Browsing Archive September, 2008

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!

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Mets Game 138: Win Over Brewers

Mets 4 Brewers 2

It looked like it was going to be a quick, long day for the Mets.

Quick, because Milwaukee starter Ben Sheets was dispatching with Mets hitters as quickly as they could get their feet settled in the batter’s box. Sheets shut out the Mets through the first five frames, allowing only two hits and a walk and expending only 58 minutes and 54 pitches in the process. Meantime, Mets ace Johan Santana wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great, either, allowing a baserunner in each of the six innings he hurled. He left the game with a 2-0 deficit.

However, the Mets caught a break: Sheets was forced to leave the game with a groin injury, leaving his slight advantage in the hands of the beleaguered Brewer bullpen. You think the Mets have relief problems? One afternoon of watching the malcontents in the Milwaukee ‘pen is enough to make you feel fortunate to have the likes of Aaron Heilman, Duaner Sanchez, et al, on your side.

The Mets immediately attacked reliever Carlos Villanueva, but came up short in their sixth inning rally. It was a warmup for the seventh, when Carlos Beltran started things off with a double against reliever Brian Shouse and moved to third on a groundout by Damion Easley. Reliever David Riske then came in to walk Marlon Anderson and Fernando Tatis to load the bases. Mitch Stetter was then summoned and he retired Jose Reyes to end the inning, but not before uncorking a wild pitch to plate Beltran.

With the score 2-1, Eric Gagne came in to “set up” the eighth. What he did set up, in fact, was another Mets rally as Daniel Murphy led off with a double. Gagne got two strikes on Carlos Delgado, but Delgado then ripped a high fastball into the right field seats to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. Gagne remained in the game and let up a single to Beltran and a double to Ryan Church to close out the scoring.

In contrast, the Mets bullpen was spectacular. Nelson Figueroa spun a scoreless seventh to earn the win, and specialists Pedro Feliciano and Joe Smith handled the eighth, setting up the save for Luis Ayala, who pitched a perfect ninth.

Notes

Two-for-four days were had by Jose Reyes, Dan Murphy, and the two Carloses. David Wright looked wrong, going 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and stranding four runners.

Next Game

Rookie Jonathan Niese makes his Major League debut on Tuesday night, starting against Manny Parra. Game time is 8:05 pm EST.

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September Callups

With the roster expanding to 40, the Mets added the following players to their roster:

RHP Carlos Muniz
LHP Richardo Rincon
RHP Bobby Parnell
LHP Jonathan Niese
RHP Al Reyes
C Gustavo Molina
2B Argenis Reyes
INF Ramon Martinez
INF/OF Marlon Anderson

Obviously, the Mets welcome any and all arms to their pitching staff. The question, however, is whether Jerry Manuel will trust any of the “new” arms in key situations. If he doesn’t, there isn’t much point of their presence.

Personally, I think Ricardo Rincon will be a key guy from the left side. I don’t expect Rincon to be a closer, nor do I expect him to be a multiple-inning guy. However, I believe he’ll be effective as a LOOGY. Hopefully he can give Scho and Pedro Lite a rest.

Jonathan Niese will start on Wednesday against the Brewers, which will be a tough assignment considering they are a righty-heavy lineup. However they are also a wild-swinging bunch, which can play into Niese’s favor.

We kept hearing that Bobby Parnell was an “untouchable” … from what I saw in spring training, Steven Register was a better pitcher — by a wide margin — and Register was returned to the Rockies by the end of March. Perhaps Parnell made tremendous strides since then and will prove to be an impact arm. The Mets certainly can use another reliever.

The promotion of Ramon Martinez makes zero sense, and I’m guessing this is more about somebody owing somebody a favor. Nothing against him, he’s a solid utilityman, but this is a team filled with utility players. It’s on par with the Mets adding Gerald “Ice” Williams to their roster a few years back.

The Gustavo Molina promotion is a little bit strange, only because Robinson Cancel is a better-hitting version and Raul Casanova was left behind. I did like Molina’s defense when he was up with the Mets, but his hitting is atrocious. In contrast, Casanova’s glovework is acceptable at best, but he is a switch-hitter with some pop. I guess the Mets feel a defensive-minded catcher is more important than a switch-hitter off the bench. It’s still early though, so Casanova could still be added.

Al Reyes had some arm issues this season, but if he’s healthy he could pitch meaningful innings. The Mets gave up nothing for him, and had nothing in AAA better than him, so his presence makes plenty of sense.

Since the New Orleans Zephyrs have ended their season, it’s curious as to why some other players weren’t immediately promoted — though we’ll likely see more promotions over the next week. For example, where is Valentino Pascucci? Certainly there were reasons not to bring him up earlier in the year, but with the roster expanded to 40 and flexibility on the roster due to players on the 60-day DL, what more did Val need to do to earn a September callup? Other than Pascucci, I’m guessing we’ll see Claudio Vargas make a reappearance — though like Pascucci would need to kick someone off the current 40-man (though I don’t get putting Ramon Martinez ahead of either of them). Those who are on the 40-man and may receive callups in the coming days include Ruddy Lugo, Adam Bostick, Eddie Kunz, and Willie Collazo. If Amby Burgos is healthy, he could also get a promotion.

Since we haven’t heard hide nor hair of Matt Wise, Trot Nixon, or Jason Vargas, your guess is as good as mine as to whether we’ll see them in September. I’m guessing no on Vargas, in which case he should be transferred to the 60-day DL to open up a roster spot (same goes for El Duque, whose season is already officially over). Nixon and Wise, if healthy, could be contributors down the stretch, but no one knows anything about their status.

Finally, we might see Fernando Martinez and Mike Carp come up for a cup of coffee once their season with the B-Mets ends. Their last game is September 1st and they did not make the playoffs.

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