Saturday, April 11, 2009

Scrapped Is The New Battled

When a reporter asked Snoop Manuel what he thought of the Mets' fight after the game, I immediately thought "uh-oh".
"I thought we ..."
Oh no, don't say it.
"I thought we scrapped."
Whew, that was close. Because the last word I want to hear after losing on a walk-off hit in the ninth is the b-word.

Not that b-word.

No no, Art Howe's b-word. You know, battled. Whether you scrap, or you battle, a loss is a loss is a loss. So I'm not sure that scrapping is going to make me feel any better than battling. I was, however, impressed with the big hit that Jeremy Reed came up with to tie the game at 4-4 in the ninth. Big hits were at a premium last season, and their horrible RISP number tonight mean they're at a premium again this season (lovely). But the fact that Reed got a huge one can mean only one thing:

Happy trails Marlon. Write if you get work (and save your former team $400K in the process).

Yeah, there weren't enough big hits to go around, and a whole bunch of people are going to point to Luis Castillo ... because it's easy, and because it's good for ya' too. Not to be a shill for Luis, but I'll say this: That pitch he took in the seventh inning? That was a good six inches inside, and it started about a foot and a half. For me, that didn't even fall under the category of "too close to take". I don't understand how you could call that a strike, personally.

But here's what worries me about Castillo: The swings that he's taking look like they're moving through the zone, that he has bat speed. But the balls he's hitting, whether they're on the ground or in the air, die. What looks like a gapper off the bat is an easy fly ball. What looks like a screamer up the middle rolls harmlessly into Hanley Ramirez's glove. Now I don't condone cheating, but nobody's checking bats anymore (they're too busy checking urine tests.) If he's got some super balls or some wine cork lying around ...

(The previous passage was satire. Cheating is bad. Metstradamus does not condone cheating. Bad blogger.)

Well, back at 'em tomorrow, with Livan Hernandez on the hill at 6PM. Of course, you can't see the first hour because Flo Rida is having a post game concert (get it? Flo? Rida? Florida? And it's Miami! How clever!!!), and he has to get home at a decent hour so the game has to start during FOX's exclusivity window, and will be joined in process by SNY at 7PM.

Of course by then, the Marlins could be up 11-3 so maybe this whole blackout thing could work out in your favor ... but Livan will still have to pitch eight innings and run his pitch count up to 305 to save the bullpen, so even this abbreviated game could be quite interesting.

And apropos of nothing, I've had quite enough of Emilio Bonifacio.


The other big story is John Maine starting and having a very soothing outing tonight. It will be nice to have only one starter to be worried about rather than two.

And speaking of Oliver Perez, I have a feeling we're going to spend the bulk of April and May linking Perez with the guy who the Mets should have signed in his place, Derek Lowe. But if Ollie's season keeps going the way it has, then forget about Lowe ... Perez is going to start being compared to Kris Benson. Remember Kris Benson? Of course you do. Well, at least you remember his wife, who couldn't save him earlier in the day on Friday. Benson was absolutely torched by the Tigers today ... giving up eight runs (seven earned) in five innings, striking out three and walking two. His ERA on the season: a healthy 12.60.

The only thing separating Benson from Perez, basically, is two thirds of an inning, so take the following punchline with a grain of salt. Still, Benson's ERA, bad as it is, is a full four runs lower than Perez, at 16.62. And Benson's coming off what ... fifteen surgeries on his elbow and shoulder? Let that protect you and comfort you like a heavy blanket, a fireplace, and a warm cup of cocoa on a January night.

Kris Benson! Four runs!!!


Unser said...

Here's what worries me about Castillo - he doesn't look like he has a clue of what he wants to do at the plate. He looks like he's up there to walk, bunt or to just not do any harm. Yes, that pitch was probably inside, but the ump was calling it a strike all night. And it was in an RBI situation. He's got to be much more agressive in RBI situations, especially hitting 8th with the pitcher's spot on deck. It looks to me, so far, like not much has changed for Castillo since last year.

Bonafacio - I predict and Endy Chavez-like trajectory. Lots of speed, no hit.

Anonymous said...

This team nauseates me in the same way they did in 2007 and 2008. And we're only 4 game in. We have starters who can't give it an honest go and pitch more than 5 innings, middle relievers who'll be burnt to a crisp by May, and deer-in-the-headlights hitters, Jose Reyes trying to be a third-spot hitter when he's a leadoff man, and David Wright just doesn't get it. Castillo should be the least of our problems. I don't like him. I don't like his approach in the 8-hole. But he's not the reason this team just chokes and chokes and chokes. And I wish that Jerry Manuel would stop praising the unpraiseable. We're looking at a .500 team unless there's major changes on the horizon.

Anonymous said...

Overreact much?

Anonymous said...

No, 3:40 pm. We lost 2 of 3 to Florida. Again. Ad nauseum. You're supposed to Pac-Man these games up and play .500 vs. the elite teams if you're a contender. We're not.