Monday, July 04, 2005

Turning The Tables

All season long, the Nationals have been winning games by doing the little things...recognizing that maybe their roster doesn't stack up to the rest of the division on paper, so they would have to play extremely sound and by the book baseball to have a chance to compete. They've done that up to this point. But today, it was the Mets that did the little things necessary to win, and the Nationals who fenced themselves in with mistakes.

Consider the second inning when Marlon Anderson stretched a single into a double by running hard out of the box and taking advantage of a lazy lapse by Jose Guillen. Anderson has done that all I've said with Chase Utley, it's sad when you notice a player running hard instead of not running hard, but Anderson has not only run hard but he's played a very smart and very alert brand of baseball. For a franchise that is still living with the stigma of Timo Perez dogging it to the plate during Game 1 of the Subway Series, and got a harsh reminder of the perils of stupidity from Carlos Beltran who took a pop-up for granted against the Marlins, Marlon Anderson is a breath of fresh air. In an age when there's been more of a consciousness about numbers, about digging deeper into stats by Billy Beane and the money ball types, about new types of stats like VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), and PECOTA (I only know Bill Pecota), it's nice to notice someone doing the things that don't necessarily show up in a boxscore. The Nats have been doing that all year long, and that's why they're on top of the division. Now don't get me wrong, stats have a place, and there is something to be said for them. For example, stats do reveal that Marlon Anderson should never, EVER bat 5th as he did in Willie Randolph's new fangled lineup, but now that I've seen him on a daily basis I'll take Marlon Anderson on my team any day of the week.

Also consider that Mike Cameron, batting leadoff, basically stole a run for the Mets in the ninth by stretching a single into a double on a jam shot up the middle, taking advantage of Brad Wilkerson's vapor lock. He wound up scoring on the next play, a Carlos Beltran single. As you recall this isn't the first time Cammy has played heads up, he tagged from first to second against Bernie Williams during part 2 of the Mets/Yankees series. Alert's a welcome sight, and it proves that the Mets' heads are right coming into this big series.

And let's give Jose Reyes credit for accepting his new role as the number 7 hitter. Reyes has always been good about doing whatever is asked of him; whether it be moving to second base, or being moved around in the batting order or what have you. He is another guy who doesn't have the OBP we'd all like to see, but there are little things he does that help win ball games, and those little things are so exciting that for now, I'm willing to put up with some of the free swinging and some of the mistakes he makes out of over-exuberance. And the 7th hole for now is perfect for the kind of hitter he is. Of course, wouldn't you know it, the day he bats 7th is the day he works deep into the eight pitch at bat in the 2nd and a 10 pitch at bat in the 5th. And that's not even mentioning the infield single and the stolen base which led to that winning run. And speaking of the winning run...

Jose Offerman has been a halfway decent pinch hitter for the Mets. I can take him off the bench at the plate. But someone needs to hide his glove. The bad news from today is Chris Woodward's injury which caused him to limp after hitting a ground ball (which almost cost the Mets big time as he couldn't get to second on the ensuing rundown which wound up costing them a run). If Woodward misses a chunk of time, it means we'll be treated to two heaping scoops of Offerman playing first base (think Dave Kingman without the bad attitude and the power). And while I'm on the subject, it was a left knee contusion that Woodward suffered. (editor's note: a contusion is a fancy word for bruise...but you knew that.) If you believed the crack announce team, it was either an achilles (Tom Seaver), a quad (Fran Healy), or a hamstring (I think that's what Keith Hernandez said). I know you guys are doctors just moonlighting as baseball announcers but please don't scare us half to death. I'm surprised one of those guys didn't start performing the Sacrament of the Sick.

But all in all, a big time win today. With Pedro Martinez on the hill tomorrow, things look up for at least the split. But as I've said, the Mets need more than that.


Anonymous said...

great stuff as always, though fun fact:
contusion is a super-nifty "look at me i'm smart" word for a bruise!

Metstradamus said...

I happen to like looking smart. It's easier than having to actually be smart. In any event, thanks Igor.

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

$175 for a Hank autograph!!!! That's just insane.

When I was getting guys on the ball it was like $5 to $9. I remember passing on Mantle because they were charging more for him, like $10 or $12 or something that seemed obscene at the time. I think the most I ever paid was $50 and that was for group of guys, a big chunk of the 1962 Mets.

Two Mets starters....sweet! The Yankee apologists are weeping.