Saturday, April 14, 2007

Golden Years

Score another one for the old guys.

On Thursday, it was Tom Glavine with win number 292. Tonight, it's Julio Franco (who will be 49 when this season is over) getting the game winning pinch hit as the Mets defeated the suddenly spunky Nationals 3-2.

The amazing thing about Franco's pinch hit was that it was through a shift normally designed for a guy like Carlos Delgado...except that the Delgado shift is designed to go after a guy's strength, while for Franco, it's designed to dare him to try the pull the ball, which let's face it, he can't do anymore. The sad thing is that while a guy like Delgado can beat the shift by say, lay down a bunt or drive the ball the other way (as he did to drive in the second run tonight), Franco can only hope to get around on an off speed pitch to get that ball down the line. Franco's bat speed isn't what it once was to begin with, and the way he holds the bat, which is way over his head, gives him even more of a disadvantage in getting around on a pitch. So sadly, at his realistic best, Franco does what he does tonight which is ground the ball up the middle for a base hit. But there's a fine line between grounders up the middle for base hits, and grounders to shortstop for 6-4-3's. We'll see if this keeps up.

But for now, Franco remains the feel good story of the new millennium...mainly because when he hits, I feel good.

***

Mike Pelfrey looked as good as you can expect from a fifth starter. Got a little wild in his five and 2/3's innings. Somehow, on Friday the 13th, Pelfrey developed not a fear of the day, but a phobia of Dmitri Young (commonly called Carocamuraphobia...trust me, if you know Latin, that's really funny), walking him twice. But he wasn't helped by the umpires, who took their sweet time getting out to the mound for whatever reason before the game started, forcing Pelfrey to return to the dugout because there were no umpires to give him a freakin' baseball. Good job, blue.

***

Good thing Ryan Zimmerman wasn't due up in the ninth for Billy Wagner, eh?

***

If you're scouting at home, scout this: There might be no way to pitch Jose Reyes these days that will keep him off the basepaths. But teams are trying to neutralize his effects by pitching Paul Lo Duca more carefully. Twice now in the last three games, teams have been pitching the Undertaker more inside pitches, forcing him to pull the ball and keeping him from moving Reyes around to third base as he likes to do. Something tells me that Lo Duca is going to have a tougher time with bat control this season.

***

And finally, just a thought, but supposedly there's a huge nor'easter coming on Sunday. Any reason why we can't move Sunday's game up to Saturday? Give Saturday's ticket holders a free game, and in the meantime, let Sunday's ticket holders exchange their tickets to any game they want...even (gasp) tickets to a higher tiered game (since Nationals games are probably puce colored or something like that). This way, nobody has to squeeze in an extra game later in the season when everyone is tired.

Baseball would probably argue that since it's a division game, it's just as easy to schedule the game in September (17th-19th) because a division rival will certainly visit again...and with the September call-ups, fatigue will probably not be a factor. But why make the Mets and Nationals play 14 games in 12 days in September, when you can bite the bullet now and have a built in day-off the next day?

I realize baseball has bigger issues on their faulty scheduling plate like, why the hell are there games scheduled in April in cities notorious for lake effect snow. But can't the powers that be think a little outside the box when it comes to matters like these? Or is that too much to ask of a group that let an All-Star game end in a tie?

Just a thought from a person famous for not having any.

2 comments:

jabair said...

ever since lo duca hit smoltz out, he has been hitting lazy fly balls to left center.

whats more frustrating is that beltran isnt really having too many meaningful at bats.

Mike said...

I'm surprised teams don't play 5 infielders (3 on the right side including a very deep second baseman, one up the middle, and one on the left) and two outfielders (one in center, one in right) against Franco, then throw him nothing but heat.

I think he' GIDP once every three ABs.

Anyhow, enough of that: he came through last night big time. Hell, in 4 plate appearences this year, he has an RBI single, a Sac Fly, and two walks. Maybe some of the other guys should be taking notes.

* * *

Oh, and because I haven't mentioned him in 16 seconds, it's time: Jose Reyes.

I plan to drop his name into every conversation at least twice for the next six months: politics; work; in bed with my wife; at weddings, bar mitzvahs & funerals; everywhere. All the Reyes All The Time.