Archive: August 19th, 2009

Mets Game 120: Loss to Braves

Braves 15 Mets 2

It’s deja vu all over again … kind of.

The Mets and Braves entered the twilight zone — or perhaps the George Costanza dimension known as The Opposite. One night after the Mets blasted the Braves for eight runs in one inning, the Atlanta turned the tables and scored eight runs in one inning to pound Bobby Parnell en route to a laugher of a win.

Atlanta scored two touchdowns against the Mets before it was all over, beating up on Parnell, Nelson Figueroa, Tim Redding, and Sean Green with equal aplomb.


Speaking of aplomb, early in that nightmarish second inning, Ron Darling relayed Jerry Manuel’s description of Parnell as a young man with great poise. Talk about bad timing.

Seven of those runs were scored with two outs.

In defense of Parnell, the Braves scored four runs after Luis Castillo had a brain freeze and did not cover second base on what would’ve been an inning-ending fielder’s choice on a Garret Anderson grounder. Anderson Hernandez would have easily thrown out Omar Infante had Castillo covered, but since he didn’t, AHern double-clutched and was a hair too late to get Garret at first. But hey, who expected Garret to hustle?

Parnell threw 36 pitches in the second inning — and was sent back out to pitch the third after Jair Jurrjens quickly dispatched of the Mets with 10 pitches. He barely had enough time to sit down and get a sip of water. He threw another 23 in his final frame. Ron Darling commented that it was important to see how Parnell would respond to the adversity of the second inning. OK, I understand mental toughness, but how about the fact that most overuse injuries occur during times of fatigue? Parnell was so exhausted in the third that he walked Jurrjens on five pitches. I seem to be the only pundit concerned for this kid’s arm.

Though that brain freeze was bad, Castillo was one of the Mets’ few highlights — he went 2-for-2 with an RBI, pushing his average to .310. Dan Murphy also had two hits, including a triple.

Speaking of Murph, just prior to the first pitch of the game, SNY posted a graphic mentioning that he’d made 6 errors in 65 games at 1B. Why they would want to draw attention to that negative stat, I’m not sure. Strangely enough, Keith Hernandez blurted, “Murphy, with ONLY 6 errors at first base …”

Today’s Baseball Tip

In the second inning, Atlanta’s Omar Infante slid head-first into first base on an infield grounder. Youngsters, do not ever, ever, ever, EVER slide into first base UNLESS you are doing it to avoid a tag. As soon as you make the decision to slide, your body slows down. In addition, sliding is infinitely more dangerous than running through the bag. So there you have two good reasons to always run through first — safety and speed.

Next Mets Game

The rubber match will occur at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Johan Santana faces Kenshin Kawakami.


Different Animals

manuel-ghandi-smBack in May, before the entire Mets roster went on the disabled list, there were many “stars” in the lineup but only a handful of “gamers” — the type of players who went all-out, all the time, regardless of the score, the opponent, or the condition of their body.

One of those players was Ryan Church.

Or, as Jerry Manuel described him — AFTER he left the Mets:

“You have to be careful into stereotyping individuals. David is a different animal, so to speak. How he is made up is a little different than, say, Ryan Church, in my opinion. That’s not to say that one is better than the other, but they’re different.

With Ryan, there was always something thrown from leftfield – ‘We need to check that.’ That made it somewhat difficult to evaluate that particular situation.”

Um … actually, it IS saying one is better than the other. Further, it’s saying that Ryan Church isn’t as “tough” as David Wright.

Strangely enough, it was Church who was rushed back into service not once but twice after concussion injuries, while the “different animal” known as David Wright was immediately placed on the DL.

To Church’s credit, he acknowledged Manuel’s statement but wouldn’t engage it any further:

“I could read between the lines,” Church said before the Mets-Braves series opener at Citi Field. “It was kind of a cheap shot, but it is what it is. I’m not going to get into a pissing contest. It’s not worth it. I’m here trying to make the playoffs”

Manuel’s response was Minayalike:

“What I was referring to is that he is different from David Wright … I didn’t mean no intent … I just mean they are different individuals”

Huh? “Didn’t mean no intent” ? What in the world does that mean? Ah, heck … moving on …

Now, there has always been buzz that Church was a guy who didn’t play through pain the way some other players do — one rumor is that Frank Robinson hated Church for his reputed “softness”. Regardless of that reputation, it’s unfair for one individual to judge another’s pain — and it’s completely unacceptable to measure one’s toughness when it comes to head / brain injuries.

Maybe Ryan Church was “soft” before he came to New York, but he played as hard as anyone when he was on the field and wearing the orange and blue. His type of animal is welcome in my zoo any day of the week.