Archives for posts with tag: Omir Santos

crowd sky.jpgThe thing about The Wife attending grad school in the South is that whenever she comes up for a week-long break, weekday mornings are a bear. This may be too saccharine for a blog about the Mets, but I find it exceedingly difficult to WANT to get out of bed and go to work, and do all the things that take place via muscle memory on any given Monday.

Difficult, too, is the day after the end of Baseball I Truly Care About. They’ve been rough the past couple of years. This one’s worse, somehow, despite the profound lack of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I want to throw on jeans and a t-shirt, get some people together, and play some ball (by the by, the David Wright GQ photo won in Steelers-like fashion, surviving a late surge from Santana’s soulful warm-up shot, in the battle for off-season profile pic).
 
This year, with the end of the season occurring one week later and her vacation one week earlier, I’ve been hit with a double-barrel shot of I Don’t Wanna Go.  But go I do, riding on the local train as I type to vision loss on a tiny screen.
 
I think I’d be happier if I were on my way to Citi Field; I’d also be happier if The Wife were done with grad school and she were somehow gainfully employed in marine matters up here, up North. Today is a red-letter day in “dang.”
 
There are bright spots in memory. Yesterday was gorgeous.
 baseball sky.jpgI can’t recall the last beautiful day I spent at the park, and that’s partly a function of all the night games I managed to go to this year, and partly a function of the awful weather that the city’s been saddled with.
 
Also can’t recall the last time Alex Anthony, the Mets’ P.A. announcer, had to tell me about a pitching accomplishment.

fig pitch 01.jpgfig pitch 02.jpgfig pitch 03.jpg1010 WINS’s sportscaster called it this way at 7:45a: “Mets end their season with a sweep of the Astros, winning 4-0 on a good start by Nelson Figueroa.”
 
fig pitch 04.jpgIn fact, Figueroa threw the first complete game shutout in Citi Field history, a fact that would’ve explained away my surprise at seeing him come up to bat in the bottom of the eighth. I just kept looking at the pitch count and thinking, “He’s thrown for a million years and that arm hasn’t quit yet. If he gets lucky in the ninth, I doubt he goes much past 120.” He threw 113 pitches to dispatch with the Astros.
 
fig dugout.jpgYesterday’s game was also a demonstration of the style of play the park “was built for”: hits in the gaps; speed on the base paths.  Hassling pitchers.  In the bottom of the fourth with Beltran on third, Jeremy Reed walked on ten pitches; Josh Thole grabbed his single to score the run on nine. 

thole bat 01.jpgthole bat 02.jpgthole bat 03.jpgthole bat 04.jpgthole bat 05.jpgthole bat 06.jpgThat’s nineteen pitches over the course of two batters, accounting for nearly twenty-five percent of Wilton Lopez’s final total on the day.  Good work.  More next year, please.

Still would’ve enjoyed it if Pagan had hit for the cycle.  Regardless, a masterful effort offensively and defensively for the man.
 
In the past two years, Pagan and Figueroa have shown themselves to be two good soldiers. In the afterglow of a great effort, a win on the last day of the season, and a jolt of immediate nostalgia for this ragtag group of intergalactic rebels–which, given the season record, one could call criminally psychotic–I had Pagan penciled in as the opening day left fielder, and Figueroa as the fifth starter.
 
Then I woke up.

thole crouch.jpgThese guys–a lot of the guys on the Mets–are good soldiers. But the good soldiers have to be the last line of defense on any game in which the elite squad’s either put the game away or have been put away themselves.

last line.jpgPagan and Figueroa are not a foundation on which to build. 

Neither are Thole or Murphy or Santos or Parnell, or Misch or Evans.  Not yet, at the very, very least.

Neither are Maine or Pelfrey or Chowdah, as much as it pains me to say about Maine and Pelfrey, and as much of a soft spot I have now for the right fielder.

They’re who you use to clear wate
r out of the foundation when all you can do is wait for the morning, when the river’s receded.  How’s THAT for an overextended metaphor?
 
Truly, the next Mets team that comes to Flushing with championship aspirations must be a team that can soundly batter, not merely play good and close. All Mets starters should be eminently capable of throwing complete game shut-outs. I want a threat for the cycle at least once a homestand.  I want 30/30 seasons from my center fielder, third baseman, AND shortstop.
 
I want my wife to finish grad school and move back to New York. I want to work for/around/in/about baseball.  I want to write screenplays. I want a nutritious breakfast.
 
end of year crowd.jpgAny and everything is possible, save for a Mets no-hitter; I was convinced I’d see that this season as karmic recompense for the siege on the team’s health, and was denied it.  Today the Mets begin working on getting me what I want. The cruel fact of life is that, in order to get what I want, I have to get up and go to work. Gotta be a good soldier.
 
fan sign.jpgI like my job; I like the people there. But it sure isn’t baseball.
 
**
 
Section Five Twenty-Eight won’t shut down for the post- or off-season; there will certainly be fewer photos, but I’m certain that without necessarily having to apply the artifice of baseball to my random pandemic twiddlepoopings, the posts will be fluid reads.
 
That said, I do watch as much as I can of the post-season. I said I wouldn’t declare those loyalties until the teams were decided, and Minnesota has made it impossible for me to do that today. I’ll definitely be watching their game on Tuesday, as well as watching/reading/listening to any developments on the Mets front.
 
I imagine that much of my Mets commentary in the fall and winter months will be focused on dissecting the dissection of various team moves; I’m hot on this “we should be responsible fans” kick. If you’re new here I strongly urge you to visit the folks I’ve linked to in the blog roll on the right; I find that together they present a fine and balanced picture, easily understood and always fun to debate.
 
Let’s go Mets in 2010!

mr met.jpg
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Amusing:

I’m sure most Mets fans who troll the internet for some small speck of daylight have already seen Adam Rubin’s coverage of this year’s rookie hazing.  If you haven’t, click here.  Omir Santos is waaay too excited to be dressed up as the Boy Wonder.

Additionally, check out Jay Horwitz’s expression behind the tall-walking, stiff-upper-lip-having Ken Takahashi:

takahashi.JPGI’d be confused, too, Mr. Horwitz.

Now then: I point you to a snippet of Marty Noble’s coverage of yesterday’s game against the Marlins (W; 4-0). 

“Bobby Parnell was dressed as Goldilocks, though there is no record of
her having worn a beard and shades. Lance Broadway was a nurse. Josh
Thole wore long ears that stood erect; he was a Playboy bunny. Nick
Evans was Minnie Mouse — round ears, white polka dots on red and his
own street shoes
. Tobi Stoner was a maid. Forty-year-old rookie Ken
Takahasi was a snake charmer with a boa. And Omir Santos was Robin…”

Emphasis mine.  Click here for the full read.

Now find the read from Rubin on who’s pictured in the hazing shot (it’s in the comments):

“left
to right, it’s Lance Broadway [check], Bobby Parnell [check], Tobi Stoner [check], physical
therapist John Zajac [extra], Daniel Murphy [extra], Josh Thole [check], with Omir Santos [check] in
front.”

Everybody who’s mentioned got a photo.  We even got some extras thrown in for good measure (John Zajac?).  What we don’t have is any confirmation that Nick Evans was dressed up as Minnie Mouse.

I’m thoroughly uninterested in seeing Nick Evans in cartoon mouse drag, but you have to admit it’s funny. First, the man can’t seem to buy a plate appearance, and now even cross-dressing and aping a completely different species can’t get him a humiliating photo. 

Perhaps the Mets sent him down to Triple-A Orlando and purchased Goofy’s contract.

I now know for a fact that I’ve seen Tim Redding swing a bat.  I made it a point to sit down tonight and watch him.  Still, you could put a gun to my head and I wouldn’t remember them.  That wire brush on his chin is mesmerizing.

Land Shark Stadium was DESERTED. Wow.

Sean Green is STILL throwing not to Omir Santos, but to the Marlins cheerleaders–they have cheerleaders–out along the first base side.

Finally: when Murphy hit that ground rule double, Jerry Manuel came out to discuss the possibility (it wasn’t) that the ball had hit the scoreboard (it hit the reserve stands past the wall) and was still in play (no chance). 

Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez discussed the conversation; as it broke up, Keith had these words:

Keith: “And of course, [first base umpire] Angel Hernandez has to come over and stick his snout into it.”

[Emphasis Keith’s.]

Silence for several moments, possibly due to Gary’s slamming of the mute button to laugh uproariously, or bite his fist to avoid same. 

Then, as the graphic appears below the current game score:

Keith (disgruntled): “These are the umpires.”

Wikipedia has basic coverage of whatever Angel Hernandez’s problem is.  There’s an old Augusta Chronicle article that doesn’t make him a mortal lock for Swine Of The Century, but for all his subsequent atrocities, it’s always good to read about how Piazza manhandled the man. 

And Greg Prince at Faith And Fear In Flushing has a bit from back in late May that mentions Angel Hernandez, and is always good for a laugh.  (My thanks for the linkback to coverage of Tuesday, Mr. Prince.  Quite appreciated.)

God bless ya, Keith.  You tell it like it is.  I have a special hard place in my heart for Brian Runge, but Angel Hernandez is a classic bile-magnet.

“And where the hell were you?”
“Sorry, T; the highway was jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive.”
“What, are you a comedian now?”

The Sopranos, “Long-Term Parking”

 
Lots of injury seen yesterday:

  • Martin Prado comes out of the game with a headache;
  • Oliver Perez tweaks his knee on a cover attempt at first;
  • Derek Lowe gets hit on his glove hand trying to cover a hit up the middle;
  • Anderson Hernandez goes down trying to cover second;
  • Larry Jones goes hitless and hurts his pride;
  • Jerry Manuel discusses the mess that was Ryan Church’s 2008 concussion and, as my junior high band teacher used to say, steps on his joint;
  • Ryan Church does less than Larry Jones, and hurts his team’s playoff chances;
  • someone (I’ve no idea who) slips on the slick rotunda floor and is taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.

 
Each of these points should be addressed before moving forward. I choose to do so in reverse order.
 
First: that floor in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is a menace. It’s lovely and eye-catching and leads the fan to inserts detailing Mr. Robinson’s nine core values, but it’s slippery when DRY. And last night saw two sure signs of the Apocalypse: the current Mets line-up notching ten hits against the $60 million man, and a resultant flash thunderstorm. There was an easy quarter-inch of rain on the ground and no sign of decent drainage.  Put that on the list for off-season adjustments. 

Also add the completion of whatever this:

construction.jpg…is supposed to be, far west of the bullpen gate. (For orientation purposes, the window on the far right looks out onto the parking lot behind center field and, across the water, LaGuardia Airport.)  Restaurant with thirty-foot ceilings? Mets museum? What up?
 
Next: Ryan Church had three ground-outs last night before striking out to end the game, leaving him 0-for-4 on the night.

I’m in the camp that believes Ryan Church’s concussions were handled poorly by the Mets–and I’ll get to my thinking in a moment–but in the Land of Put Up Or Shut Up (which is just across the border from Bring It, Turkey and shares a river with Yo Mama), Chachi was a beggar.  Shame. He was afforded rounds of  applause for each at bat.  Had his output matched Chowdah’s and had the Mets still come out with the win, I’d’ve been cool with it.
 
Next: I don’t think Jerry Manuel had a leg to stand on in discussing the dueling concussion experiences of Ryan Church and David Wright. Hell, Mr. Manuel, Chachi had TWO of them, and in both instances he was playing hard, and in one, he was playing hard during SPRING TRAINING.
 
A man who plays like that is going to want to go out there until he can’t anymore. It’s management’s job to protect him. But Chachi’s situation was less complex than the chest-thumping war cries between man and other man.  He’d suffered TWO CONCUSSIONS within three months.  If you sprain your ankle twice in three months, you take it easier.  If your right fielder knocks around his BRAIN twice in three months, you put the man on the DL.

I can’t believe I’ll pick a mild pun off the rack, but guys: it wasn’t like it was brain surgery.  It’s common sense.  Don’t listen to what the man says.  He’s not Superman.  His body slid, semi-conscious, past second base after hitting Yunel Escobar’s knee.  I was watching as it happened and I grabbed my OWN head.

Furthermore, what does bringing all this up AGAIN get you but more aggravation and a series of day-job writers thinking your organization is rife with either incompetence or bullheadedness, from the trainers to the management to the press office?  It’s the communications equivalent of intentionally walking a batter to get to the pitcher’s spot: you’ve only bought yourself more trouble.

Next: I’m awed and humbled that the derisive “Laaaaarry! Laaaaarry!” chant made it across the alley.  This is the first Mets-Braves game I’ve been to all year, and hearing it made me feel truly, TRULY at home.  No louder was it than when Omir Santos grounded to third on a fielder’s choice, and Jones bobbled it or couldn’t get a grip on it or was doing Chowdah a favor or what, and the ninth run scored.

I didn’t get a shot of it, but it appeared Larry gave a defeated shrug at the end of the play.  Delightful.

He and Church were 0-for-8 on the night.  That’s about as historic as a ten-hit Met inning, considering the team’s status at present.

Next: Anderson Hernandez.

anderson hernandez injury.jpg
I’d just gotten through talking about how Jose Reyes, Ramon Martinez, and Alex Cora were on the DL, and how it would behoove Anderson Hernandez to watch himself.  And down he went.

It was about at this point during the game that, aside from derisive tomahawk chops and exhortations for the free-swinging to stop in the later innings, I decided to keep my fool mouth shut.

(For the record, I also called Adam LaRoche’s solo home run.  The Wife can confirm that one, too. 

Listen, I don’t report these things because I’m an ego-maniacal train wreck.  I report these things because I find them scary.  Though as my seatmate Mike reminded me, “Calling a home run off Oliver Perez is like calling the sun’s rise in the East tomorrow morning.”  Fair enough.

By the way, have you seen The Wife?  Here she is:

the field.jpg

That’s her head on the left.)

Next: Derek Lowe.

derek lowe injury.jpg

Someone shouted “Rub some dirt on it!” 

Probably would’ve helped, but here’s the video as captured by SNY, and the quote as caught by ESPN:

“That had nothing to do with it,” Lowe said, referring to his pinkie. “I was under every single ball flat.”

Very well, Mr. Lowe.  You had a crappy night and your defense up the middle left a bit to be desired.  I thank you for adding ten hits in an inning to my list of Mets History Witnessed, which includes Santana’s One Hundredth Win and Sheffield’s Five Hundredth Homer.  Cheers.

Next: Oliver Perez.

perez card.jpgC’mon, guy.  Do you HAVE to look so goofy?  Shouldn’t your hands be folded on a desk with a large vinyl reproduction of a library-scape hanging behind you?  Perhaps with “2009” in white-on-black hanging upper left?  Criminy.

To be fair, he walked only one ba
tter, and struck out four, and the Matt Diaz pitch looked from above to be a mistake, and I claim responsibility for the LaRoche home run.  My question, really, is whether he was pulled after 78 pitches because of the tweak his knee got in the fourth inning, or because runners were starting to get on again as of said fourth.

I’m guessing a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B.

I will get off his case only enough to say he hustled to cover first, and he had me beat on the number of walks he issued.  Whether his stuff was better than the Braves’ or whether the Braves were godawful… hell, how subjective IS this sport, anyway?

Here’s how subjective, both in amount and true nature: I was all ready to take a look at Derek Lowe’s record and Oliver Perez’s record, set them side by side, with no-decisions factored, and figure out just where the truth lay on who would be the better Met.  But the Braves have not had NEARLY the spades of injury trouble the Mets have had.  They’ve not had the same schedule.  Hell, from what I see on his game log, he’s made each of his starts.  Perez hasn’t.  How do you reasonably compare the two without major question?

The only anecdotal way I know is this: from what I’ve seen, Derek Lowe throws first-pitch strikes.  Oliver Perez oftentimes does not.  It has been my experience that pitchers who throw first-pitch strikes get into less trouble, and last longer in games, than those who do not.  Those who do not leave us with men named Elmer Dessens, and the ridiculous tactic of berating said Elmers for the purpose of reverse-psychology-derived gains.

That’s all I’ve got.

Lastly: Martin Prado–what’s going on with Martin Prado?  I haven’t checked that had because, well, it’s Martin Prado and I care about Martin Prado just about as well as I can throw Martin Prado, which is to say not all that much.  I care in that he’s a fellow human being and I don’t wish him any particular harm, but no one on the internet-box can tell me what his deal is with these headaches.  Anyone know?  Swine flu?  The bends?  Restaurant?  Mets museum?  What up?

Yes, lots of injury last night.  Lots of potential for injury.  We ran like hell for the Chernobyl-style stairwells from the Promenade overhang; we shoved past rubberneckers on the stairs in the rotunda; we ran like hell from the rotunda to the subway entrance, which was a SEAL-type operation in an of itself (I got to tell someone I “broke left” when running the after-action report). 

leaving citi.jpgYou know it’s bad when the best I can do for my post-victory photo of the park is a runaway shot from the 7 Super-Express, above.

Hell, Big Man was in rare form and got a T-shirt for his ad-hoc mascot trouble:

section 528 t-shirt.jpgAs I’ve said in the past: great for branding.  Keep that liver running, my friend.

But a tremendous afternoon and evening at the park.  I’m almost sad I can’t head out tonight, but I’m bloody exhausted, and I think I hurt my shoulder, having run full-bore into a man wearing a “Texas Longhorns” T-shirt while trying for cover.  He did indeed apologize.

As for me, I’m scheduled for a side session on Friday.

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.

The other of my two roommates returned from extended travels last night, and in deference to his Red Sox fandom, the house flipped between the end of the Boston game against the Detroit Tigers, and the Mets game against the Does-It-Really-Matter?.

We talked about what football team I should root for this coming season.  If I’m not mistaken, I may have mentioned on this blog that I’m a man without a team, finding it impossible to root for the Jets for the pain it would cause; being banned from rooting for a number of other teams because of friends’ Jets-framed ire.  No Giants, no Cowboys, no Patriots, no Steelers.  I mentioned the Kansas City Chiefs.  I bear no animus towards the Chiefs; I think, despite the Herm Edwards business–or perhaps because of it–the Jetstock hold no grudges, either.

Then it was revealed to me: “My cousin was a catcher for the Royals.”

“Really?  Who?”

“Brent Mayne.”

For those who don’t know, Brent Mayne was a catcher for the Mets back in 1996.  I barely remember him on the Mets because while Todd Hundley had a bit over six hundred plate appearances, Mayne had barely over 100.  He struck out almost as many times as he hit safely.  He did have a home run that year, which is more than I can say for some Metsies hanging about right now.

But he was quite a citizen for the Royals, and Wikipedia rides the rail (but is technically correct) with his trivia claim to fame, being the only MLB catcher in the 20th century to have won a game as a pitcher.  He had only 131 days left to do it.  Hell, from the most highly technical perspective, he only had 39 days left in that season to do it.  The year 2000 was in the 20th century.  Pennies are money.  The bus fumes are free.  Et cetera.

Fourth all-time in fielding percentage is a gaudy stat, as well.

He has a great blog to boot: see it here.  Spent most of the night reading through it.  HIGHLY recommended.

So, yeah, Brent Mayne.  My roommate’s story checks out.  Who the hell knew?

** 

I have to think he’d’ve done better than Omir Santos last night.  Or had the presence of mind to argue against walking Augie Ojeda in the bottom of the second.  Miguel Montero on second with two out and the score freshly 1-0.

In the bottom.  Of the SECOND.

Look, if the Mets are at the stage of baseball in 2009 where they can’t trust their onetime second act to Johan Santana to get Augie Ojeda to fly out, ground out, or otherwise show his human frailty, and save the pitcher’s spot for the bottom of the third, then I just don’t know what in the hell to do. 

And don’t give me playing the percentages.  Mike Pelfrey should, at this stage in his career, know how to get right and left and switch-hitters out, even in pressure situations.  And I’ll remind you again: it was the BOTTOM of the SECOND.  Yikes.

I don’t like getting this heated about something like this, but since the overmanaging of the game against the Cardinals on the 4th, I’ve worried about coming back to baseball and seeing only the heavy hand of Jerry Manuel.  I don’t like disliking the manager.  But now I do. 

What’s the score if you take away Doug Davis’s hit in the bottom of the second and replace the dessicated remains of Elmer Dessens for a competent relief pitcher in the seventh?  It’s a fallacy; a weather balloon could’ve crashed in the outfield and suspended the game.

But if I’m truly one of the last few with hope for the season, and the name of the game is seeing what they guys have got, then why not let Pelfrey pitch his way out of trouble, and send Elmer Dessens (a known and unhelpful quantity) back where he came from?

I won’t accuse Mr. Manuel of giving away the game.  At this point, I’m accusing him of doing a poor job with admittedly limited options at best, and at worst betraying an inside directive to see what parts of this team can do for 2010.

*Soon you’ll see a few new I-Can’t-Do-Without links on the sidebar.  I’ve come to Jesus and Baseball-Reference, as well as the MLB-based stats pages.  Thanks, CBS; it’s been real.

**Be well and rest easy, Mrs. Mantle, who passed away yesterday.  A true example of how strong men are backed up by stronger women.

***You don’t need help from me to visit Faith And Fear in Flushing, but a point Jason Fry makes in his post today bears browbeating.  He’s stated my case in a fashion with more concision than I have:

Doctor’s Orders: You could fold this one into the
question above, but let’s go over it anyway. The Mets either have
incompetent doctors or competent doctors whose recommendations are
ignored by incompetent baseball executives. It’s one or the other, and
neither answer is acceptable. The question isn’t why there have been so
many injuries, but why so many injuries seem to have been misdiagnosed
and/or mishandled, leaving guys sliding with excruciating slowness from
Day-to-Day to We Don’t Know to Being Re-evaluated to Finally on the DL
to Still on the DL to Out for the Year. The Mets have consistently
taken the field with 22 or 23 guys available, which is a dereliction of
someone’s duty. Fix. This. Now.

Yes, absolutely.  Fix it.  Who’ll accept a trade to the Mets (and we need the kind of players that can fetch no-trade clauses) with the mess this place looks like?  ::strangled, irritated, impotent groaning.::  Goddamn it.

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.

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

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.

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.