Archive: August 28th, 2007

Mets Game 131: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 4 Mets 2

Albert Einstein once said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If we agree that is true, is there anyone who disagrees that Willie Randolph must be committed?

All I want to know is why, why, why was Tom Glavine removed from the game … AGAIN? Have we not learned that pitch counts mean nothing to a man who throws 83 MPH? Have we not figured out that Glavine in a groove but tiring is still much better than anyone from the bullpen other than Billy Wagner? How many times does Tom Glavine have to pitch lights out only to come out with a no-decision because the bullpen blows his masterpiece, before Randolph tries something different? What stroke of genius is going through his head when he makes the decision to take Glavine out? Is he thinking that Glavine is about to tire on the 103rd pitch? Does he think that the Phillies — who couldn’t figure out what to do with Glavine for seven innings, would suddenly figure it out in the eighth? Why does Willie think he’s so damn smart?

I absolutely refuse to say that the Mets bullpen blew this game, even though they did. All of the blame — 100 percent — goes to Randolph for removing Glavine. And if Glavine took himself out, then the blame shifts to him. There is absolutely no logic in removing a guy who is dominating the opposing team, and replacing him with gas-can carriers such as Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, and Guillermo Mota. Shame on Willie for wasting yet another grand effort by Glavine, who might be vying for Cy Young consideration if not for the stupidity of his manager.

Oh, do you want to read about the game? Fine. The Mets got on the board first thanks to a two-run homer crushed by Carlos Delgado in the top of the second (Moises Alou led off with a hard-hit single to left). That was it for the mighty Mets, batting against the worst starting pitcher in the National League in about a hundred years (in this case, that’s not an exaggeration). And they couldn’t do anything against Geoff Geary, J.C. Romero, nor Brett Myers, either. Pack it up, fans, this is the beginning of the end. If the Mets ain’t scoring against these schleps, they ain’t scoring against nobody.

The Phillies were shut out by Glavine for seven full innings, mustering eight hits and no walks. Feliciano was brought in and gave up a solo homer to Jimmy Rollins to start the game. He got into more trouble as the inning continued and eventually gave way to Heilman, leaving the game with two outs and Shane Victorino on first base. Victorino stole second and advanced to third when rag-armed Paul LoDuca’s throw bounced into the outfield. Aaron Rowand followed by smashing a pitch into a poor worm in front of home plate, and the ball bounced about 33 times hugging the third base line before falling at rest about 35 feet from the plate, two inches inside the line — an infield hit, scoring Victorino with the tying run. The drunken Philadelphia crowd exploded, and the momentum had shifted. There was no way the Mets had a chance in the world to win the game after that crap.

But since you’re still reading, I’ll let you know that the game went into extras, and Mota was brought in to surrender the game-winning homerun off the bat of Ryan Howard — scoring himself and, guess who, Victorino again.

Notes

Endy Chavez didn’t do much at the plate, but he definitely made an impact in right field. He made a good catch on a Chase Utley liner in the first, played the ball perfectly in the third to hold Ryan Howard to a single, and made another great running catch in the sixth with one out and a runner on third to save a run. His defense saved at least one run, possibly two or three.

I really hate when Jose Reyes swings at the first pitch of a game and pops up weakly — particularly against a schmuck like Adam Eaton. You want to guess that Roy Oswalt or John Smoltz is going to give you a meatball to start off the game, fine. Adam Eaton? Please. If Eaton gets ahead 0-1, there’s nothing to fear — he tops out at 89 MPH and has no dominating “out” pitch. He’s the kind of guy you force to beat himself, and to force into giving you a pitch to hit. Too often, Reyes starts a game with the Mickey Rivers mentality — swing at the first pitch, no matter where it is. Yes, Reyes had some success earlier in the year looking to jack that initial pitch, but by now every pitcher in the NL sees that on the scouting report and gives him nothing good to drive in the first pitch of the game. It may seem like a petty issue, but it’s a major downer for the offense to give the pitcher an out on the first pitch of the game. First of all, you’re almost automatically putting Luis Castillo in a hole, because he has to take a strike after that occurs. Secondly, you give the pitcher what could turn out to be an extra inning — which is one less inning the opposing bullpen has to cover. The worst pitchers on any team are the middle relievers, and so you want to do everything possible to get to them. I’d really like to see a stat showing Reyes’ batting average when swinging at the first pitch of a game, so if someone knows where to find it, please comment or drop me an email. OK, off the soapbox … it wasn’t Jose’s fault the Mets lost, after all.

In the top of the sixth, Adam Eaton hit Carlos Beltran with a pitch, and then Joe West issued warnings to both teams. Ridiculous. Eaton did not hit Beltran on purpose, and even if he did, by issuing a warning you penalize Beltran’s team because the Mets pitchers have to worry about throwing the ball too far inside. This is one rule that absolutely must be reviewed and tossed during the offseason.

Keith Hernandez quote of the night: ” … looks like a little Archie Bell and the Drells with not being able to throw inside … ” in reference to Eaton walking Alou after hitting Beltran and getting the warning. For those too young to remember, Archie Bell & the Drells performed the top-40 hit “Tighten Up”. Classic.

Delgado, Moises Alou, and Tom Glavine were the only Mets to reach base safely after striking the ball with their bats. Each had two hits. Everyone else went oh-fer.

Delgado missed a second homer by less than ten feet on a towering fly ball to the rightfield wall in the sixth.


Next Game

Oliver Perez vs. Jamie Moyer in another 7:05 PM start. While the Mets will likely lose again to the red-hot Phillies, it might be interesting to see how they blow it this time. I plan to have a 1.5-liter bottle of whiskey next to me during the game.

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Pitching Questions and Roster Moves

A few random thoughts going through the Mets fan’s head …

1. What is more concerning, the fact that Brian Lawrence’s fastball is clocked at 82 MPH or that his change-up is clocked at 82 MPH?

2. Who is starting on Saturday against the Braves? Assuming Lawrence is finished, do we really want Mike Pelfrey, Jason Vargas, Dave Williams, or Philip Humber making that start? (By the way, Pelfrey is pitching tonight in Oklahoma … which means he’d go on four days’ rest if he’s not pulled from the start.)

3. If Pelfrey does start on Saturday, what if he loses AGAIN? Can the 23-year-old handle being 0-8 for a first-place team? That can’t be good for a kid’s confidence.

4. Speaking of confidence, I know a lot of people are excited about Humber’s progress, but do you want his first MLB start to be against the Braves in the heat of the pennant race?

5. Is Aaron Sele an option to start on Saturday? If not, why not?

6. How about this? With the rosters expanding on Saturday, bring up Pelfrey, Humber, Vargas, Williams, and Marcos Carvajal, and turn the fifth-starter into a six-headed monster that includes these five plus Sele. Everybody pitches 2-3 innings or one time through the lineup — whichever comes first. (Before you dismiss this as nuts, remember everyone thought Sparky Anderson was crazy for bringing in a lefty pitcher to face one batter.)

Please post your answers, other questions, and thoughts in the comments.


September Callups and Roster Issues

You may wonder why I have not mentioned Willie Collazo, Carlos Muniz, or some other overachieving pitcher in the Mets’ farm system to be promoted. That’s because Collazo and Muniz are not currently on the Mets’ 40-man, so if they are added, someone from the 40-man has to be dropped.

The Mets currently have 43 players on the 40-man roster; this is possible because men on the 60-day disabled list do not count toward the 40. There are currenty 4 players on the 60-day DL: Carlos Gomez, Pedro Martinez, Juan Padilla, and Duaner Sanchez — so in effect the Mets have only 39 active players on the 40-man. However, Pedro will be taking that 40th spot. In addition, Gomez is expected to return by mid-September, so before you go giving away Brian Lawrence’s spot via DFA, remember that you need to plan for Gomez.

Of course, the Mets could place Damion Easley and/or Jose Valentin on the 60-day to free up spots, but neither of those players nor Mets management are willing to effectively end their seasons just yet. Valentin, in fact, seems to think he’ll be back in a couple weeks (though insiders don’t see it happening).

Another idea is to shut down Ambiorix Burgos — who just came down with another elbow injury — for the rest of the year, and place him on the 60-day DL. But other than Burgos, Valentin, and Easley, there isn’t anyone else to slip off the roster for medical reasons.

So who else are candidates to be dropped from the 40-man? David Newhan most certainly will be promoted on September first, so he’ll stay — and in fact could be very useful as a pinch-hitter and pinch-runner. Looking up and down the current roster, the only possibilities I see are outfielder Ben Johnson and lefthanded pitcher Adam Bostick. But Johnson is one of the few righthanded bats the Mets have as an option to promote, and releasing him would make the Heath Bell / Royce Ring trade a complete disaster. Certainly the Mets could do without Bostick, who had a 6.03 ERA in AAA this year, but teams normally don’t like to get rid of 24-year-old lefthanded pitchers who show a flash of promise. Maybe you can DFA Mike DiFelice when Ramon Castro returns — they DFA’d Sandy Alomar after all — but I don’t see the Mets going with only two catchers in September — especially if they want to use Castro as a RH bat off the bench.

So before you start clamoring to see Collazo, Muniz, Chad Hermansen, Jake Gautreau, Chip Ambres, Steve Schmoll, or anyone else promoted in September from the Mets’ farm system, remember that the player either has to already be on the 40-man, or a spot has to be opened up to make room for him (we won’t even get into the complications of player options here!). It’s not as easy as it looks.

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