Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Walk It Off

OK, so here is a query for the all knower of walkoffs; and this isn't trivia, this is something out of curiosity...

Chris Woodward said after Tuesday night's victory that it was the first time ever he hit a walkoff HR in his baseball life. Lenny Dykstra's walkoff HR in game 3 of the NLCS was Dykstra's first walkoff HR since Strat-O-Matic. Now there's gotta be someone back in the annals that was around for a long time and then hit his first ever walk-off HR with the Mets. Mark Simon comes up with some great stuff for his Met Walk-off blog, so I fully expect him to tie tonight's HR in with something super cool from the Mets distant past. I know he can do it (if he hasn't already), so don't forget to check Mark Simon's blog often!

OK, on to business at hand, observations from tonight's dramatic 3-1 11 inning victory over the Padres...

Was that really Mike Piazza batting sixth tonight behind David Wright? I did one of those cartoon double takes where I shake my head so violently that my brain hit my skull. I'll give it to Willie, what ever you may think of his X's and O's, Willie Randolph will eventually turn wrong to right. It took a while, but he finally got it done. The only question is: was this Randolph's decision, or was it Piazza who went to Randolph to take the pressure off him and request the change? My guess would be that it was Piazza, but we'll find out. And while the move didn't result in a lot of runs tonight, in the long run, it will make a difference if the Mets go on a big run. And what better time to do it than now...after San Diego, you have three with the mediocre Dodgers, and three in Denver against the putrid Rockies.

It was the first time since May 12th, 1993, Piazza's rookie season, that he's batted that low in the order. And here's why tonight's lineup change was for the best: There have been 55 at bats this season where Piazza has ended an inning with a runner on base...that does not count the 5 outs that Piazza made to end the game, and the two outs Piazza made before walkoffs. In those 55 at bats, batters that led off the following inning has an on base percentage of .400 (22 for 55) with two HR's. Most of those hits came courtesy of Cliff Floyd, and most of the outs came courtesy of Doug Mientkiewicz and Marlon Anderson. David Wright was starting to have success in that category before tonight's move.

Meanwhile, going back to Willie Randolph correcting mistakes, tonight we learned that "Dae Sung Koo" is Korean for "Doug Sisk". With all of the lefty batters you are going to face with San Diego, Los Angeles, and Colorado, would you leave yourself with Dae Sung Sisk as your only lefty in the pen? Braden Looper had to face 5 lefties in 6 batters tonight, which could have been a disaster, but to Looper's credit, he was very low maintenance tonight en route to the win. Koo faced three lefties tonight, got none of them out.

There seems to have been very specific moments that Willie Randolph has lost patience with people. Felix Heredia had his early on. Hitaway DeJean had his moment against Seattle. Danny Graves might have had two, against Pittsburgh (the Jack Wilson grannie) and against Atlanta (giving up a run in three batters and 75 seconds). Tonight may have been Koo's moment.

And in an observation which may not be totally unrelated to Koo, I get the feeling that Kaz Ishii has pitched his last game as a Met. The evidence is mounting...first, Ishii's turn is skipped because of the off-day yesterday. Then, the Mets don't announce their starters for the Dodger game. Finally, Aaron Heilman warms up during the seventh inning tonight. But after Looper's stint, where it would have made sense to warm up Heilman again in case the game goes long, Juan Padilla warms up, and was ready to start the non-existant 12th inning. Why else would Aaron Heilman not be made to come into the game, except that he's starting on Friday, and the warm up tosses in the seventh was part of his off day throwing schedule in anticipation of returning to starting?

With players getting DFA'd left and right such as Alan Embree of the Red Sox, Heilman perhaps getting ready to start, and Steve Trachsel getting ready to return, do the Mets really have a choice but to release Ishii? He's not a long reliever...he's not a short reliever...and he's proven that he's not much of a starter right now. The tea leaves are coming together for Ishii, and the leaves are spelling out "D.F.A." And if I was Mr. Koo, I wouldn't look into New York real estate right now either.

And if I were Royce Ring, I wouldn't get too comfortable in Norfolk.

(Editor's note: Of course, after I go on and on about Ishii being gone and Heilman returning to the rotation, it looks like Ishii is going to pitch Thursday against Jake Peavy. Ishii has outdueled Dontrelle Willis this season, but I get the feeling that the Mets are almost conceding this game, and would be looking towards the Dodger series with Victor Zambrano, who originally was pitching against Peavy, going against Jeff Weaver on Friday, and Pedro pitching the Saturday game. I'm still going to say that Ishii will not make the 2005 finish line as a Met, but he has at least another start in him. And I still say Dae Sung Sisk is in trouble.)

***

Barry Larkin making a comeback?

A more likely scenario to replace the anemic Cristian Guzman includes Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo. Rafael Furcal would be intriguing, but the Nats and Braves would never trade now. Would the Nats get Furcal for 2006? That would seem entirely possible.

***

The A.J. Burnett deal to Baltimore seemingly hit a snag.

***

Billy Wagner is a better fit for the "win now" Red Sox than for the "win now but keep an eye on the future" Mets.

***

And finally, I agree with how you've voted in the poll so far, and I'm ready to officially agree with Andrew. If the Mets were to trade the farm, let it be for the 25-year-old Adam Dunn, and not the 31-year-old Mike Sweeney. Power hitters in Shea scare me, especially those who strike out a lot like Dunn...but if you can move either him or Floyd to first base without there being a federal investigation, then it would be worth it.

7 comments:

Mark said...

Bah, you can keep Woodward, he was a bum for my Jays. I'll take the O-Dog anyday, though I wouldn't mind if he'd step it up at the plate a bit.

Metstradamus said...

Woodward has been a pleasant surprise for the Mets...our new Joe McEwing. Maybe he was just better suited to being a super sub rather than an everyday player. He's certainly won us over in Flushing.

Shari said...

Dae Sung Sisk- thats hilarious, I have just been calling him Mr. "Krap"-and the fact that he wears Keith Hernandez's number drives me crazy-in fact everytime they issue any piece of crap his number it makes me want to puke.

metswalkoffs said...

Ugh, you set the bar a little too high for me...I had something already written for this morning, and I sort of was able to tie it in at the very end...

Thanks for throwing down the gauntlet...lemme see what I can do, maybe for later in day or tomorrow...

Metstradamus said...

Great job Mark, I knew you would tie Woodward in somehow!

Shari, I find it hysterical that Hernandez goes nuts that 17 is being worn by a reliever..."That's a position player number!" Didn't Jeff McKnight wear 17? Yikes!!!!

Shari said...

Hi Metsradamus- This is really the first year after the parade o' crap that has donned my idol's number since he's left that I have heard him actually be vocal about it. In all fairness he was the teams FIRST captain and a great player-maybe not hall of fame numbers but still and all he symbolized the turn around of the franchise from laughing stock to champions & I feel if they don't want to retire his number complely then at least be a little more selective as to who they give it to. If Koo was a decent reliever I don't think anyone including Keith would have a problem with him wearing 17.

Metstradamus said...

Same way I felt when they gave Gary Carter's 8 to Dave Gallagher. Come on!