Tag: k-rod

K-Rod KOs Father-in-Law

The Mets rollercoaster season turned toward the bizarre when it was reported by Kevin Burkhardt on SNY that closer Francisco Rodriguez was involved in an altercation that resulted in his father-in-law being transported via ambulance to a hospital after Wednesday night’s game.

Per Burkhardt, K-Rod was particularly annoyed and rude with reporters who tried to question him in the clubhouse immediately after the game. It is assumed that Rodriguez was upset about being held out of the ballgame, and having to watch Manny Acosta give up the game-changing grand slam to Melvin Mora.

After Rodriguez brushed off reporters, there was a meeting behind closed doors that eventually required police to enter and the ambulance to be called.

At the time of this post, there were no details regarding how or why K-Rod’s father-in-law required a trip to the hospital.

Very strange, and I don’t even know how to react to this. Could K-Rod really have been so upset about not being called in for a four-out save that he assaulted a family member? I sincerely hope not … it’s only baseball, it’s a GAME, for goodness sakes. No matter how bad the Mets do, no matter how poorly any player performs, not matter how frustrating a player may get, in the end it is a game — and one that players get paid an obscene amount to simply show up and put on a uniform (see: Perez, Oliver). I understand pride and passion but jeez Louise — if playing baseball causes someone to deck a family member, that someone has some major mental issues.

****** UPDATE ******

According to the Associated Press and The Daily News, K-Rod has been arrested and has been charged with third-degree assault. Well, at least he won’t have to worry about whether or not he’s getting into games.

Adam Rubin of ESPN-NY has regular updates on the story here.

Contrary to various, erroneous reports, K-Rod’s father-in-law is NOT Brian Bruney, Tony Bernazard, nor Randy Niemann. Hmm … is this a pattern?

New York Penal Code: Assault in the Third Degree

From the ypdcrime site:

S 120.00 Assault in the third degree.
A person is guilty of assault in the third degree when:
1. With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes
such injury to such person or to a third person; or
2. He recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or
3. With criminal negligence, he causes physical injury to another
person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
Assault in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

Class A Misdemeanor

§ 70.15 Sentences of imprisonment for misdemeanors and violation.
1. Class A misdemeanor. A sentence of imprisonment for a class A misdemeanor shall be a definite sentence. When such a sentence is imposed the term shall be fixed by the court, and shall not exceed one year; provided, however, that a sentence of imprisonment imposed upon a conviction of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree as defined in subdivision one of section 265.01 must be for a period of no less than one year when the conviction was the result of a plea of guilty entered in satisfaction of an indictment or any count thereof charging the defendant with the class D violent felony offense of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree as defined in subdivision four of section 265.02, except that the court may impose any other sentence authorized by law upon a person who has not been previously convicted in the five years immediately preceding the
commission of the offense for a felony or a class A misdemeanor defined in this chapter, if the court having regard to the nature and circumstances of the crime and to the history and character of the
defendant, finds on the record that such sentence would be unduly harsh and that the alternative sentence would be consistent with public safety and does not deprecate the seriousness of the crime.

In completely unrelated news, the “Amityville Horror” house is back on the market.

Bobby Ojeda’s Take

On Twitter I saw a few people upset with Bobby Ojeda’s judgemental comments during SNY’s coverage of the incident (which by the way, reminded me of SNL’s “Buckwheat is Dead” skit … wow, how old am I?).

I have to disagree with those who found it “unprofessional” of Ojeda to present his opinion, citing that he should’ve acted more like a “news anchor”. Why? Because Ojeda is NOT a “news anchor”, and in fact he is paid by SNY to provide his personal analysis, and commentary. Yes this was a news item but nonetheless Ojeda is not a news reporter — he is an ex-jock whose role is provide his opinion from the perspective of a pro baseball player.

Without Ojeda’s insight and “holier than thou” judgment, SNY’s coverage would’ve been even more monotonous than it was. You may or may not have agreed with Bobby’s old-school commentary, but chances are you listened and felt something one way or the other. I was particularly interested to watch Ojeda’s tension and body language as he got riled up when speaking about K-Rod’s altercation earlier in the year with Bobby’s pal Randy Niemann — it was a very personal angle that added passion to what would’ve been much more boring reporting.

CNN regularly brings in “analysts” to provide their opinion on breaking news, and no one condemns them for being “unprofessional” — so why get on Bobby?


Mets Game 92: Win Over Giants

Mets 4 Giants 3

In ugly fashion, K-Rod blew a save, was saved from a loss by a bad call, and wound up with a win.

Johan Santana set down the Giants through eight innings, allowing only one earned run on eight hits and a walk, striking out five. He was in line for his eighth victory of the year as he handed the ball over to fellow countryman Francisco Rodriguez.

But K-Rod did not close out the ninth.

Instead, he walked Pablo Sandoval to start the ninth, then gave up two hard-hit singles, a sacrifice bunt, and a double as the Giants tied up the game before you could say “Santana”. With one out and Travis Ishikawa on third, Freddy Sanchez bounced a ball to David Wright, who quickly flipped the ball home as Ishikawa came charging home. The throw was high and Ishikawa slid under Henry Blanco and across the plate well before Blanco could apply a tag. That was it — game over, and a crushing loss for the Mets and Rodriguez.

Except, home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi called Ishikawa OUT — and the game resumed.

Somehow, K-Rod managed to get the third out, and Ike Davis doubled home Jason Bay to give the Mets the lead once again. Rodriguez finished up the bottom of the tenth in his usual shaky fashion — allowing a two-out double to Edgar Renteria — before striking out Eli Whiteside to end the game and take home the “W”.

Game Notes

Cuzzi had a rough time all game as the Mets bench razzed him on several close ball/strike calls. It came to a head in the ninth when both the bench and K-Rod complained on a close ball call to Ishikawa. First Blanco turned around to argue with Cuzzi, then Cuzzi motioned toward the Mets bench, then he walked out to the mound toward K-Rod, then yelled again at Blanco, before finally having a discussion with Jerry Manuel. It was bad form on all sides, beginning with Blanco who should have never turned around on a pitch that could have gone either way. Cuzzi should not have been so demonstrative, either, but clearly someone said something on the bench that got his goat, and K-Rod was being his usual obnoxious self, so I guess all that combined caused Cuzzi to lose his cool — not very professional.

A few minutes after Cuzzi’s terrible out call at the plate, he allowed the third base ump to overrule him on a fair / foul call on a ball hit in front of the plate by Aubrey Huff. Cuzzi called fair (correctly) but Mike Estabrook ruled it foul. Eventually, Huff bounced out to Ike Davis to end the inning (Davis had to beat Huff to the bag because K-Rod was late in getting to the bag — tough to do considering his follow-through takes him to 1B).

According to various reports, Cuzzi admitted to Giants manager Bruce Bochy that he blew the call, but couldn’t do anything about it. Ouch.

Blanco has a great reputation as a defensive backstop but his incessant jerking of close pitches — most coaches call it “framing” — is exactly the reason there was so much drama regarding ball and strike calls during the afternoon. It’s next to impossible to get a good look at pitches on your TV screen from the off-center angle of camera behind the pitcher but I would bet that Blanco is losing more calls than he’s getting by his “framing”. I’ll give you an example of proper receiving in a post coming soon.

Ishikawa might’ve had a shot to score on a double by Andres Torres, but the Giants third base coach held him up as the relay from Jeff Francouer to Davis came in quickly.

Davis, by the way, smashed two doubles and a single, driving in half of the Mets runs. His second double, which drove in the winning run, bounced high off the RF wall and missed a dinger by about six feet. He’s in the midst of a hot streak, so pick him up in your fantasy league.

Jerry Manuel ordered the potential winning run intentionally walked with two out in the bottom of the tenth. It worked out — this time. Blind squirrels run into nuts every now and then as well.

K-Rod expended 47 pitches in two innings of work en route to his fifth blown save and third victory. He looked absolutely terrible, missing his spots consistently and then serving up belt-high pitches with moderate velocity over the heart of the plate. If it sounds like I’m down on K-Rod, well, I am. If he’s not hiding an injury then he’s just plain losing his skills at an alarmingly fast rate.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will hopefully leave their bats in San Francisco and pick up new, more productive ones in Arizona on Monday night. Mike Pelfrey goes against Ian Kennedy. First pitch is at 9:40 PM.


What’s Wrong with K-Rod

As we all know, Francisco Rodriguez’s velocity has gone down in the past few years, and he’s throwing fewer breaking balls. The result is he’s more hittable. I’m not entirely sure why K-Rod started relying more heavily on the change-up over the nasty slider and curve. Personally, I prefer that he made that change (pardon the pun) because the slowball is very effective and it takes much less toll on the arm.

Though, is it a coincidence that K-Rod is now throwing half as many breaking pitches as he did in 2006, and his average velocity has lost a full 4 MPH since then? Or maybe the two are somehow related?

Huh … everyone wondered how Omar Minaya was able to sign K-Rod “so cheaply”. Kind of funny that Minaya acquired two relievers (remember J.J. Putz?) as damaged goods in that winter following 2008. Anyway, I digress …

I checked out video of Francisco Rodriguez going back to 2006 and every year since. He made some minor changes to his mechanics in 2007 due to a problem with his left ankle that began when he landed awkwardly and injured it.

So I was talking about watching video. Here are some snapshots:

This is a shot of his release point from 2006. Note how his head is starting to veer toward the 1B line, but his momentum is still driving toward home plate.

Also from 2006, but after the release point. Check out his landing foot -- straight, knee locked, and stable.

Again, 2006 follow-through. Note, again, the stable left leg.

The next photos are from K-Rod’s appearance on July 3rd.

The release point is similar to 2006, but his body is following his head toward the 1B line.

Another shot of the release point, but at a different time in the game. Again, note how his upper body is kind of twisting away from home plate. Also note the landing leg, which is collapsing at the knee (see the red arrow).

From what we’ve read, that knee bending forward probably has something to do with taking pressure off the ankle and shortening his stride. Generally speaking, when a pitcher shortens his stride, he can lose some velocity (also, the ball has to travel a slightly longer distance).

Compare to a similar point in the follow-through from 2006 above. Again, the front leg is collapsing but also it looks like his ankle is rolling over and is completely unstable. A pitcher can't have much command when he is unbalanced.

Further along in the follow-through. K-Rod has always had a wild follow-through toward 1B, but here you can see it has more to do with his landing leg being unable to support him, rather than the violence of his momentum.

Another thing, maybe it’s the baggy Mets uniform, but for some reason K-Rod looks like he’s carrying more weight than he did in 2006. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that extra weight can put a strain on joints (like ankles).

So what does it all mean? I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the left ankle problem is flaring up again. K-Rod didn’t say a word about the injury in 2007, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he was hiding something now. A weak ankle would definitely explain K-Rod’s command issues lately, and could have something to do with his velocity continuing to dwindle. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him start to use more sliders and curves — unless he is also hiding an elbow issue. Oh, and an elbow injury could have been sustained as a result of changing his lower-body mechanics back in 2007.

Interesting how things can tie together, isn’t it? It’s as if body parts are all connected, or something … dem dry bones!


Mets Game 81: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 6 Mets 5

In line with Aesop’s fable, the tortoise beat the hare. But that didn’t result in the tortoise’s team winning the race.

Veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was the better pitcher in an unlikely matchup against the rookie flamethrowing phenom Stephen Strasburg, hurling seven excellent and efficient innings to Strasburg’s inefficient five frames. But both starters allowed two runs, turning the contest into a battle of the bullpens.

At first, it appeared as though the Mets would win that battle, as they jumped ahead 5-2 thanks to a three-run eighth. All they needed were six outs to come out as the victor.

The Mets hit a bump along the way, as Bobby Parnell struggled through a 26-pitch bottom of the 8th and allowed one run. Still, the Mets had a two-run lead and well-rested closer Francisco Rodriguez — he of the sub-2 ERA — on the mound to sew up the victory.

As usual, K-Rod began things with some drama, walking leadoff batter Cristian Guzman on four pitches to start the inning. After getting a groundout on a Gold Glove play by David Wright, Rodriguez then allowed a rip of a single to .158-hitting Willie Harris — it was hit so hard that the speedy Guzman had to hold up at third. Ryan Zimmerman followed with another walk to load the bases, and suddenly the “Frankie says relax” joke wasn’t so funny. It was less funny after Adam Dunn doubled in two runs, and sad when Pudge Rodriguez singled in the winning run a few minutes later.

Game Notes

Stephen Strasburg looked like he drank four Red Bulls before the first inning — he seemed a little too excited and jittery. Perhaps he was pumped up and nervous about pitching on national television. One thing I found frustrating — as a pitching coach and catcher — was the strategy of going with the 92-MPH sinker when ahead of hitters, rather than “climbing the ladder” with the four-seam triple-digit heater in those situations. I’m not sure if that’s the decision of Pudge, Strasburg, or the Nats’ coaching staff, but when a kid throws that hard, he should be getting it up in the zone more often on two-strike counts to get swings and misses.

Something is physically wrong with Francisco Rodriguez, and I’m guessing it is an issue with his left ankle. He is completely off-balance at the release point, prematurely falling off toward first base. I never like to see momentum going sideways, but with some pitchers it’s OK if it’s happening AFTER the release (such as with Bob Gibson or Rich Gossage). But K-Rod is falling over as he’s releasing the ball, making command an impossibility. My eyes see his left ankle “rolling over” as he lands with his stride, and unable to support his body — it’s just kind of collapsing, either from pain, weakness, or both.

K-Rod had chronic issues with that ankle going back to 2006 / 2007, and changed his mechanics to alleviate the problem. It can’t help that he’s definitely gained weight over the past few years — and in turn put more strain on his joints.

Adam Dunn might’ve hit a walkoff grand slam, but the umpiring crew ruled that his ball hit the top of the fence, rather than the iron pole behind the padding. Tough call, even with instant replay.

Willie Harris resembled Willie Mays Hayes scampering in and hook-sliding into home with the tying run just footsteps behind Guzman.

Josh Thole went 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI. He can’t throw out the garbage, but he can hit a little bit.

David Wright is carrying this team on his back. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored, and saw 30 pitches in 5 plate appearances. That’s an average of 6 pitches per plate appearance — which isn’t easy to do without walking at least once.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will try to go for a split on the Fourth of July, sending Hisanori Takahashi to the hill against Craig Stammen. First pitch is at 1:35 PM.


Braves Sign Takashi Saito

saito-redsoxIn a matter of 48 hours, the Braves have rebuilt their bullpen.

A day after signing Billy Wagner to be their closer, Atlanta wasted no time in locking up a setup man — Takashi Saito.

Saito was signed to a one-year, $3.2M contract. And just like that, the 8th and 9th innings are solved for the Braves.

I know what you’re thinking: a 39-year-old closer and a 40-year-old setup man sounds like a formula for trouble — particularly when both oldsters have suffered elbow issues in the past two years. But Wagner has a new elbow, and Saito cruised through 56 appearances last year — pitching in the AL East, no less.

All told, the Braves spent a total of $10.2M and a one-year commitment to shore up the back of their bullpen with two standout veterans. Compare and contrast that to the Mets’ strategy last winter of tying up K-Rod for 4 years and spending a total of $60M for him and J.J. Putz to finish up games in 2009. Now, which bullpen makeover made better sense?

So, to conclude the activity for the day: the Phillies added a Gold Glover to their infield, the Braves completed the overhaul of their bullpen, and the Mets signed two backup catchers.

The offseason is still young.


2009 Analysis: Francisco Rodriguez

krod-75After Francisco Rodriguez set an all-time record for saves in a season on the Left Coast, he went cross-country to the Right Coast to cash in with a 3-year, $37M contract from the very desperate New York Mets — desperate because they had suffered their second consecutive collapse in the final days of the season, and all fingers pointed to ineffective relief pitching as the culprit. Surely, the best closer in baseball could make the Mets problems go away.

As fate would have it,


Manuel Perpetuates Blame Game

manuel-ghandi-smAh, now it’s all clear. Perhaps I was too harsh on Frankie Rodriguez, Johan Santana, and Carlos Beltran. By blaming others, finger-pointing, and driving the bus over their teammates, they were merely carrying out the ethos set in place by their field general.

Because yet again, Jerry Manuel does his own finger-pointing to explain the Mets’ miserable season. When asked about the possibility of losing 90+ games this season, Manuel was quoted last night during the SNY postgame (and recorded on MLB.com):

“You have to go back to the health issue,” manager Jerry Manuel said. “If you don’t have those pieces in place, it’s difficult to do anything, and do anything well and do it consistently.”

(hat tip to TheRopolitans)

See? Blame game. It fits nicely. I absolves Teflon Jerry from responsibility. He can blame the circumstances around him for the Mets’ dismal record, as if he is somehow separate from it. How can he possibly win baseball games when he doesn’t have the “pieces” ?

Funny, though, that this time last year the media and much of the fanbase couldn’t congratulate Manuel enough for leading the Mets into the Promised Land (well, they never guessed ANOTHER collapse would occur in the final days). He was some kind of Zen wizard, regaling journalists with his koan-like bits of wisdom, and managing the Mets with a measured balance of father-like encouragement and stern discipline.

Heck, one journalist referred to Manuel as a magician, and suggested he could win “Manager of the Year”.

Carlos Delgado was a one-man wrecking crew because Jerry motivated him to do so. Fernando Tatis hit like Ted Williams for a month because Jerry gave him the chance. Daniel Murphy looked like the next Wade Boggs because Jerry “worked so well with youngsters”. Jose Reyes was fulfilling his superstar promise because Jerry knew how to keep him focused. Carlos Beltran and David Wright were MVP candidates because Jerry was giving them just the right amount of rest. Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez turned their seasons around because Jerry had them working with Dan Warthen.

And if by some miracle the Mets did NOT make it to the postseason, everyone knew exactly why — because the bullpen would fail.

Huh … sound familiar?

Even amidst all the miracles Manuel was spinning on his way to sainthood, there was a built-in excuse. It would be the fault of the men in the bullpen — not the man managing it — if things turned sour. Jerry’s irresponsible abuse of arms from June through August would be forgotten when the relief crew collectively and colossally collapsed. It would be the fault of Joe Smith, Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis, or the injury to Billy Wagner, if the Mets blew it again. Anyone but Jerry.

This is the culture that Jerry Manuel created — one where the team learns to find reasons why they lose, rather than creating solutions to win.


Mets Game 146: Loss To Braves

Braves 6 Mets 5

Shades of ’62 re-emerge.

Once again, the Mets find a creative way to lose.

The Mets jumped ahead 3-0 in the second inning, but that lead was quickly squandered by Bobby Parnell, who allowed 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks in 3 1/3 innings.

Remarkably, the Mets fought back to tie the game and then went ahead 5-4 on a pinch-hit homerun by Omiracle Santos (nickname hat tip to TheRopolitans).

Then, it was up to the bullpen to hold the fort. Brian Stokes got two outs before walking Nate McLouth, which led to Jerry Manuel’s inexplicable decision to bring in Frankie Rodriguez to convert a four-out save. Ask Mike Scioscia how many times he called on K-Rod to get more than three outs in the last three years — and his team was ALWAYS playing “meaningful games” in September.

Anyway, as expected, Frankie Fantastik failed to clean up. He got that last out in the eighth but quickly faltered in the ninth, allowing a leadoff double to Garret Anderson down the right field line (that might have been stopped by a better-fielding first baseman — or not) and hitting Brian McCann to put the tying and winning runs on base. Frankie then misplayed a sac bunt by Yunel Escobar that nearly loaded the bases with none out, but K-Rod recovered in time to get the first out of the inning by a hair. The next batter hit a deep sac fly to score the tying run, and then Ryan Church hit a two-out bouncer to first base that Dan Murphy mishandled three times in Throneberryesque fashion to allow the winning run to score.


In an incredulous lack of class, K-Rod was quoted by Kevin Burkhardt as saying about Murphy’s error (or possibly the double down the line), “That ball has to be stopped”.

Nice. Seems there’s only one driving school in Venezuela — and the vehicle is a teflon-coated bus.

Hmm … I didn’t see Murphy on the mound when Anderson hit the double, McCann was hit with the pitch, or Gorecki hit the deep fly … but yeah, let’s blame him for the loss. Makes plenty of sense. Not.

This is the sixth blown save of the season for Frankie Fantastik, out of 37 tries. Billy Wagner blew 7 of 34 last year, so K-Rod’s still doing better. But not by much. So much for the “improved bullpen”.

And for all his questionable quotes and public dress-downs of his teammates, I don’t recall Wags ever blaming someone else for a loss. Stay classy, K-Rod.

On the bright side, Parnell lasted longer than Derek Lowe, who left after 2 innings and allowing 3 runs. Both Jeff Francoeur and David Wright went 3-for-5, and Josh Thole went 2-for-4 in the two hole.

The Mets pounded 16 hits, and still couldn’t win — they left 14 on base.

Next Mets Game

The series finale begins at 7:00 PM on Thursday night. Nelson Figueroa faces Jair Jurrjens. If nothing else the Mets will have a standup, respectful guy on the mound, who will take responsibility for his actions. So there’s that.