Archive: September 2nd, 2008

Mets Game 139: Win Over Brewers

Mets 6 Brewers 5

The much-anticipated debut of Jonathan Niese was less than auspicious. However, it was pretty obvious that the kid was shaking in his boots — I believe he’ll show us a much better performance in future starts, when he’s more relaxed and tense-free.

After being handed a 5-1 lead, Niese couldn’t escape the fourth inning, allowing four runs to tie up the game. He exited with the only possibility a no-decision — so it was up to the Mets bullpen and the bats to take the game from there.

Not surprisingly, the offense pulled their sleepwalking routine for the next six frames. Surprisingly, the relief corps did more than an admirable job of keeping the Brewers at bay.

The game remained tied until the tenth, when Daniel Murphy started things off with a single up the middle. Jose Reyes followed with a sacrifice bunt that catcher Jason Kendall threw into right field, allowing Murphy to scamper to third. Endy Chavez (remember him?) then followed with a long fly to right to score Murphy easily and put the Mets ahead.

Joe Smith threw three pitches for the win, and Luis Ayala earned his fifth save — though not without a little bit of stress.


Keith Hernandez keeps harping on the fact that David Wright has a “curveball swing”, is “flying open” with his front side, and not going the other way. It looks to me like David is “loading up” more than usual — meaning, he’s bringing his hands back and up further than earlier in the season. The telltale sign is that you can see his entire name on the back of his uniform, and his right elbow fly up above his head as the pitch is coming in. Some rotation is vital to generating power, but too much can be detrimental (though, there is one school of thought led by former MLBer Mike Epstein that believes “rotational hitting” is the best way to generate power). For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so Wright’s over-rotation in his “load” is likely causing his front side to fly open. Those who are paying attention will recognize this is the exact issue that caused John Maine’s shoulder problems. Luckily for a batter, over-rotation means you’ll be pulling everything, but not hurting yourself.

Keith also pointed out two terrible slides by the Brewers — one on a play at the plate that cost them a run, and one at second base that cost them a runner in scoring position in the 8th inning. Excellent analysis by Keith, and shame on big league teams for not stressing the fundamentals and/or teaching their players how to properly slide. It’s the little things that win and lose ballgames.

I distinctly heard “Hava Negila” played during the seventh inning by the Milwaukee organist (while Guillermo Mota was pitching). Nice to hear, since they don’t play it at Shea since Shawn Green retired.

Is it me, or does Jon Niese slightly resemble Michael Phelps?

Carlos Beltran was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, and is smoking the ball all over the place. Can you say, September 2004?

Some strange moves by Jerry Manuel that could be criticized after the fact. For one, he chose to let Fernando Tatis swing away with no outs and men on first and second with the score tied. Tatis bounced into a double play. Later, Manuel allowed Nick Evans to hit with Argenis Reyes on second base with two outs in the seventh, Guillermo Mota on the mound, and five lefthanded bats waiting on the bench. In a stunning about-face, Manuel replaced Evans with Endy Chavez as a defensive replacement immediately after Evans grounded out to end the inning.

Next Game

Wednesday’s game is an afternoon affair, as they celebrate the day after Labor Day as Labor Day in Wisconsin (or something). First pitch is at 2:05 pm EST and will be thrown by Dave Bush. Oliver Perez pitches for the Metropolitans.


This Man is Crazy

Cody Ross hit by Mike Pelfrey pitchIt was a few days ago, but this Cody Ross – Mike Pelfrey thing really got out of hand, and all because Cody Ross is crazy.

Now that the smoke has cleared, and both players appear to have said their piece, let’s examine the situation from both sides.

From the NY Daily News:

I remember last time in New York I hit him and he did that little fake charge thing and he ended up running to first,” Pelfrey said. “I guess he got upset tonight I hit him again and he started talking. I hit him with two strikes. I actually did him a favor, you know. I guess he was upset. He called me the ‘P’ word. I told him I was right here. He just kept talking.”

Pelfrey’s “did him a favor” comment sparked a response from “bad boy” Ross:

From the Miami Herald:

“If he wants to pop off, I’ll let him,” Ross said Sunday after reading the comments. “I figure you would do that if you were 3-0 against a team and not 0-3.”

Pelfrey (13-8) is 0-3 in four starts against the Marlins. Ross also said he never made a move toward the mound when Pelfrey beaned him in New York.

”I didn’t fake charge,” Ross said. “He hit me on purpose, and I jumped up and ran to first. I didn’t take any steps toward the mound. I never looked at him.”

As for Pelfrey doing Ross a favor by hitting him, Ross responded, ”He better check the stats.” Ross is 3 for 9 with a double, a triple and three RBI against Pelfrey.

Ross also claimed he was angry because Pelfrey hit him in the back three weeks ago.

“I was just tired of getting hit,” Ross said.

Now, Cody Ross is for certain a passionate fellow. In this day and age, one who is listed at 5’9″ (and is probably closer to 5’7″) needs to have some chutzpah to make it to the big leagues. Ross is from that scrappy mold that bore the likes of Wally Backman, Lenny Dykstra, Bud Harrelson, and several other smurfs of yesteryear. He’s a throwback, an old-school, hustling, bang-’em-up ballplayer — just the kind of guy I admire.

However, if he truly thinks that Mike Pelfrey hit him on purpose, he’s out of his gourd.

First of all, I don’t think Big Pelf has it in him to hit people on purpose. That’s not necessarily a knock on Mike — in that way he’s just like 98 percent of MLB pitchers. Secondly, I watched that pitch about two dozen times on my DVR (you know I get obsessive about these things), and it was plain to my eyes that not only did Ross STRIDE INTO THE PITCH, but if it had not hit him, it could have been a borderline strike on the inside corner. Most likely, it would not have been a strike, as the pitch had a lot of “run” moving inside — but it wasn’t more than a few inches off the plate. Finally, if Ross was ticked about getting hit in the back a few weeks ago at Shea, then why didn’t he say something THEN? That pitch was much more likely to be a “purpose pitch” than the one the other day.

If Ross is “tired of getting hit” — he’s been hit six times this year — then he has the following options:

1. Move a few inches off the plate
2. Avoid diving in to the plate with his stride
3. Learn how to get out of the way of pitches coming at you

Number three is the one that is especially disconcerting — no one in MLB knows how to get out of the way of a pitch, mainly because the skill is no longer taught at the elementary levels (meaning, little league). I won’t get on my soapbox again, but if you missed it and are interested in my take, read this post or this one, both from last year.

Meantime, I urge the parents in the Miami area to keep a close watch on your children — there is a madman in a Marlins uniform on the loose!