When you put too many balls in the middle of the plate, that same sleeping animal will put its fangs right into your ERA.
Sometimes, one ball down the middle is one ball too many...and Oliver Perez's meatball to Carlos Guillen woke up the sleeping animal as the Mets lost to the Tigers 8-7 on FOX's game of the week.
(The good part about the Mets being FOX's game of the week is that you know that FOX wanted a certain other pitcher to make his 2007 debut on their network...instead, he made his debut on a Saturday for another television outlet. It's like the spoiled debutant going to the prom with the average joe while the football star hits the town with the winner of the science fair...and the debutant is hanging out by the punch bowl all night seething while trying to sidle her way to the football star to make people believe that they're really together. Good for FOX.)
Ollie's subpar outing doesn't worry me as much as Guillermo Mota's awful performance. His implosion was such that it actually provided the Wilpons a blueprint on how to do the same to Shea Stadium in 2008. Mota's ERA is 8.10 now, and more than that, every game he's pitched in has been a Mets loss. So basically, even when he's pitching well, the Mets don't trust him to hold a lead...there are other pitchers on the pecking order when the Mets are ahead, such as Heilman (let's give credit where credit is due with two scoreless innings today), Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano. Mota isn't quite the human white flag (that honor goes to Aaron Sele these days), but Mota is the guy who's trusted with a one or two run deficit, which is kind of like going up to someone, handing him the lint in your pocket, and asking him to look after it while you go to the bathroom.
Not exactly the pinnacle of responsibility.
I would like to touch on this whole Paul Lo Duca/Cole Hamels situation if I may. Lo Duca, as you remember, flipped the bat mightily after he hit the third of consecutive home runs for the Mets on Thursday. Undertaker also had a little hop in him as he crossed the plate. Hamels, who was touched up for the three dingers, had this to say:
"When I strike a guy out, I walk off. I don't fist pump. I don't try to show up their team," Hamels said. "You get to the major leagues, that's where you're supposed to show your class...It was a big moment. Maybe the excitement got the best of him. There was a lot of game left, as we saw."I'm not going to even touch on the fact that a guy starting his 36th game in the majors is telling a 10 year veteran how to play the game.
Will Lo Duca pay?
"I have to be careful here," Hamels said, grinning evilly. "Let's just say, it could have been a mistake on his part."
To be fair, Lo Duca has complained in the past about Alex Rodriguez admiring a home run against Alay Soler last season. And I will say this, when Lo Duca flipped the bat on Thursday, I thought he was going to get thrown at in his next at-bat. He came up in the eighth inning with nobody on and two men out, and it would have been an opportune time for a brushback pitch...and dare I say you could make a case that it would have been fair. But guess what, it didn't happen. Your opportunity to respond in an honorable way is lost.
Cole Hamels is like the drunk guy at the party that comes up to you, gets in your face, and tells you repeatedly that he's going to kick your ass, and the method in which he'll do it. Well in the hood, if you spend too much time talking about it, and not enough time putting your theory into practice, you're going to come up against the wrong hombre...the guy who will punch first and ask questions later. Paul Lo Duca is that guy.
Cole, you're a great pitcher. But you're no Nat King...so don't sing it.
Just bring it.