Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gabe the Babe.


When Oliver Perez hits the first batter he faces, you know that nothing good is coming. It's either Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, and today it was Mr. Hyde. Ollie's line today: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 3 BB, 1 HBP. Yech. The highlight of his day? Backing up an ill-advised errant throw home by Carlos Delgado. Jorge Sosa didn't help him much, giving up 2 runs of his own, but the rest of the pen actually looked very good.

Gabe Kapler has completely forgotten that he is a replacement level player, going 3-4 with a homer, a double and 3 RBI's on the days, bringing his average up to .423 with 4 HR's. Maybe he'll start against righties now, too. Both of these losses to Milwaukee are probably wins without Kapler's timely hits.

So how do you rack up 14 hits and still lose a ballgame? You hit in to double plays in 5 CONSECUTIVE INNINGS. I've never seen anything like that, and to be honest, I was very *ahem* unsure about a couple of those out calls at first, particularly the ones on Church and Schneider, but I haven't seen a highlight, so who knows. To be fair, my seats at Shea aren't far from first base, and are in line with the 1B umpire's view, and they looked safe.

That doesn't, however, mean that there is any excuse for hitting ground balls right at infielders with men on first and less than 2 outs in 5 consecutive innings, and can somebody tell me why Brady Clark was running on contact from 3rd with no one out in the bottom of the 8th? If he holds up there, worst-case scenario is men on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out for David Wright, and after Delgado flied out to end that 8th inning rally, Clark's being thrown out at home proved the dagger for the Mets.

Some other bones to pick, though they didn't end up hurting the Mets in the game:

1. Why did Delgado make that throw home in the 1st? If you don't recall the situation, Carlos caught a pop up in foul territory not far from first, and as usual the runner at 3rd bluffed that he was going. Rather than run the ball in, like any highschool player would do, Delgado flings the ball in to Schneider, and it gets away. If Ollie isn't perfectly positioned to back that ball up, a run scores. It's just another example among many in the early days of this season of something far less than fundamental baseball.

2. What in the world was Willie thinking with his pitching changes today? He brought Scott Schoenweis in to start the 7th, (who for whatever reason I've come to like) and Show got the pinch-hitter Joe Dillon out on 2 pitches. Instead of letting him stay in to face Jason Kendall, who hit .242 last year and has hit 4 home runs in the last 3 seasons, who Ned Yost bats 9th, behind the pitcher, Willie goes and gets Joe Smith. Look, you can like Schoenweis or not, but when you're chasing 3 runs, as they were at the time, how do you go to your 3rd reliever in the 7th inning after the guy you have in there has thrown 2 pitches? If it were Ryan Braun up, maybe, but it was Jason Kendall.

So Smith finishes the 7th, giving up 1 unearned run because David Wright can't throw a baseball (even though Delgado got the error officially) and Feliciano comes in to pitch the 7th. Feliciano retires Fielder, and whaddaya know, that's it for Pedro. Wilie wants Heilman after Feliciano has faced 1 batter. Was he tired? Doubtful, as he had only pitched 2 innings all year. Heilman comes in, and the pitcher's spot is due to leadoff the bottom of the inning, so Willie double-switches in Brady Clark, when anyone in their right mind knew that a righty would be coming in to pitch the 8th for Milwaukee; the Brewers have burned their only lefty RP. As it happened Clark got a hit, but I always want Marlon Anderson facing a righty over Clark. So now we're in the 8th inning, and Willie has just used his 5th relief pitcher, now chasing 2 runs, and his hot-hitting 6 hitter in right field, Church, is out of the game for the pitcher's spot.

That all to me just reeked of horrible mismanagement, and while it didn't eventually hurt us today, other than having Anderson bat instead of Church in the 9th, those kind of moves will lose you games. Mind you, I've never been a Willie hater, but I have questioned his ability to handle pitching changes and double switches.

On a brighter note, congrats to David Wright on his 100th career home run in the 1st inning today, his 2nd in as many at-bats.

Off day tomorrow, and we can only hope to beat up on the Nats, hopefully with Reyes back and Duaner Sanchez on board, and come out of this homestand over .500.

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