Archives for posts with tag: Brian Stokes

Pat Misch, Brian Stokes, and the Mets could’ve used an act of God today.

Misch, in his first start replacing… I’m guessing Perez… yeah… Perez… pitched a game more efficient than most we’ve seen this year.  Seven innings.  Ninety-eight pitches, sixty-six for strikes.  Six hits, one earned run, two put-outs, two walks.  The bottom of the eighth inning started with a one-run lead for New York.

Remarkably–and I pointed this out in the preceding post–Ted Lilly pitched seven and a third on ninety-eight pitches, sixty-seven of those for strikes, giving up two earned runs on six hits with the same number of put-outs and walks.

Let that sink in for a bit.  Go to the ESPN Box Score if you’d like a deeper breakdown of the pitching performances.

So two teams, mediocre at best, managed to present pitchers who produced fairly identical results.  Lilly got the worst of it.  But this one could’ve been watched again in the off-season.

Now: that act of God.

Any nut who’s found the time to read Veeck As In Wreck: The Autobiography Of Bill Veeck, or has hung about their basbeall-obsessed grandfathers, fathers, or trivia-obsessed friends knows the story of Bill Veeck’s adventures in game tampering.

Since I know it’s in the autobiography (I wanted to get it right and, lo and behold, most of the book’s text is on Google Books) we’ll call the story true enough: Veeck–at that time owner of the minor league Milwaukee Brewers, sees his team on the ropes against the rival Indianapolis Indians during a night game, with weather rolling in.  Veeck sends a signal to a house electrician, who blows out the control box rather handily.  According to American Association rules at the time, the game would be replayed.

The next day, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, commissioner of baseball, calls Veeck into his Chicago office.  Veeck comes in from Milwaukee and is asked, point blank: “So? What happened?”

Veeck replies, “I dunno.  Act of God or something.”

Landis takes in a breath, and ends the conversation simply: “There will be no more acts of God in Milwaukee this season.”

I could see Jerry Manuel sending Sandy Alomar off to come back into Wrigley done up as the Fan Man, landing somewhere between Milton Bradley and those mean folks in the bleachers  (I kid; if it turns out he’s right about the abuse, that’s awful).  

Or Pat Misch himself, determined to make his own luck, absconding with every baseball in the greater Chicago area and starting the Great Rawhide Fire of 20-aught-9.

Or equipment manager Charlie Samuels sending the defense out dressed in identical Cubs uniforms.  Rule One of Combat: blend in.

What I couldn’t see was Brian Stokes imploding.  A deep double, a flyout to move the runner over, a single to drive the runner in.  A walk.  A three-run homer.  Brian Stokes threw nineteen fairly ineffective pitches.  Pretty much leave it at that (L; 5-2).

Plenty of force majeure sending insurance rates skyrocketing in Flushing; at least Pat Misch’s ERA ticked down.

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The Mets are now allowed to leave Miami (W; 10-3).

I took a peek at ESPN’s Gamecast during the bottom of the ninth inning, and had a Chuck-like mental flash. 

So I took a screen cap, and as I’m no longer the MLBlogs featured blogger (thanks for the ten-day hit, MLB Advanced Media; someone let me know if a guy I know named Mark B., who may work for your division or MLB straight-up, managed to see it), I no longer feel completely obliged to push baseball media with the MLB imprimatur.

This picture is the control; look for thick red outlines for the intended focus on subsequent shots.  All images are thumbnails–you can get to slightly larger ones by clicking on them:

01.jpgOnward!

02.JPG10-3?  You spoil us, line-up.

03.JPG

In an odd confluence of fate and sheer circumstance, this is the defensive line-up I would expect on the field during the bottom of the ninth, a day game after a night game, with the score exactly the way it is and the Mets and Marlins season records reversed.

04.JPGRemarkably, however, this was your line-up throughout the day, with every Met managing two hits…

05.JPG…except for Anderson Hernandez… who had THREE.  With an RBI and a walk.

For today, Mr. Hernandez, I’m sorry I occasionally mistake you for Argenis Reyes.

06.JPGIt occurs to me that I cannot recall a single Tim Redding at-bat.  With his .053 batting average, it’s clear I’m not missing much.  However, for the uninitiated (and to break this up a bit):

Teflon Tim.jpgHa!

07.JPGYou’re a professional baseballer, for Chrissakes.  Don’t smile like you’re four.

08.JPGIt’s a rare day when Sean Green is called on to rescue Pedro Feliciano, but it’s also a rare day when every man in the Mets line-up records more than one hit.  So it’s a very rare day.

09.JPGMy actual thought, hand to God: “Huh.  Brian Stokes.  Thought he was on the DL.”

10.JPGMy second thought was, “An intentional walk, with one out and no one on?  Jerry, you son of a–” …and then I looked at the ball locator directly above.

I’ve got a rash from this intentional walk thing, and it’s beginning to cloud my judgment.  I need to seek counsel.  I shall, I shall.

And finally, some fun with facial hair.  Shouldn’t be too hard to discern.

11.JPGHeh, heh, heh.

Nice win in a walk, gentlemen.  And my thanks to ESPN.

So he walked six and gave up the same number of hits, yet struck out seven, yet YET escaped with one run.  And the Mets avoided the sweep against the Diamondbacks (W; 6-4).  That’s supposed to be positive?

He threw 5 1/3 innings and 111 pitches.  Sean Green, for all the good he’d do the next day, threw 19.  Feliciano 17.  Stokes 13. 

You know what that’s like, telling me Oliver Perez was not terrible?  That’s like telling me the unemployment rate ticked down slightly in July and wholly ignoring the fact that the rate does not reflect the number of people who’ve given up looking for work

Yes, I’m on his case.  But I’m on his case because I don’t think he’s a good pitcher, and using this start to tell me (middle of page) the man relishes pitching with men on base (doghouse, Omir Santos–doghouse) and that he’s showing signs of, if not greatness, then at least usability, ticks me off.

Bad contract.  BAD.

And while I’m on the subject of Sean Green, an open letter to the man:

Paul Vargas
Section Five Twenty-Eight
http://omniality.mlblogs.com

August 13, 2009

Sean Green
New York Metropolitans Baseball Club @ Citi Field
Roosevelt Avenue
Flushing, NY 11368-1699

Dear Mr. Green,

STOP.  HITTING.  BATTERS.

Regards,
Paul Vargas

enclosures: one (1) photo of me, shaking my fist angrily.
cc: Omar Minaya, General Manager
Jerry Manuel, Manager
Nelson Figueroa

**

Separately: Section Five Twenty-Eight endorses loud booing, heckling, and other non-physical forms of abuse at people who roundly deserve it.  Shane Victorino?  Roundly deserving.  Throwing an elbow at a player while deeming yourself and your team as the vaunted overlords of taste and class makes you deserving of my invectives.  Hell, you could just be there and the opposition, and deserving of a li’l sumthin’.  See: Gregor Blanco, 2008.

But should I ever be within shouting distance of Victorino (he’s not getting a Mister), he’s getting the deluxe treatment.  ‘Cause he’s a no-account whiner on top of his dirty tricks and vindictive showboating and general attention-paid-to-anything-but-baseball-so-the-spotlight-is-on-him-as-often-as-possible.  Boo, Shane Victorino.  Boo.

No, trolls, I am not discounting skills.  Plenty of wastes of time have remarkable skills.  Karl Rove is a genius, for example.

Knowing, as I’m sure readers do, where this is going, I should say that while I condone certain violent acts when appropriate, and enjoy petty vandalism when the results are not permanent or costly to reverse (this excludes grafitti and scratchitti), I don’t know that I condone Victorino’s beer shower.

You can see it, if you haven’t (I watched it live at a bar and nearly choked on my grilled chicken sandwich) by clicking here.  I suffered for that link, by the way: that level of red, applied to Phillies or not, burns the crap out of my corneas.

I don’t condone it because it makes the Cubbies look bad, and I bear no animus toward the Cubbies; I don’t condone it because it looks cheap in the face of an eleven-run deficit; I don’t condone it because it’s a waste of beer. 

To paraphrase Chris Rock: if you are one of the fortunate few on this earth to get your hands on a beer, drink the s**t out of it.

All that said, you gotta admit that from that angle, past the ball-catch on the wall, and with such an oddly-shaped projectile: it was one hell of a shot.**

Way to file the complaint, by the way, Shane-o.  “We’ll get the guy”?  Slow down, McGruff.  Chicago PD will get the guy.

**For the record, I’ve been doused with beer, whiskey, pillow feathers, and shaving cream.  I’ve also been sprayed with a fire extinguisher, been shoved down a flight of stairs (that was in good humor), and swung into a concrete wall, suffering a light concussion (that too, with best intentions).  In all occasions, I was able to find at least one aspect of my behavior I could’ve changed that would have kept me dry and/or uninjured.

It’s 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh.  Fernando Tatis, showing signs of life, belts a homer off the “Super Guarantee” sign in left field, after watching one sail over his head just a few minutes earlier.

Daniel Murphy flies out to right.  Angel Berroa?  Left.  Omir Santos?  He chops a double; it tails past where we can’t see and he’s in, easily.

You can’t believe you’ve just spent five minutes of your life cheering for the likes of Fernando Tatis, Daniel Murphy, Angel Berroa, and Omir Santos.  That’s like cheering for Robin Duke, Brad Hall, Tim Kazurinsky, and Joe Piscopo.

Jeremy Reed comes in to pinch hit for Brian Stokes, who should’ve been in for Jon Niese after Tatis made that amazing grab in the top of the seventh.  Then Matt Daley gets pulled for Franklin Morales.  So Reed gets pulled for (wait for it)… Robinson Cancel.

The staggering corpse of Robinson Cancel.

You just don’t do that.

You also don’t risk an entire upcoming season to play at less than one hundred percent, Carlos Beltran.  What in the world do you know and we don’t?  Are the prophecies true?  Should I start buying bottled water and digging a cave out of a limestone cliff?  If that’s so, then shouldn’t the prospect of making the playoffs seem not unreachable, but unimportant?  We know you’re a badass.  Don’t be a hero.

Nothin’ makes sense no more.  I’m going to try for the Blue Smoke line tonight.  Comfort food, baby.  Comfort.  Food.

*I’m not a mope.  I know the Mets took three of four from the Rockies, and I should be grateful.  But… Robinson Cancel?  ROBINSON.  CANCEL.  He’s the fifth Beatle!

I knew as I was reveling in Casey McGehee’s dropped pop-up that harsh, bitter reality came around the corner.

Despite Fernando Nieve’s complete ineffectiveness, the Mets got to the bottom of the sixth down one run to the Milwaukee Brewers: 3-2.  I can’t tell what was wrong with Nieve, but watching Brian Stokes air mail a couple of intentional walks, I can take a guess at what was wrong with him.  McGehee’s grand slam put the game out of reach.  The Mets came back decently in the top of the ninth, but I have little faith or knowledge of any Brewers bullpen threat save for Trevor Hoffman.  Sure enough, Hoffman threw one pitch to the tying runner at the plate, and that was all she wrote.  L, 10-6.

Ken Macha’s earlobes frighten me.

I was watching the game at a bar with satellite TV.  Here, they showed ESPN on one screen, and SNY on two.  You haven’t lived until you’ve seen baseball a half to full second faster than you’re used to.  I watched Daniel Murphy turn one legitimate double play and one questionable one.  I watched Ryan Church make a bomb of a throw to Schneider to get out Braden Looper.

I watched… Mariano Rivera get his 500th save?  Again?

I know the Mets just played the Yankees.  But the game is over.  Mariano’s nowhere near Wisconsin.  What the hell’s the matter with you people?

I’m going to bed.  Chew on this ’til tomorrow morning, though: David Wright should not be batting third.

I watched the game last night against the St. Louis Cardinals (W, 6-4) in stages.  The first stage: Upper East Side of Manhattan, where I took notes in my head and quickly forgot them upon watching a plate of fried calamari get confiscated for… what?  Why take the plate away?  There was still food there; I was still eating it.  There was no signal.  I don’t care what you say.

Unbelievable.

The second stage, Brooklyn.  Pacific Standard on Fourth Avenue.  The MOST delicious microbrews.  I took full advantage.  And here now, are the full extent of the notes I took, unedited:

Different Stokes to move the world
Double paly on Pujols
How does castillo beat out that infield hit?
Guy Keith was demo-ing on was Schumaker
Dennys reyes can’t handle Fmart’s bunt
Yadier Molina has farty pants

I suppose he does have farty pants.  Let’s go down the line:

  • I feel like I watched Brian Stokes set up Albert Pujols in slow-motion.  It was satisfying turning to a fellow viewer, sitting to my left, and saying, “Double play.  Coming right now.”  And, sure enough.  Thanks for buying the pint, whoever the hell you are.
  • Hopefully I didn’t say actually say to her, “Double paly on Pujols.”  That would’ve been unfortunate.
  • I don’t know how Castillo beat out that throw for an infield hit.  I also don’t know how Omir Santos went 4 for 4, and I literally don’t know how Daniel Murphy hit that home run.  I was on the subway at that point, hustling to Brooklyn; as yet I’ve not watched the replay. (INSTANT UPDATE: he got a good turn on himself and powered through what appeared to be an unhealthy curve from Todd Wellemeyer.  Nice.)
  • I don’t quite know whether Keith was talking about Skip Schumaker, or Brendan Ryan, or Rick Ankiel, or what.  But I believe his pants were corduroy.  Anyone watching the game on SNY knows what I’m talking about.  The only thing more hilarious than seeing Keith Hernandez out of his chair in demo mode during a broadcast is how serious Ron Darling and Gary Cohen seemed to take it.  Ron was especially close to the danger zone.
  • I do know that Dennys Reyes didn’t look in any shape last night to handle a bunt, and sure enough he didn’t.  Can’t give Fernando Martinez a hit to help his average, but it helped the team, and that was enough.
  • I’ve already commented on Yadier Molina.

Think about the heartburn going into the bottom of the eighth, and think about how the bottom half of the line-up (though with these players, is there a bottom half of the line-up anymore?) manufactured a run:

Luis Castillo: infield single.

Fernando Martinez in for Stokes: bunt between Dennys Reyes and Yadier Molina.

Alex Cora: single up the middle on Dennys Reyes.  No extension on Reyes’s part to catch it because he can’t leave his feet; Cora safe; Luis Castillo scores.  Yadier Molina goes nanners.

The digital zoom on the camera catching the money end of the third base line had Castillo safe.  Molina catches it, Castillo geeks out, and grabs the plate as Molina tries to apply the tag.  It was close, but Castillo was in.

The run gives Frankie Rodriguez wiggle room against the middle of the Cardinals’ order.  Now, the middle of the Cardinals’ order isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but today’s Mets aren’t sure things when it comes to putting out fires.  There was nothing more poetic, by the way, than yesterday’s crash on the RFK Bridge involving trainer Ray Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and a fire truck.  On the day that Carlos Beltran goes on the DL. 

I love a metaphor as much as the next guy, but c’mon.

I guess until Tim Redding loses a game, I can keep calling him Teflon Tim.  Dear Tim Redding: don’t lose any games.  We need them.  Love, Paul.  P.S.: Don’t call me.  Your facial hair is frightening.

**

Oliver Perez pitched in Port St. Luice yesterday.  Against the Charlotte Stone Crabs.

Here’s the recap.

I would review, but… no.  Just… no.

CHARLOTTE.  STONE.  CRABS. 

Bobby Parnell doesn’t want to be traded.

He’s the kid staying over at the cool friend’s house for the weekend, and on Sunday morning he breaks a dish or smashes a lamp, thinking that when his parents come to pick him up, there’ll be such a ruckus about how bad he is that they’ll leave him there.  “I don’t want him.  Breaking lamps; drawing on the walls; nine runs and eleven hits over ten days and three innings pitched?  You keep him.  He likes the pool here, anyway.”

You may argue that the Mets’ pool is above-ground and hasn’t been skimmed since Papa Delgado hurt his hip down at the factory, and they also had to cut down on cheese and Charmin toilet paper.  I’ll argue that Papa Delgado has nothin’ to do with nothin’ around here as far as Bobby’s concerned; the Mets have a losing record in June but the Phillies are swooning, so they’re living on credit.  The Mets are still a contender.  Any team that trades a power hitter or a front-line pitcher to the Mets either feels they’re out of contention, was never in contention to begin with, or is smoking something delightful.

Or you may argue that Bobby’s pitching badly because he DOES want to be traded, but to someone who’ll take him in this condition.  My guess is that’d be the Nationals.  If that were actually the case, then I’d want no part of him.  Ladies on the bus.  Gangstas on the field.  All that good stuff.

Or you may argue that he’s sincerely trying to do a good job, he’s struggling under the use and the pressure, and I’m wrong for assuming any ill intent.  You’re the most correct, certainly, but that theory’s no fun.  Nuh-uh.  Citi Field’s got the Nintendo Wii, and Danny Murphy’s Honda Civic is awesome to bomb around in on off days, cranking the Dropkick Murphys and the *Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Old Man Stokes has the funniest stories.  He’ll break enough stuff until the trade deadline, after which his parents’ll have gone, and he’ll be good.  He promises.

*Besides once again using the CBS Sports MLB Players’ Page, I do not mean to imply that Daniel Murphy is a fan of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.