Archives for posts with tag: Luis Castillo

From ESPN’s recap of last night’s game against the Cincinnati Reds (W, 4-0):

Pedro Feliciano worked the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez finished the six-hitter.

Don’t call it a six-hitter.  This is exactly what I was talking about last week.  Calling it a six-hitter sounds dumb.  There were three pitchers.  C’mon. 

Beyond that, I’m resolved in calling Jeff Francoeur “Chowdah.”  Why?  Here:

http://www.hulu.com/edp/http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehulu%2Ecom%2F/embed/VK0pcn0rqvDyuN3F3fO8CA

Because I’m between items on my agenda this Saturday (the humidity’s calling into question my desire to finally repaint my hallway), I thought I might take time to clean house here, a bit.

Example: I’ve been negligent in responding to comments, which is rude of me.  So, here they are, condensed:

After having the flu the other day, Ryan Church did have a great night last night.

Fernando
Nieve just had a bad night. It is going to happen in a young career, at
least it did not happen against a divisional foe like Philly.

But that is why we play three games series, the Mets just have to buck up and take the other two games.

Should be a great game tonight.

Rays Renegade

That from the owner of Rays Renegade (obviously).  Also, almost two weeks ago.  You can tell because, back then, Ryan Church played for the Mets.

“Pennies make dollars” is what my dad used to tell me, and wins like the one not had in this game are what hurt come late September.  It’s the same as the Phillies winning by 21 runs one night, then losing by one run the next.  The games don’t have to be against a divisional rival to have an impact on the race–and I don’t think Mr. Renegade was implying that–but they matter just as much as saving face and picking up slack a whole game at a time, rather than a half.

And God, is Nieve still kinda crummy.  Carriage, meet pumpkin.  He didn’t embarrass himself last night, but the start he had prior was abysmal.  The thing about Niese–indeed, the thing about the AAAA Mets as a whole this year–is that there seems to be no object lesson in teaching the opposition that they need to press.  With any pitcher not named Santana, the guys in the batter’s box must be thinking, “It’s just a matter of time before I get my pitch to hit.”

That profile photo, Mr. Renegade.  Fantastic.  I’ll need one similar, now.

This comment came the next day, as I tried to will the Mets to a win.  They were two games below .500 then; it only took a week to go five games below.  (That just means they can take them back in a week, too.)  From Susan, at Perfect Pitch:

Good advice. Just hard for them to follow. But here’s hoping!

My tactic? Laughter:

http://perfectpitch.mlblogs.com/archives/2009/07/fowl_play.html

I’m Section 314, by the way…most every single game. Say hello anytime!

Susan

I gave Susan a shout-out when the Mets won, saying we’d done it together.  However, for those trolling for hard luck writing who’ve stumbled onto this Mets blog and don’t know much about Citi Field, here’s something: those with seats in the 500s can’t really go down to see people in the 300s.  Trust me, I’ve tried.  You get a hard time from the ushers who think you’re trying to work a seat upgrade.  It’s more politely handled at Citi Field than it was at Shea, but it’s firm.

So, Susan, I’m sorry I haven’t stopped by.  I try to be a gregarious guy; I try to make strangers friends, because it’s one of the few natural thrills in modern comfortable life.  But I can’t get there from here.  Come by 528 anytime; no one cares if you stop by up there.  Row 6, right across from the start of 529.  

This one from Dillon, of Living The Baseball Life:

Injuries have been the biggest reason for the Mets’ non-success this
season. And yesterday Johan didn’t get a bunch of calls that he should
have gotten.
-Dillon

Amen, and no kidding, Dillon.  Since then, the Mets have lost Fernando Martinez to knee swelling, so the injury bug is spreading to the replacements.  I get the sense that David Wright’s pride is wounded, as well.

As for being a Yankee fan in Beantown… woof.  And I like Boston a lot; I’ve made good money there and have some good friends who still live in the area.  My favorite bar named after a writer (Charles Bukowski) is there, too.  But I can’t imagine not even really being able to see games.  Last time I checked, the cheapest seat for a game at Fenway was more than my total beer consumption on a Flushing night (and that’s not an inconsiderable amount of cabbage).  Perhaps you do better than I.  Good luck to you, sir.

This from mrmetnoel@optonline.net, on Tuesday’s day off:

That was a great article I enjoyed reading it & I agree some Mets gave up way to early still got 80 games left. LETS GO METS

I don’t think there’s necessarily a give-up with players; I meant that there was no game played that day, and that’s why they didn’t lose.  Thanks for the comment.  Let’s hope they don’t give up.

This from birdland of Birdland Blog:

hhahah, you have a very nice blog here. Sorry that the Mets are not in
first this year though. Who knows? Maybe they could make a push and win
the East? Maybe! My blog is birdland blog if you wanna comment! 🙂
-O’s birdland blog

Thanks for the kudos on the blog.  I don’t think we’re yet at the point of desperation.  Certainly they need to get on a good run and hope the Phillies and the Marlins and the Braves run short of steam, and both things happening are quite possible.  However, they both need to happen at once.

**

If the Mets offense can give the opposing pitching reason to be cautious, that’ll go a long way towards re-establishing parity in match-ups.  But veterans can’t catch up to the pitch they know they could hit, and rookies and super-rookies are too impatient to wait for them.  Prime-time stars are left hanging.

This is the long-term result of injuries.  It wasn’t by design.  It wasn’t on purpose.  But it’s what’s happening.  For all the back and forth on whether the trade for Francoeur was bad or good, we’re not addressing the fact that the team approach is incorrect at present.  Strong pitching, yes.  Flaweless defense, yes.  But offense: sit in there and work counts.  Make those games four hours long.  Tire them out on the other side.  Learn what’s coming from the pitcher and how the defense is going to play you in various situations.

If that program is sound, then I don’t know that getting Francoeur is going to help it.  I don’t know that getting young for the sake of getting young is reason enough to make a trade.  If the knock on Omar Minaya is that he prefers older players over younger players, then shouldn’t we be doubly grateful that he didn’t bring in another Hispanic player?  I mean, while we’re perpetuating myths and stereotypes…

Let’s see if bringing back that old chestnut stirs some conversation.

…The opposition may not yet be able to ascribe a narrative to your line-up, in part because they don’t have to: they can pick you off one at a time.  But you, Mets bats, need the team narrative.  Like when Jose Reyes would get on base, steal second, get bunted over (for better or horribly worse) by Luis Castillo, and Carlos Beltran would get him in with an opposite field double.  Then David Wright gets Carlos in with an RBI single.

It’s at this point that Delgado would hit a home run.  But, y’know.  Anyway, that was nice reliving those days.

Fellas, you need a story.  You need to write your movie.  The injuries are Act One.  The swoon is Act Two.  The rise is Act Three.  Work counts to get on base or extend the game and knock the opposing pitcher out.  Once you know that story and can tell it well, the opposition will try and upend that story.  The only way I can see to defending against a team that consistently works at-bats is to throw heat past the rookies and crafty stuff against the veterans.  And the rookies will hit the speed balls while the veterans smack that garbage around the field.

See?  It’s that easy.  Why am I not a manager?

**

David Wright should bat third only in emergencies.  This situation is a crisis.  It’s not an emergency.

Troubles rank in the following order, from least to most dire:

Issue
Problem
Emergency
Crisis
Ragnarok

Crises are prolonged emergency situations.  Problems are solvable in situ; Ragnarok is the destruction of the Gods. Which I guess means that, should we get to Ragnarok, the Wilpons will have to do battle with the evil Norse wolf Fenrir and Jormungand; think they traded those two for Shawn Green.  

Think about it: Ragnarok is to be preceded by three winters with no summers.  I’d say 2007 and 2008 qualify as winters of the nuclear variety.  And it’s pretty cold out in Flushing these days.

I can’t count how many line-ups Jerry Manuel has presented but I’m sure the number rivals the number of games won, if not games played.  But this lefty-righty nonsense has got to stop; these hitters have no margin for error on the bench, and need to learn to hit pitches from right handers and left handers.  Regularity will breed familiarity.  Familiarity is important, as the alternative–mixing and matching on a day-by-day basis–is obviously not working.

David Wright hitting third in a line-up does not give him the opportunity to produce, given the poor hitting usually placed ahead of him.  And look at the man: he desperately wants to produce.  He feels better when he does.  He feels looser.

I don’t have an answer as to how the line-up should be constructed beyond this, because we’ve not seen a consistent line-up, especially since the loss of Beltran.  Can Daniel Murphy be a great hitter in the two-hole?  How do we know?  He doesn’t hit in that position every day.  Can Gary Sheffield be trusted to hit doubles while in the three-hole?  I doubt it, but who’s to say he won’t instead hit a homer?

David Wright needs not the protection of power hitters ahead of him and behind, but the ego boost of contributing to the team offensively and defensively.  Captains need to feel useful.

Tonight’s line-up, as posted by David Lennon of Newsday:

Luis Castillo – 2B

Nick Evans – LF

David Wright – 3B

Gary Sheffield – RF

Fernando Tatis – 1B

Ryan Church – CF

Omir Santos – C

Alex Cora – SS

Livan Hernandez – SP

I know I made mention awhile ago about David Wright not batting third, then didn’t bother to follow it up.  I will soon, I swear.  That’s not what this is about. 

This is about not playing Daniel Murphy. 

According to Metsblog, Mr. Manuel believes it prudent to get Fernando Tatis a start against a left-handed pitcher before the three righties before the All-Star Break.

Fernando Tatis has not excelled in a bench role this year.

He has not excelled in a starting role this year.

Starting him every now and again is like being a super-bencher, which I liken to being a super-freshman: not enough credits to be a sophomore; too many to be a freshman.

Nuts, Mr. Manuel.  Nuts. 

Bring Tatis in off the bench in a regular capacity, or play him in a regular capacity.  But don’t start him every now and again as though you’re giving someone a day off.  The only person that needs it also swung the bat pretty well last night.  At least you had the presence of mind not to sit him, too.

Just… just… I don’t… I can’t… too many reasons why… this is horrible… I can’t… I can’t…

And why is Luis Castillo batting lead-off?  Was he that great batting eighth last night, or was Alex Cora that bad in first?

Brain… melting… too much… can’t… compute…

(Dana cannot locate the “crash-and-burn” sound effect for the show)
Casey: EEEERRRRRRRRR-BWOOOOOOOOH! That sound?
Dana: Yeah.
Casey: Really?
Dana: Yes!
Casey: Make the sound that you made.
Dana: Casey, I made the sound!
Casey: Make it!
Dana: …Oooooor-kssss!
Casey: Ah…
Dana: What?
Casey: That’s not the sound.
Dana: That’s the sound!
Casey: (walks over to the tech’s desk) Chris? Will? Be with me now: EEEERRRRRRRRR-BWOOOOOOOOH!
Will: Crash and burn.
Casey: Can you do it?
Chris: Got it.

Today’s line-up facing the Milwaukee Brewers, as reported by David Lennon of Newsday:

Argenis Reyes – SS
Daniel Murphy – 1B
David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF
Ryan Church – RF
Fernando Martinez – CF
Brian Schneider – C
Luis Castillo – 2B
Fernando Nieve – SP

This was yesterday’s line-up (vs. Yankees; L, 4-2):

Daniel Murphy – 1B
Alex Cora – 2B
David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF
Fernando Tatis – RF
Fernando Martinez – CF
Brian Schneider – C
Luis Castillo – 2B
Livan Hernandez – P

And the night before last’s (vs. Yankees; L, 5-0):

Alex Cora – SS
Argenis Reyes – 2B
David Wright – 3B
Ryan Church – RF
Gary Sheffield – LF
Daniel Murphy – 1B
Jeremy Reed – CF
Brian Schneider – C
Tim Redding – SP

And the night before that, this was the order (vs. Yankees; L, 9-1):

Luis Castillo – 2B
Alex Cora – SS
David Wright – 3B
Gary Sheffield – LF
Fernando Tatis – RF
Ryan Church – CF
Nick Evans – 1B
Omir Santos – C
Mike Pelfrey – SP

I don’t know that I have a point here.  I’m sure I will after tonight’s game.  You may feel free to draw your own conclusions.

Actually, that’s a lie.  I do have a point.  I’d just prefer not to breathe life into it until after tonight’s game.

Tonight’s starting line-up, as reported by David Lennon on his Newsday Mets blog:

Castillo – 2b
Cora – ss
Wright – 3b
Sheffield – lf
Tatis – rf
Church – cf
Evans – 1b
Santos – c
Pelfrey – sp

I guess the big deal, besides Ryan Church in center, is that Alex Cora’s been batting lead-off since Ty Cobb was chomping on baby-safe Havanas, and he’s now in the two-hole, moving Luis Castillo up.  Remember when Luis was batting eighth?  What a strange world we live in.

Cora’s 0 for 11 with a walk in the last three games, missing the jump-jive that was Wednesday’s win, and being a no-show in Carpenter’s near-clinic.  I don’t think he’s faultable for Pineiro’s or Carpenter’s dominance; I just suppose Jerry Manuel was tired of seeing no one on and one out.

Should be interesting, this Sheffield-batting-cleanup-after-cortisone, playing-that-tall-left-field-wall-on-inflamed-bursa-sac business.  I can hear Ken Singleton now, extoling the virtues of the DH.

…The DH is one of the most awful moves ever made in sport, by the way.  Just awful.  IF nine players show up for defense, those same nine players should show up for offense.

Sabathia had two homers and 7 RBI last year, in his time in Cleveland and Milwaukee.  51 ABs.  But can he run the bases like Chien-Ming Wang?

Fernando Tatis best get on the stick today, with authority.  There’s something about this game that feels iffy.  Then again, I just devoured a Good Humor Toasted Almond Ice Cream bar in under a minute.  That could be the source.

*Speaking of sources, thanks again to CBS Sports’ MLB Players Page.   

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.

On occasion, Metsblog.com does something straight-up funny.  Earlier today, their notes on the Mets game versus Baltimore on Wednesday read thusly:

Date: Wed., June 17 
Time: 7:05 pm
Mets: Not John Maine
Orioles: Koji Uehara
Where: Camden Yards

Setting aside the fact that the Baltimore Orioles appear to be starting a guy who may bear some relation to the communications officer of the Enterprise (I know, I know: Uhura, Uehara; Swahili, Japanese), the idea of the pitcher being “Not John Maine” tickled me.

Not for nothing, but Not John Maine could be Johan Santana or Roy Halladay or Zach Greinke.  Not John Maine could also be Chien-Ming Wang circa 2009 or Victor Zambrano circa whenever with the Mets or that redheaded guy from My Boys, who got tagged hard by the Cubs in an episode at the end of this past season.

Hell, not John Maine could’ve been Kris Benson, except, you know. 

(By the way, Kris Benson’s now a long reliever for the Texas Rangers [had to look that up].  By the way, Google image results for the search term “Kris Benson” brings up one image with Kris in the background and a whole heapin’ load of Anna Benson images.  By the way, I’m not complaining about that.)

Point is, by this evening it had been decided that the part of Not John Maine would be played on Wednesday by Tim “The Executioner” Redding.  Tim had recently played the role of Not Oliver Perez after coming off the disabled list. 

And, y’know, while he was on the disabled list, the part of Not Tim Redding had been played, not too badly, by Livan Hernandez.  Who beat out Timmy, and Freddy Garcia himself, for the role of Not Freddy Garcia (previously known as the role of Not Pedro Martinez/Not Orlando Hernandez).  And, in fact, John Maine and Livan Hernandez were swapped in the rotation for the Subway Series, to give Omar Minaya and the Braintrust the chance to bring up Fernando “The Double Executioner” Nieve.

So really, Tim Redding is playing the part of Not Livan Hernandez, who played the part of Not John Maine, but if we look at the starting rotation as was presented on Opening Day, Tim Redding in at number three means he’s playing the part of Not Oliver Perez (again).  We can forgive Metsblog for forgetting that Oliver Perez existed; we can thank them and wish we had that kind of selective amnesia.

(You will learn quickly that I am not a fan of Oliver Perez.  I could give a damn about his upside.)

But most of all, we can forgive Metsblog for having a hard time keeping all of the above straight.  Consider the nightmare that would ensue if one tried to diagram all that, and you would see the humor, too.  This rotation’s a mess:

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

Uh… huh…

*Let’s do a little backseat Monday morning armchair Sunday driving:

I fault Perez’s bloated contract first and foremost, though I also fault Carlos Delgado’s option and Luis Castillo’s contract and all the talk about how at each point, the Mets front office had a reasonable case to make for each.  Nay, nein, and nyet; there are always possibilities, to bring it back to Star Trek, but you limit those opportunities when you commit $30.5M in a season to a past-prime infielder who squares to bunt on 0 and 2 and can’t catch a pop-up, a slugging first baseman whose hip I could hear ticking from the nosebleeds, and a left-handed pitcher with a near-terminal case of the Mondays.

Orlando Hudson is a serviceable guy with four more home runs than Luis Castillo.  He’s also making half as much and has just as many Gold Gloves, and his last is half as old as Castillo’s.  I have little to say against Carlos Delgado; I was convinced he’d get to 500 home runs before Gary Sheffield, bum hip or no.  But $8M, by cursory observation, would have gotten us Hudson and Randy Wolf (two more wins than Oliver Perez), and left us $22.5M to buy two more of each.  Or any other more reasonable combinations of hitters and pitchers and sluggers.  Oy.

In any event, we’re here now, which is the phrase I imagine keeps Omar Minaya in smiles and butterscotch candies (which are from the devil).  Complaining will only get a new GM, and I try not to concern myself with front office business, unless it’s good for a chuckle.  Today, when scratching the surface of a comment such as “Not John Maine,” it absolutely is good for a chuckle.  Not John Maine.

I’m not John Maine.  I throw right-handed and I think Jennifer Aniston’s hair is pretty, too.  I do crossword puzzles sometimes, and if I tried real hard I bet I could hit a home run before Mike Pelfrey could.  Why not me?  Why can’t me?  I’ll pack his lunch and take Koji Uehara to school.

Hell: shave his beard and Randy Wolf looks a LITTLE bit like Kris Benson.  You have to squint.

*Salary whatnots were researched on CBS Sports’ MLB Players Page.