Saturday, May 20, 2006

Episode II: Attack Of The Roller Coasters...And Make It A Double

So was today the floor wax, or was today the dessert topping?

Huh?

There was an old Saturday Night Live skit years and years ago, where two people are arguing whether the substance in the spray can was a floor wax or a dessert topping. Chevy Chase, in one of the last years that he was funny...in anything...appeared to settle the dispute.

Allow me, during this trying time, to be Chevy.

So who was to blame for today's meltdown? Who's to blame for plunging the Mets from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows? Was it the floor wax? Was it the dessert topping?

First, Willie Randolph. Let's call Willie the floor wax. I got called out today to basically rip Willie apart in today's edition of this little blog, and he does deserve to be questioned, if not ripped. Hindsight, yes. But Billy "Country Time" Wagner had no business being in this game when he was...day game after a night game...in a non-save situation. If you bring your closer into a game in a non-save situation, and he makes it a save situation because he doesn't have it as Wagner did today...then what do you do? That situation came to fruition today. Willie was stuck with replacing a lefty with a lefty in Feliciano to face Johnny Damon, which was to me, an embarrassment. And add that to the fact that Wagner feels he's being overworked, then you have a recipe for disaster putting him in for a day game after a night game. Now if Feliciano or, heaven forbid (drench those last two words in sarcasm for me, would ya?), Duaner Sanchez starts the inning, then Wagner has to come in for the save and he blows it, then it's on Wagner.

But this should be on Wagner, the dessert topping in this scenario. This isn't a Yankee lineup that contains Sheffield, Matsui, or Posada. All Billy Wagner had to do, even after allowing hits to Giambi and Cano which sandwiched a walk to Rodriguez, was retire Melky Cabrera and Kelly Stinnett. Getting those two out doesn't require 24 hours of rest. And it doesn't require careful pitching.

He walked them both. Inexcusable.

This was the point that should have been obvious to take Wagner out...at least that's what I thought at the time (see, this rant isn't completely based on hindsight). Instead, Wagner cashed in a couple of his experience/tenure chips to earn himself one more batter, Bernie Williams. And he hits him to force in another run. Now I thought this was a blessing in disguise because Bernie, I'm convinced, would have tied the game with a hit. But now, Willie had to replace Wagner with Feliciano, completing the backwards progression (can you have backwards progression?) of bullpen usage. And even though Feliciano did what he could by almost getting the double play, the Mets, Randolph, and Wagner, got exactly what they deserved today. They deserved to have Mariano even the Sandman score by striking out the side for the save, just as Wagner struck out the side for his victory last night.

So is it the floor wax, or is it the dessert topping?

My answer to you now is the same as Chevy's was thirty years ago: "You're both right."

Randolph deserves the blame for reminding us of Art Howe. Wagner deserves the blame for reminding us of Braden Looper.

You're both right.

7 comments:

Brian White said...

Here's what really worries me: if he can't come back after a short outing the night before and get his guys, what are we going to do in the playoffs?

Mr. T said...

Let's just pray that Willie learns something from these errors in judgment.
Wagner's got to come out after walking Cabrera and Stinnett... no question.

G-Fafif said...

Wow, Mark Grace overcame a lot of competition to make this hate list. Not that he doesn't deserve to keep company with such a rogues' gallery, but if he had been crowded out by other more obvious villains, it would have been understandable. Thanks for giving him his due.

ajsmith said...

When I saw that Wagner was coming into the game - 4 run lead, he pitched the night before (and this was a day game), he's got the finger problem, IT'S MAY for chrissakes and its a long season in which we're going to need him fresh - and rubber-armed Sanchez had thrown 11 or 12 pitches in the 8th, I cursed under my breath.

When the meltdown began, I cursed a bit louder.

When Willie leaves him in after he clearly doesn't have it AND he's already thrown like 30+ pitches and is out of gas, my neighbor next door must've thought George Bush himself was on TV from the sound and volume of the F-bombs eminating from my apartment.

Yes, Wags sucked yesterday, but this loss is on Willie, no ifs, ands or buts. And if we end up in a 1 or 2-run game in the 9th today and blow it because there is no fresh Wags ready in the 'pen... well, that'll be another one on Wille. And even if Wags had gone 1-2-3, protecting a 4-run lead, and was not available today and we blew a save... same thing.

For the life of me, I don't understand what (or of) the guy's thinking sometimes. The talent level on this team will protect him... no shot that he gets fired anytime soon, as the Mets will undoubtedly win more than they lose. But the guys is in over his head in the job.

4-run lead in a day game, your closer - with the finger problem - went last night, c'mon, this is managing 101. And Willie's failing it.

ironhands said...

Part III: The Revenge of Country Time in Sqweeze City USA

jdon said...

wagner frightens the hell out of me. looper scared me because he had no talent. wagner scares me because he has no brain. no veteran who throws 98 should allow 4 runs in an inning. throw your fastball down the middle at that speed and you will get 3 outs before you give up 4 runs. wagner is an emotional basket case with a 10 cent head. should be a fun season

Anonymous said...

You're always entertaining. How about your own talk radio sports show?
Brooklyn Mets' fan