around completely and poke the ball toward third base and walk to first for a hit. To his credit, he has been going the other way, averting the shift, but why not start dropping down bunts? It will force teams to play him straight away.