Tag: aubrey huff

Deconstructing the Restructured Giants

During World Series week we discussed the complete overhaul of the San Francisco Giants starting lineup from 2010 to 2012. I suggested that theirs was a strategy of “doing it wrong quickly” and after looking more deeply into the matter, I’m standing by that theory. Further, it seems to be a strategy that the Giants have employed for a while, and it’s worth investigating the construction of their 2010 squad as well. Let’s start with the 2010-2012 turnover first, however, honing in on the World Series starters at each position.

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Mets Game 90: Loss to Giants

Giants 1 Mets 0

On the one hand, I greatly appreciate these two-hour games — especially when they are played on the Left Coast. On the other hand, it would be nice if it were the Mets on the winning end of these quick contests.

Game Notes

Jonathon Niese pitched a beauty, allowing only one run in seven innings (why does that sound so familiar?). He allowed 6 hits and 3 walks and struck out 4 in a 104-pitch effort. Despite this great outing, I’m still concerned about his low arm angle, but more particularly, how his fingers are getting to the side and under the baseball at release. First, because when a pitcher does that, the ball will generally only move laterally and not downward. Second, because it puts significant pressure on the elbow. But as long as he’s pitching as well as he is, it’s hard to argue with success.

Niese was good, but Barry Zito was just a little better. Zito limited the Mets to two base hits in eight frames, walking two and striking out ten.

Though, one could argue that Niese never had a fighting chance, with .225-hitting Ruben Tejada in the leadoff spot and half the lineup hitting .250 or under. It resembled, um, a San Francisco Giants lineup.

SF’s Aubrey Huff went 3-for-3, but it was historical Mets nemesis Pat Burrell who drove in the lone run of the game. With Huff on third base and one out, Pat the Bat bounced a ball to Alex Cora — who was playing back — and Huff beat Cora’s throw home. Why was Cora throwing home in that situation? Not sure; maybe he sensed that the Mets wouldn’t score all night. But then why wasn’t he playing in? To get Huff, Cora had to make a fast and perfect throw, and Rod Barajas had to block the plate while receiving the ball. None of those things happened, so Huff scored.

Speaking of Huff, so weird that he, a LH hitter, was perfect against LHP Niese. Jerry Manuel will be awake all night trying to figure out how that happened.

Manuel, by the way, promised Jeff Francoeur starts against San Francisco’s lefthanders. Why, we’re not sure. And why he felt it more important to fulfill a promise than start a legitimate leadoff hitter such as Angel Pagan, is even more mind boggling. OK, I get a manager feeling the need to keep his word. But when your most dynamic player and leadoff hitter cannot play, and your second-most dynamic player and top hitter for average is healthy, the manager has every right to rescind his promise — or offer a rain check. And if it meant so much to Manuel to keep his word, then why not sit Carlos Beltran? Wasn’t the plan to EASE Beltran into regular duty, by getting plenty of days off and not playing back-to-back games at the outset? Meh.

Francoeur did make a difference in the field, however. The respect for his arm prevented Huff from scoring earlier in that same fourth inning, and he doubled up Zito at first base on a nice running catch and throw in the fifth.

Next Mets Game

Luckily this is a four-game series, so the Mets have a shot to even things up. Game three is on Saturday at 9:05 PM. Hisanori Takahashi faces Matt Cain, as Mike Pelfrey will be bumped to Monday in Arizona. The long plane ride to the Left Coast gave Big Pelf a stiff neck (no kidding).

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O’s May Part with Daniel Cabrera

Eternal enigma Daniel Cabrera and the Baltimore Orioles may part ways this winter, according to MASN Online.

The 6’7″ righthander has had his picture next to the definition of “inconsistency” in the dictionary since coming up to the bigs in 2004. That rookie season is the only one in which he’s had a winning record; he’s 48-59 career in 145 starts. By late May of next season, Cabrera will be 28 years old, and the Orioles may already have lost their patience with him.

Despite Cabrera’s losing record and 5+ ERA, the arbitration process almost assuredly will reward him with a raise — something the Orioles will have a hard time accepting. According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, there is a possibility that they will refuse to offer him arbitration, which in turn would make him a free agent. Baltimore has until December 12 to make that decision.

Personally, I’d be surprised to to see the Orioles let him go for nothing, particularly with the dearth of starting pitching available. More likely, they include him in a trade — possibly with catcher Ramon Hernandez and/or outfielder Aubrey Huff.

Hmmm … you thinking what I’m thinking? The Mets certainly could use a RH bat such as Huff’s, and supposedly are in the market to upgrade their performance behind the dish. The Orioles, who have phenom Matt Wieters waiting in the wings, may like the idea of swapping the $9M owed to Hernandez for Brian Schneider’s $4.9M, while getting an ideal tutor for their young backstop of the future. I imagine the Mets would have to give up someone along the lines of Ryan Church and/or Jonathan Niese to get Cabrera and Huff as well — which might not be a bad idea.

Cabrera is the righthanded version of Oliver Perez, only taller and not as consistent (if you can believe that). One day, he looks like the most dominant pitcher in the American League. The next, he can’t get out of the fourth inning. Maybe leaving Baltimore is exactly what he needs to blossom. It worked with John Maine, after all.

Risky, yes, but so is going into 2009 with Niese penciled in as the Mets’ #5. We’ve been looking at the Orioles as ideal trade partners for a year now … will a deal ever happen? The teams seem destined to make some kind of trade, eventually.

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