The Hot Stove Season is underway, and already we have a flurry of buzz and rumors. One whirlwind post from Adam Rubin is chock full of information (or misinformation, take your pick), which I’ll break down here.
Tag: tim redding
When the Mets signed Tim Redding in the second week of January 2009, he immediately assumed the #4 spot in the starting rotation. Saying that now seems preposterous, but at the time, that’s where he fit in — even if it was by default.
Because at the time — January 9th to be exact — the Mets were still scrambling to fill out their rotation behind Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and an injured John Maine. The Redding signing came two weeks before Freddy Garcia (!) was inked to an incentive-based deal and almost a month before Oliver Perez realized no one else was going to sign him (though the Mets were happy to bid against themselves in the process).
Sit back and think about that for a moment: as of Groundhog Day, and 11 days before pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, Tim Redding was the Mets’ #3 starter
Nationals 7 Mets 4
The season cannot end soon enough.
The Mets had a two-zip lead early, the Nats fought back with a run, the Met answered with an insurance run, the Nats got another run, and the Mets answered yet again with an insurance run. So in the bottom of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez stepped on the mound to protect a 4-2 lead.
Fifteen minutes and 37 pitches later, Justin Maxwell was mobbed by his teammates at home plate, in celebration of his two-out, full-count, game-winning, walk-off grand slam and the Nationals’ 7-4 victory.
The most horrifying part of it all? I was not one bit surprised. In fact, I almost expected Maxwell to bang one over the wall.
Tim Redding pitched well yet again, tossing 6 innings of one-run, four-hit ball. He’s gone 6+ innings in six of his last seven starts, allowing 16 earned runs. But how do you measure this late-season streak against a contract for next year, when he looked so inadequate in the ten starts previous? Tough call.
In contrast, K-Rod has been performing poorly as the season wears on. He’s now 1-4 with 19 earned runs allowed in 25 innings since the All-Star Break. Ouch.
Jeff Francoeur, Fernando Tatis, and Omir Santos accounted for six of the Mets’ seven hits.
In the top of the ninth, the Mets had three hits and the Nats made an error but only one run scored.
The Nationals’ Josh Bard had only one official plate appearance yet saw 27 pitches (he walked 3 times).
Next Mets Game
Thankfully for us fans, there will not be another game until Friday night at 7:10 PM in Flushing. John Maine heads to the mound against Wandy Rodriguez.
Mets 6 Marlins 5
If this were 1960, the season would be over — and the Mets would have finished on a high note.
Instead, we have eight more games to muddle through, and can only hope our favorite team can keep the excitement quotient at this level.
Through the first four frames, it looked like the Mets might cruise to a victory. Tim Redding was throwing shutout ball and a three-run homer by Jeff Francoeur in the second gave the Mets a comfy three-run lead.
Then came the fifth, when Redding surrendered a three-run dinger himself — to the NL’s leading hitter Hanley Ramirez.
Redding remained on the mound as the bottom of the seventh began, but didn’t last long thereafter. He walked the leadoff man and was immediately replaced by Perpetual Pedro Feliciano, who got a quick popup but then threw a wild pitch to send the runner to second base. He struck out Nick Johnson, but then intentionally walked Ramirez and yielded to setup man / ROOGY / this year’s Heilman Sean Green. Green promptly allowed a double to Jorge Cantu that put the Fish up by two.
However, the Mets answered with a run in the eighth — scored on a strike three wild pitch to David Wright. Bobby Parnell held the fort in the bottom of the frame, and the Mets went ahead in the top of the ninth, thanks to a pinch-hit, two-run single by Cory Sullivan.
Frankie Fantastik pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 34th save.
I know Hanley Ramirez is the top hitter in the NL, and had already hit a homerun, but I’ll never, ever, ever understand the “strategy” of intentionally placing a runner on base in a tie ballgame. (In fact, I find very few situations that warrant an intentional walk.) For every time Ramirez hits safely, he’s going to fail at least twice. Further, he was 5 for his last 20 coming into the game. The argument that “you don’t let the big bat beat you” has never and will never make sense to me. How is it better to let the “lesser” bat beat you, after you’ve handed over a free base? The mamby-pamby approach of walking hitters intentionally and creating “favorable matchups” is one of the reasons pitching gets worse every year — pitchers are taught that they can’t get certain hitters out and are not given the chance to learn how to do so. Managers whine and moan that they can’t find any “crossover” pitchers who can get lefties AND righties out, yet they perpetuate their problem every game. A never-ending, vicious cycle that’s about as effective as a dog chasing its own tail.
Here’s a thought: intentional walks are like compound interest — they mysteriously pay immense dividends over the long haul.
But hey, the Mets won this one, so let’s accentuate the positive. Jeff Francoeur, Daniel Murphy, and Angel Pagan all had 2-for-4 days. Bobby Parnell earned his first win out of the bullpen since the summer solstice (actually, a month before then). Tim Redding had another decent outing to raise the bidding for his services in the offseason. Both Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan came through as pinch-hitters in the ninth — proving that a) they are NOT the same person and b) they’ll help someone off the bench in 2010.
David Wright has 4 hits in his last 22 at-bats and has seen his batting average plummet 20 points in 22 days.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. John Maine goes to the mound against Sean West.
Mets 3 Nationals 2
Some days you have it, some days you don’t.
On this particular afternoon, Tim Redding had it — he brought his “A” game.
Spotting his sinker at the knees, on both corners of the plate, and mixing in a sharp slider and occasionally well-behaving curveball, Redding stymied the Nats bats through seven frames, allowing just one unearned run on four hits and two walks — easily his best outing of the season.
However, it nearly wasn’t enough, because Sean Green did not have “it”.
Green was wild from the moment he entered the game, but Jerry Manuel left him on the mound long enough to let the Nationals score a run to tighten the score to 3-2. Luckily, Everyday Pedro Feliciano came on the save the day, however, and Frankie Fantastik finished up for his 32nd save.
John Lannan nearly matched Redding’s effort, holding the Mets to 3 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings.
Dan Murphy drove in two of the Mets runs and Jeff Francoeur drove in the other. The big “hits” of the game came in the bottom of the seventh, and were actually errors. David Wright led off with a liner to right field that was grossly misplayed by Ian Desmond, a shortstop who was making his first-ever appearance in the outfield. The official ruling was a double, since Desmond didn’t even get a glove on the ball. A few minutes later, Murphy bounced a grounder that Adam Dunn ole’d to score Francoeur with the Mets’ third run of the game. That’s why the coaches say, “just put the ball in play, you never know what might happen”.
Next Mets Game
The final game of the series occurs on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 PM. John Maine faces Garret Mock.
Phillies 1 Mets 0
Well, at least they weren’t swept. Though, they were mathematically eliminated from winning the NL East (the Mets are now 20 games behind the Phillies with 18 games left to play).
Tim Redding continued his remarkable ability to mystify the most powerful offense in the National League, holding the Phillies to one measly run on three hits in six innings. However, Pedro Martinez was just a little better, shutting out the Mets through eight frames — allowing six hits, two walks, and striking out seven in an inspiring and emotional 130-pitch effort.
You remember Pedro — the guy who insisted he was finally healthy and practically begged the Mets to give him one more year of pitching in New York?
With Brad Lidge remaining on the bench, the Mets had little chance of coming back in the ninth. Instead, Ryan Madson came on to earn his eighth save of the season.
The Mets scattered seven hits, more than doubling the Phillies’ three. But hits are irrelevant if they don’t score runs.
Pedro’s change-up was thrown as slow as 75 MPH and as fast as 87 MPH. He was 90-91 on most of his fastballs. His 125th and 126th pitches of the night were clocked at 91 MPH.
Pedro is now 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA and has yet to “disrupt” the Phillies clubhouse with his “poisonous” personality — which was predicted by such “experts” as Seth Everett and Don LaGreca. (The Phillies are 7-0 in his starts.)
Once Jeremy Reed replaced Fernando Tatis in left, joining Carlos Beltran in center and Cory Sullivan in right, the Mets fielded perhaps the best defensive outfield combination in their history.
Did anyone else see Kevin Burkhardt competing against Roger Federer between games? The commute would’ve been a lot easier if the Mets were playing at home.
Today’s Baseball Lesson
With two outs and Pedro on pitch #130, Dan Murphy broke for third on a ball in the dirt, only to be thrown out by Carlos Ruiz. Youngster, take heed of this baseball absolute: NEVER, EVER make the first out or the third out at third base. EVER. The reason you don’t make the last out at third is because you are already in scoring position at second base, and with two outs you can only score on a hit. OK, if you’re on third base there is a chance you can score on a wild pitch, but those are fairly rare (except at the very low levels) and they don’t occur often enough to make it worth the gamble of advancing to third — it’s a low-percentage play. In contrast, with less than two outs, it’s OK to be more aggressive in advancing to third because you can score on an out (i.e., sacrifice fly or ground out) — your options are greatly broadened. Dan Murphy standing on second base with two outs and standing on third base with two outs is essentially the same situation — in either case your most likely chance of scoring is on a ball hit to the outfield that falls safely.
Next Mets Game
The Mets have Monday off, and will travel to Atlanta to begin a three-game set with the Braves. Game one begins at 7:00 PM and pits Pat Misch against Tommy Hanson.
Marlins 4 Mets 2
Tim Redding is trending back to the mean.
Redding followed up two straight stellar, near-seven-inning starts with a more typical 5-inning, 100-pitch, four-run effort against the Fish. In other words, an average outing for the Rochester righthander.
Two two-run homers — one by Hanley Ramirez and the other by Cameron Maybin — were the death knell for Redding’s evening. The Mets were unable to respond to potato power, save for two runs scratched out in the fourth and fifth.
Angel Pagan belted his 9th triple of the season, which was nearly an inside-the-park quadruple. He has the second-most triples in the NL, despite only 254 at-bats. If Jose Reyes ever plays a full season at Citi Field, he might set a new record for triples.
Not a good night for David Wright. He went 0-for-4 with an error (his 14th) and two Ks, including a strikeout in a big spot with the bases loaded in the seventh.
It was a good night for Luis Castillo, who had three hits and an RBI.
The Marlins nearly had a fifth run, when Jeff Francoeur’s throw home bounced over Josh Thole, prompting Dan Uggla to race to the plate from third base. However, the ball was recoved quickly by Elmer Dessens — who technically was in the incorrect backup position — and Dessens was able to get the ball to Thole as Uggla slid in. It should also be noted that Dan Murphy was improperly positioned for Francoeur’s cutoff; that’s been an issue Murphy needs to address if his future will be at first base.
SNY gave us a “silent” sixth inning for reasons unknown. I might have enjoyed it if not for award-winning director Bill Webb, whose incessant camera switches made me nauseous. Are the attention spans of TV-viewing Mets fans really that short, that a new view needs to be shown every two seconds? Does Bill Webb really believe we are interested in seeing an ice cream vendor, a fan working a crossword, the back of Razor Shines’ head, a close-up of a Blackberry, and Jerry Manuel stroking his chin — all in the course of eight seconds? I have an idea: how about, for one inning, SNY sets the TV camera behind home plate and leaves it there? No camera switches to close-ups of Carlos Beltran’s mole or some kid eating cotton candy — just leave the camera in one spot, for one inning. If I want a silent inning, I’ll press mute. Give me something you don’t ordinarily offer, that may make the game experience more enjoyable.
Jerry Manuel mentioned Buddy Bell during the SNY postgame interview while describing Tim Redding’s performance. Then I realized he said “but he battled”, not “Buddy Bell”. I always liked Buddy Bell … he was a solid hitter who hit in the clutch and was an excellent defender at the hot corner. Not much of a manger, though. Ah, I digress … can you blame me, considering where the Mets stand right now?
Also in the postgame, Bobby Ojeda mentioned that he likes the way Josh Thole “sticks” pitches. In other words, he catches the ball when it’s a strike and holds it there. I like that too. It always drove me nuts to watch Ramon Castro try to “frame” every single pitch into the strike zone. All that does is annoy the umpire, and cause him to ignore the catcher’s glove completely. Hopefully Sandy Alomar, Jr., won’t be teaching Thole any similarly asinine “framing” “techniques”.
Though, I disagree completely with Ojeda’s assessment of John Maine’s delivery as “effortless”. We’ve discussed Maine’s terrible, damaging mechanical flaw before, and it is anything but effortless. (Note to Rex Gary: I’m available to work with your client this winter.)
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night. Pat Misch will face Ricky Nolasco. Josh Thole will once again be behind the plate.
Rockies 5 Mets 2
Tim Redding gave the Mets a stellar 6 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs on seven scattered hits and one walk. However, he was up against a buzzsaw in Ubaldo Jimenez, who handcuffed the Mets through eight innings and also allowed only 2 runs, on five hits.
The tie was broken in the bottom of the eighth, when Brian Stokes opened the inning by loading the bases, then gave up back-to-back RBI singles to pinch-hitter Jason Giambi and former almost-Met Yorvit Torrealba. By the time K-Rod came on to rescue him, Stokes had allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in one-third of an inning.
Jimenez won his 13th game, and Franklin Morales pitched the ninth en route to his first career save.
Interesting that Redding is pitching well now — now that he’s pitching for a contract. Smart to perform well at the end of the season. It is similar to a restaurant’s strategy of serving a great dessert or a tasty sweet beverage — because people will remember you fondly if they leave with a good taste in their mouth.
One of the Mets’ five hits was Jeff Francoeur’s 12th homer of the year, a solo shot. Francoeur nearly threw out Jimenez at first base on a line-drive single to right field. That was about all the excitement of the game from the Mets’ POV.
Ubaldo Jimenez was hitting 99 MPH on the gun in the seventh inning, as he approached 100 pitches.
Next Mets Game
The final game of the series begins at 3:10 PM EST on Thursday afternoon. Pat Misch faces Jason Marquis. Josh Thole is scheduled to squat behind the plate for the Mets.