Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oh and two and heading downhill

If I were New York Mets' pitcher Tom Glavine I'd be disgusted with both my teammates' and manager's performance in last night's 4-2 loss to the Phillies. Glavine pitched well enough to win, shutting out the Phils during his seven inning stint. But in the eighth, the Mets bullpen couldn't hold the lead and, in the tenth, it lost the game.

With both Heilman and Feliciano warmed up in the bullpen and Jimmy Rollins (a switch-hitter), Chase Utley, and Pat Burrell due to bat, Randolph sent Feliciano to the mound. Feliciano threw a pitch over the center of the plate that a decent high school hitter could have knocked out of the park. And Rollins, who's better than any high school hitter, did just that.

After getting Utley to ground out, Feliciano walked Burrell. I wouldn't even have let him face Burrell. Righties have an OPS of .644 against Feliciano. Feliciano walked Burrell. Then came a critical moment of the game. Charlie Manual, not known as a smart manager, outsmarted Randolph. He sent Shane Victorino in to run for Burrell.

The next batter, Ryan Howard, drove a ball to left that Moises Alou caught near the warning track. Randolph pulled Feliciano from the game and replaced him with Heilman to face Aaron Rowand. Almost everyone watching the game knew that Victorino was going to try to steal second. Heilman will never win an award for keeping runners close. Twice, Heilman threw to first. If he didn't throw to first on his next pitch, it was obvious Victorino was going to head to second. The situation screamed for a pitchout, however, both Lo Duca and Randolph must have been wearing earplugs. As Heilman delivered the pitch to the plate, Victorino took off toward second. Lo Duca's feeble throw hit the turf before the base and then skittered into center field, enabling Victorino to advance to third.

If I had any doubts about either Randolph's managerial ability or Lo Duca's defensive skill, I don't anymore. If Randolph can't even manage as well as Manuel, the Mets are in big trouble. And as for Lo Duca, not only did he show his defensive flaws, he also couldn't hit in a clutch situation. In the top of the sixth with runners on first and second, he grounded into a fielder's choice. All the Mets needed was a single from Lo Duca, and they would have won the game.

In the game, Lo Duca left four men on base. In 91 games this season he's driven in just 33 runs. The Mets need more offensive production from their starting catcher.

With Victorino now on third, Rowand hit a dribbler down the third base line that only Lady Luck prevented from crossing into foul territory. Victorino scored. Tie game.

In the top of the ninth, Lo Duca led off and struck out swinging. His contract expires after this season. The Mets shouldn't renew it.

The Mets sent Mota in to pitch the ninth. He retired the side in order.

In the top of the tenth, the Mets sent Reyes, Castillo, and Wright to bat, all of whom have hit pathetically this series. Combined, they're 1 for 26, with Wright and Castillo looking the worst at the plate. All three grounded out.

Then, in the tenth, Mota returned to the mound. He gave up a single to Victorino. With Howard coming to the plate, Randolph left Mota in the game. Righty against lefty.

I don't know if Wagner was available. If he were, he should have pitched against Howard. And if he weren't, I would rather have seen Schoenweis pitch against Howard. Anyone but Mota.

Howard slammed a Mota pitch into the left field seats. Game over. Glavine's seven innings of shutout ball got flushed down the toilet.

Mota's response to Howard's home run, as reported in the New York Post: "He's a power hitter, so I'm trying to go with my best." This season, Mota's best hasn't been good enough.


  1. Seems like as Jose Reyes goes, so goes the offense and Jose is cold. Lots of blame to go around, but an offense that can only manage 4 runs in two games at the bandbox in Philly is er uh offensive.

  2. Howard, how right you are. Last night was a disgrace, and I agree; if I were Glavine, I'd be putting in my papers for another locale next year.... lol.

    Or this year, if I could manage it, lol. Hee hee hee.

    But all kidding aside, the streakiness of this offense is what has me worried, especially its streakiness against the "better" NL teams.