- I have to discuss the events last night surrounding our #7. In case you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours or changed the channel before it happened, Jose Reyes hit a ball down the 3rd-base line in the top of the 8th that he must have thought was going to go foul. He stood there at home plate, the ball stayed fair, the Astros 3rd baseman jogged halfway to 1st like a pitcher after fielding a comebacker, and threw Reyes out as he was still standing by home plate. When the Mets took the field for the bottom half of the inning, Jose found himself on the bench. That's fine with me - Reyes had a pretty significant brainfart, and Willie needed to send a message about the unacceptability of that kind of behavior. However, the news that some teammates think Reyes should be benched tonight, and that Julio Franco (yes, the same Julio Franco who jogged to 1st base in the 9th inning on Sunday when running hard might have meant the difference between game over and Reyes coming to the plate with the tying runs on base) plans to give him a talking-to, is somewhat disturbing to me. What Reyes did on Tuesday in Colorado might have been lack of hustle, but this was just a stupid mistake, and one he's already been punished for. I don't see what pointing fingers at a guy who's been one of the best players on this team all year is going to accomplish, and benching him to prove a point seems incredibly shortsighted, especially given the slim division lead.
- Mike Pelfrey fell to 0-7 on the year, but just like in his start against Philadelphia last Sunday, I was encouraged by what I saw from him in terms of stuff and plan of attack, and once again he had one bad inning in which he was victimized by some sloppy defense from David Wright (who tagged out Brad Ausmus's imaginary friend trying to steal 3rd base, but missed Ausmus) and a home run that was a product of its environment (between that ridiculously short porch in left field and the flagpole-clad hill in center, Minute Maid Park has to be the poster child for ill-advised manufactured quirks in the new breed of ballparks). While he hasn't pitched well overall in his time in the major leagues this year (of his 8 starts for the Mets this year, last night's was only the 2nd in which he struck out more batters than he walked), he's had very little in the way of run support (the Mets have scored 3 runs or less in 7 of his 8 starts). If the Mets had managed to score at their normal levels in a couple of his starts and had been able to get him a win, I think fans would be a lot less panic-stricken about his performance thus far.
- Left field is position #7 on the scorecard, and thus far the Mets have started 7 different players in left this year, more than at any other non-pitcher position. The 3 who have started there most frequently - Moises Alou, Endy Chavez, and Carlos Gomez - are all currently out with injuries, Ben Johnson appeared overmatched in his brief call-up, Damion Easley is an infielder, and the less said about David Newhan and Ricky Ledee, the better. Now that Lastings Milledge is back playing in the minors after missing 2 months with a foot injury, he needs to be called up as soon as possible.
- Tonight's starting pitcher for the Astros, Woody Williams, could fall to 7 games below .500 for the year if the Mets beat him. I'm really not sure what the Astros were thinking when they gave him a 2-year, $12.5 million deal this offseason. Not only is he enough of a flyball pitcher that he gave up 1.3 home runs per 9 innings in each of the last 2 seasons despite pitching his home games at Petco, he's also had a reverse platoon split throughout his career. A flyball pitcher who is worse against righties than lefties in a ballpark where it's just 315 feet down the left-field line? Now that's a brilliant idea if I've ever heard one!
- The Braves have won 7 of their last 10 games. I do not like this at all.
- While the All-Star rosters are far from perfect, I feel that the managers are getting more blame than they deserve, as there's not much they can do. Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland each got to pick just 7 players, had to pick exactly 4 position players and 3 pitchers, and had to make sure that every team had at least one representative (in other words, some of their 7 picks had to go to players on teams that didn't get anyone in on the fan or player ballots). La Russa does deserve every bit of criticism he's getting for picking Freddy Sanchez as the Pirates representative instead of Ian Snell, and a roster with Snell and Hanley Ramirez would be better than one with Sanchez and Jose Valverde. However, he made sure that 2 of the best relievers in baseball were on the roster (and I don't really get the complaints about the NL roster being too reliever-heavy - considering that most pitchers in the All-Star game only get 1 inning, doesn't it make sense to have guys who are used to rearing back and firing everything they've got in a short outing?), and he really needed to pick Aaron Rowand so that the roster would have more than one player capable of playing center field (great job by the player's ballot in picking 3 left fielders, including Carlos Lee, who isn't as good as his shiny RBI total makes him look). As for Leyland, 5 of his 7 picks had to go to players who are their team's sole representatives, and while Michael Young clearly is not having an All-Star caliber year (Gagne, Otsuka, or even Kenny Lofton would have been a better pick) and James Shields might have been a more deserving Devil Ray representative than Carl Crawford, Leyland did the right thing in making sure that Victor Martinez was on the team. Martinez is having a far better year than the catcher on Leyland's team who was voted into the starting lineup by the fans, and Leyland resisted the temptation to use that spot on Curtis Granderson (who is having a damn good year himself, but is not as big of a snub as Martinez would have been).
- After all of these wacky late-ish start times, it's great to look forward to watching a Mets game that starts at the "normal" time of 7 PM.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
This Post Is Brought To You By The Number 7
No, this is not about Sesame Street (although come to think of it, Big Bird would be a pretty damn good pitcher, and Oscar could use the lid of his trashcan as a catcher's mitt, and...). I just figured that with all of the hoopla about it being 07/07/07, I'd make a list of 7 things I feel like talking about. Here goes...