Archives for posts with tag: Livan Hernandez

The WiFi network my hosts have here in Boston is named “Cracker bangs.”  I’ve asked them not to elaborate.

I’m on a short vacation, celebrating some good news a friend has received, and doing it with steakhouses and episodes of Mad Men I’ve missed.  There’s a cat here who plays fetch.  I’m more of a dog person, and I think she (the cat) can sense it, as my right hand has been scratched in a number of places.

I’ve also been thinking about pitchers.  I suppose I should be thinking more about left fielders, or even catchers.  But no one need is greater than the other.  The objective is to build a team here, chumlies.  Chumleys?

I have more to that point.  As has been my trademark excuse over the past few hideous weeks: later.

If you recall:

The exercise was to visit Cot’s Baseball Contracts
website, take a look at each position need, and determine who’s worth
spending time and energy on.  The assumption here is that
everyone who’s on the Mets’ case for having deep pockets and a shallow
farm pool are correct, and that it would be better to spend money than
trade prospects.

What I came to while talking first basemen is that I can find odd justifications for spending time and energy.  Chad Tracy?  Yes.  Nomar Garciaparra?  No.  Broad and moody, like a female weightlifter on steroids.

The Cot’s list for potential free-agent starting pitchers is as long as my arm (not realistically; for a true comparison, see Joe Buck’s remarkably short arms).  And as I said, I’m on vacation.  So instead of detailing EVERYONE whom the Mets shouldn’t call, I’ll pull out the most terrifying of possibilities. 

With apologies to Whitney Houston and the remarkable way she’s come back from her substance abuse problem: if any one of these guys finds himself in a Mets uniform next year, someone in the front office was smoking crack.

Brandon Backe (HOU): Not even as a reliever, which is how he was used this year, with the exception of a start against the Rangers in mid-June.

Daniel Cabrera (ARZ): Thought he was kickin’ it with the Natinals.

Jose Contreras (COL):
I’d say the bloom is off the rose, but I was never on the Contreras bandwagon, even when it was chuggin’ hard in 2005.  Don’t believe me?  Go back in time and check.  

Oh, that’s right: entropy makes time travel to the past highly unlikely, if not impossible.  Thanks, Brian Greene.

Doug Davis (ARZ):
I was calling for him in early July.  Took it back in early August, I think.

Tom Glavine (ATL): Isn’t he retired?  Can’t we do something to force that particular issue?

Mike Hampton (HOU):
It’s not the year 2000.  Ask the gentleman directly above.

Livan Hernandez (WAS):
Remember that scene in Pi where Sean Gullette trepans himself?  Exactly.

Brett Myers (PHI): James Kannengieser of Amazin’ Avenue is all over this one.

Carl Pavano (MIN): Monkey’s Paw!  He’s a Monkey’s Paw!

Odalis Perez (WAS): One O. Perez on the Mets is quite enough.

Sidney Ponson (KC): Bats right, throws right, punches with both hands.  Next.

Jason Schmidt (LAD):
When Joe “Uno Mas” Torre thinks your career may be over, your career is probably over.  Shame.

John Smoltz (STL): I’d rather have a stroke. 

I’m kidding of course.  But I’d rather the baseball equivalent of a stroke.  Which might be Tom Glavine.

…There.  I’ve just explained September 30, 2007.

Ah, single-sentence snarkiness and borrowed humor.  I am a blogger again.

As I mentioned, I’m on a short vacation, so my posting regularity will run inverse to the availability of steak and beer.  But just to show you all that it’s not all been fun and games, here are a couple of photos showing where I was yesterday afternoon:

security council 2.jpg
security council 1.jpg
We passed a measure sanctioning the American League for use of the DH.
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THIS guy:

Cora Star-Ledger.jpgGod, I’ve been holding that in all night. 

My thanks to the Newark Star-Ledger for the photo.

There is little to say about last night’s game save that I have no proof that I completely called the sixth inning (but I did), and Andy Green worked a walk in his first Met at-bat (it’s true; I saw it and the papers back me up). 

Discussing the loss of Alex Cora’s grit and passion–I think the cool kids are calling it “grission”–would be more disheartening than discussing the plodding game management and shoddy pitching.  So as the cool kids used to say, I won’t go there.

Except that the Mets have lost Jose Reyes, Alex Cora, and Ramon Martinez to injury this year.  I have a feeling that if Wilson Valdez had even sniffed serviceability, he’d’ve gone down with a sinus infection.  And now I understand why Anderson Hernandez takes big, wild hacks at balls outside the strike zone.  If I had that kind of target on my back, I’d be swinging at pitches even if they’d decided to walk me.

Speaking of intentional walks: I’d like to go on record as stating that I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot.

Actually, scratch that.  I feel like making a list:

  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up a rookie pitcher who’s been out virtually the entire year, and had already matched his highest number of innings pitched;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot with fewer than two outs;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot with fewer than two outs and runners at second and third;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot for a team that’s still in the thick of a hunt for a playoff spot with a chance to break the game open;
  • I HATE the intentional walk to bring up the pitcher’s spot when your team’s 3-1 hole might as well be a 5-1, 6-1, 7-1, 8-1, 9-1, or, hell, 10-1 hole.

The San Francisco Giants’ bench is not as awful as the New York Mets’ bench.  Walk Edgar Renteria to face Nate Schierholtz?  If Jerry Manuel thought Bruce Bochy was going to let Joe Martinez bat with the bases loaded, one out, and a chance to break the game wide-open, he’s out of his mind.

I only bring it up because I generally hate the intentional walk as a tactic, and because, as I said, I called it.  If The Wife were a notary public, I’d’ve jotted the sequence down on my take-out napkin:

  • intentional walk to Renteria;
  • Giants sub Martinez for pinch-hitter;
  • Livan Hernandez attempts to induce the double play; pinch-hitter scores two;
  • Hernandez taken out for Elmer Dessens;
  • Dessens allows an RBI out;
  • Dessens gets out of the inning.

She’d’ve given it a seal; I’d’ve mailed it to myself in the past (I moonlight as a Timecop), and maybe saved myself a bit more grief.  But there comes to be a saturation point with grief, after which one can wring most of it out, but it’s still damp.  And that’s what I am, presently: damp with grief.

There’s an image.

I’m not saying I can manage in the major leagues.  I’m saying if I can guess that progression, and know it’ll end badly, and it happens anyway, then Mr. Manuel is not as crafty as I thought he was before the game began.  And I wasn’t high on him before the game began.

Don’t intentionally walk a guy when the next guy up will, more likely than not, be a man whose batting average is thirty points higher, and when the whole team is playing for something.  If this is it, if you believe your season is done, if you’re packing it in, have your tomato can of a starting pitcher GO AFTER EVERY GUY IN THE ORDER.  That’d be “grission” for you.  Ugh.

And now, in a replay of what I was lucky to miss because it happened in another state, the Mets face the Atlanta Braves, and Oliver Perez squares off against Derek Lowe. 

I’ll make it clear in case I haven’t: I have no time for Oliver Perez.  None.  That I’ve paid money for this experience cheeses me off all the more.  I’m setting the over/under on walks tonight at five and taking the over.

I’ll be getting there early, to boot; The Wife has never seen the new park and she and I will be walking all over it.  Bloating from too much beer and box frites today; photos and highlights to come tomorrow.

Let’s go Mets! (Right?  We still say that, cool or not?  “Let’s go Mets”?  Sure.  Let’s go Mets.)

**Word came via comment from Matthew Peaslee over at The Pittsburgh Peas that Section Five Twenty-Eight is the most recent “Featured Blog” on the MLBlogs home page, and to quote a Hungarian friend with short Achilles tendons, that pleases me much.

If you’ve somehow found your way to this pit of misery and despair, please check out Mr. Peaslee’s blog.  As for Mr. Peaslee himself, if he’s reading: I’ve got a short but packed day, but will email you specific thanks and thoughts later.  Cheers.

I have not flat-out made some of these statements, though I may have made insinuations, “jokes,” or the like.  Here we go, in no particular order:

  1. Chowdah makes a poor addition to the Mets: he’s been with the club for fewer than twenty-one days and has 16 RBI.  He’s been no-hit three times in those fifteen games, all gut-wrenching, hat-eating losses for the team as a whole.
  2. Cory Sullivan is less interesting than Cuby & the Blizzards: he is slightly more interesting than Cuby & the Blizzards.  I would have to pay for Cuby & the Blizzards entertainment.  Cory Sullivan’s salary is listed as $0.  Yes, I’m employing some fuzzy math.  But let’s see Cuby connect for a triple against Juan Rincon.
  3. It’s hard to hit triples off Juan Rincon: this one’s brand-new.  But the guy’s got a 6.20 ERA.  I’m trying to square myself on the fly, here.
  4. Luis Castillo is a creature of ill-repute: the man’s just doubled-up on fatherhood, and he’s headed to the park for Game Two of the doubleheader.  That along with his gaudy OBP makes him okay.  Not $24-million-over-four-years-okay, but okay.  I’m sorry I threatened to run to the field and assault you for showing bunt this past Memorial Day.
  5. Tim Redding is Teflon: this is just housekeeping; he hasn’t been Teflon in some time (Ian Stewart double-plays to keep the shutout intact notwithstanding).
  6. David Wright should not bat third: I’m not so much wrong about this as the line-up’s been good enough to provide some protection, thus making the point moot.  The team is running on several cylinders at present.  Daniel Murphy remains a semi-beast.  Luis Castillo is, as mentioned, not a horrible man.  And given that Chowdah looks and smiles a bit like David Wright and is hitting in the five-hole, maybe pitchers are just confusing the two.
  7. The Mets should look into acquiring Doug Davis: I don’t recall if I made mention of this on the blog, or to people within shouting distance.  But Mr. Davis hasn’t been any great shakes, and his salary leaves a bit to be desired given what seems to be dangling out there now.
  8. And 9. And 10. The Mets bench cannot afford to be so short as to only hold four players, let alone three: According to Jerry Manuel, Livan Hernandez took batting practice yesterday just in case he’d be called on to pinch-hit.  Why the hell not?

Note that I’ve been wrong about these things thus far.  I could be proven right.  But I’d love to be proven wrong about my negatives and right about my positives.  I’d be the happiest wrong guy in New York.

Game Two starts in a little under three hours.  Your line-up, as reported by Metsblog (sorry, Mr. Cerrone, for cribbing off your paper; I’m in a pinch and can’t find it elsewhere):

Angel Pagan, CF
Luis Castillo, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Jeff Francouer, RF
Fernando Tatis, LF
Daniel Murphy, 1B
Angel Berroa, SS
Omir Santos, C
Jon Niese, SP

I’ll be sleeping off this headache after the game, then at tomorrow’s game against the Diamondbacks. 

Let’s go Mets!

Busy day at the races; I shall have to be typically verbose when I get my sorry butt back home tonight (which will be through bitter rainstorms and the compulsory Friday night trip to see my parents).

An additional treat will be photos and words regarding the Frank Messina reading at Foley’s NY, of which I spoke yesterday.  Good time, good fun.  Later.

For now, something to hold you over.

Here’s the thing I came away with during last night’s game against the Atlanta Braves (L, 5-3).  We spoke about it, the event attendees and I, as it happened.

Top of the seventh.  Score tied, and remarkably so given that all three of the Mets’ patchwork outfield got steady work from Oliver Perez. (His walk count lowered from seven nine days ago to four last night.  Follow that?)  Righty Manny Acosta relieves Derek Lowe for the Braves. (Derek got jobbed by his infield and an odd strike zone last night.  Rare that this is the case, but the high-and-tight zone seemed to benefit Ollie.  But I was watching from a ways away, and drinking; I wonder what excuse I’d make were I a real reporter.)

Brian Schneider grounds out.  He was hitless last night, with a couple walks (one intentional).

One now must pinch-hit for Oliver Perez, who’d just gone over the magic number of pitches for anyone, and who wriggled out of a jam to end the sixth.  Who do you go to?

The Mets’ bench last night, excluding any Livan Hernandez pinch-hitting shenanigans, included:

  • Jeremy Reed (lefty batting .292 going into last night);
  • Angel Berroa (righty batting .136 going into last night);
  • Omir Santos (righty batting .268 going into last night); and
  • Fernando Tatis (righty batting .247 going into last night, and who once hit two grand slams in an inning).

There are thirteen pitchers currently on the Mets active roster.  With good reason.

Tatis popped out to second and we were all grateful that he could only possibly ground into a double play.

So everywhere we could look to find fault, we could not.  Without a viable fourth starter, and a fifth starter by committee, the Mets need to carry an extra arm or two.  Given the tie score late, one must save their strongest offensive weapons in case of emergency. 

The thought must’ve been: “Tatis gets on base.  Pagan’s been swinging well and Castillo’s got a hitting streak going.  We could eke out a run then slam the brakes on Atlanta.”

Except Tatis popped out, leaving no margin for error by Castillo, who was the weakest part of that equation.

The bench is less than exciting these days.  As for the relief corps, Feliciano walked the first guy he faced in the lower half of the frame and, well, if you were watching or not, you can figure out the rest.

It was a perfectly okay and understandable substitution, but if someone were to ask me next year or the year after or the year after how bad the injuries that befell the 2009 Mets hurt the team, this will be my anecdote.  It was a tidy little baseball game that ended badly.

None necessarily to be found during last night’s Mets game (vs. St. Louis Cardinals: L 3-0; leave me alone, numerologists) but one to be found while watching the game with a friend who knows very little about baseball that I don’t tell her.

Joel Pineiro (assume the tilda over the n) doubles.  Because Tony La Russa’s cute as a button, Brendan Ryan bats ninth.

Friend: “Wait, why’s that guy batting ninth?  Doesn’t the pitcher usually bat ninth?”
Me: “Very good.”
Friend: “So why’s he batting ninth, the shortstop guy?”
Me: “Because Tony La Russa’s cute as a button.”

Brendan Ryan bunts.

Friend: “Bunt!  To get the runner to third!”
Me: “Shh shh shh shh shh!”

Livan Hernandez picks up the bunt.  Omir Santos indicates first base.  Livan checks third.  No one there.  Not Joel Pineiro, certainly.  Brendan Ryan makes it safely to first.

Friend: “Wait, why’d he look over at third?  I mean, I know if he went to third, you want him out because he’s closer to home base.”
Me: “Home plate.”
Friend: “Right.  But there was nobody there.  He could’ve gotten the guy out at first.”
Me: “Yes, probably.”
Friend: “And the catcher guy was telling him… well, that sucks.”
Me: “Yes, definitely.”
Friend: “I mean, isn’t this pitcher guy like, crafty, or whatever?  He coulda made it out without a… um, run.”
Me: “Indeed.”
Friend: “Now the pressure’s on everybody.  Seems unfair.”
Me: “Life is rarely, if ever, fair.”

I’m fairly certain that few people watching last night’s game had a similar experience.  And given the awful tidiness of last night’s game, that’s a damn shame.

The hit and run with Livan Hernandez at the plate: que?  Have we regained such faith in Luis Castillo’s bald tires or were we expecting a double play?  Given the way the first five frames went, I guess pressure had to be applied.  But I’d much rather see the Mets try and freeze Yadier Molina with the “top” of the order than the “bottom” (again, I see little distinction at this stage). 

I know you apply the heat when the pot’s on the stove, but to extend a heinous metaphor, Livan went up without a pot holder, or even one of those flexible trivets.

A “trivet,” by the way, is a straight-up plate, or stone, or even piece of high-test textile one uses to protect a table from the heat of a dish or pot.  There.  Now you’ve learned something, too.

When the Mets lose a game and I need to travel from site of game-watching experience back home, I try to find a consolation song to listen to.  Lately, the song I’ve been using is “Agnes, Queen Of Sorrow,” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy (a.k.a. Will Oldham).  Excusing the portion of the song which breathes a reference to the passing of a child, I feel it sums up my experience as a fan in this long lean period.  One verse keeps cycling in my head:

If you wait another day
I will wait a day
If you wait another day
I will wait a day
Every time I think you say
It’s time for us to go our way
I say wait another day

Not getting rid of me that easily, gentlemen.  I seem to have taught a friend who’s admitted to having the memory of a goldfish that you don’t bat the pitcher eighth unless you’re Tony La Russa; you try for a bunt with nobody out and the runner in scoring position; if your catcher tells you first base, you throw to FIRST BASE.  That there’s a moral victory for me.  And I’ll take it.  See youse mugs tonight.

Doom, meet Gloom.  Gloom, this is Doom.

Carlos Beltran has been put on the DL with that bone bruise business he felt last month.  He’d said it was painful yesterday as he ran about the base paths and in the field.  This according to MLB.com.

… .

I suppose it’s a good thing that Brian Schneider’s unloaded a couple home runs recently.  Let’s, uh, see if he can keep that going against the Cardinals.

Buh.

The problem with being a finesse team is that you typically need dominant pitching to stay in the game long enough to eke out runs.  But I’ve pointed this out before–the Mets’ starting rotation is:

  1. Johan Santana
  2. Mike Pelfrey
  3. Tim Redding
  4. Livan Hernandez
  5. Fernando Nieve

I repeat:

… .

Fernando Tatis will need to be more patient.  Gary Sheffield will need to pick his spots.  David Wright, at this point, must go fifty for his next fifty.  No pressure.

I’m heartened by Daniel Murphy’s picking up steam.  Word is Angel Pagan will be back at some point soon.  But this line-up’s lying in a burned-out basement, hoping for replacements.  And there are no real viable options out on the block.

So we will no doubt be watching some very interesting or very heartbreaking baseball as we work to the All-Star break.  Here’s hoping the rest of the NL East’s competition is as deadly to them as pursuing a physical activity for the purpose of earning a salary appears to be for the 2009 New York Mets.