Saturday, October 13, 2007

Give Maz a chance

It's been a few weeks since the Mets ship grounded in site of land (i.e., the NL East Championship), and the team hasn't done anything to refloat it.

Sure, they said that Willie Randolph would return for another year, but they did that without even requiring him to review the game films for the season's last 17 games so he could learn from his mistakes.

And they've kept Rick Peterson as one of the ship's first mates in spite of Billy Wagner's disparaging remarks about the way Peterson interacted with pitchers.

Peterson had a lot of success when he coached the A's pitchers, but hasn't been able to emulate that success with the Mets.

In brief, the Mets pitchers appear to need better coaching than they've been getting, especially last season. And a man's become available who, based on his track record, seems able to do that.

Leo Mazzone.

On Friday the Baltimore Orioles fired him.

During Mazzone's two seasons with the O's, its pitchers failed to put up stellar numbers. In fact, their pitchers' stats ranked them 29th. The O's staff posted a 5.17 ERA and walked more batters (696) than did any other major league club. Only one team's pitching staff ranked lower than the O's, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

So why would I rather have Mazzone than Rick Peterson? J.C. Bradbury convinced me.

In his article, The Mazzone Effect Revisited, Bradbury pointed out that under Mazzone's 14-year tutelage, Braves "starters and relievers pitched worse both before and after playing for Mazzone." The same can't be said for Mets pitchers during Peterson's tenure.

So here's my wish that I hope a little bird whispers into Jeff Wilpon's ear: Give Mazzone a chance to repeat the success he had in Atlanta. Ignore his past two seasons with the O's — they were an aberration — and bring to the Big Apple the man who helped shape the pitching careers of Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.

P.S. Don't worry about Peterson. He won't stay unemployed long. Baltimore has an opening.

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