Three Stooges Strike Again
Last time the Mets won four games in row, they lost four in a row right after that negating any positives that could have been taken out of such a nice stretch. With Brad Penny on the hill tomorrow, it seems as though the Mets are heading towards a four game losing streak with vengeance. The Mets managed to leave an astounding 24 men on base. Yeah, they got six runs, which was not bad, but they should have had double digits easily. This game should not have been even close. They seemingly had guys in scoring position in every inning and failed to get the big hit to bury the Marlins, who incidentally threw scrub pitchers at the Mets all day (including Benitez). Not surprisingly, my three least favorite Mets, Stanton, Weathers, and Franco (aka The Three Stooges) each gave up a run in the loss giving up the tying run, the go-ahead run, and an insurance run for good measure to make sure the Mets had NO chance in coming back. I thought Howe gave Bottalico the hook a bit fast, but hindsight is 20/20. He brought in Mike Stanton to face Lenny Harris, who is 0 for 1 against lefties, but it was obvious McKeon would not have let Harris face Stanton since he has not let him get two at-bats vs. lefties this year. So you have to choose your matchups. Bottalico vs. a guy hitting .226 or Stanton vs. a guy who was batting .294. Howe actually forced McKeon to put a better hitter up there. Damion Easley ended up coming in and tattooing Stanton's offering. Easy for me to criticize now, but when managers go too crazy with matchups, I get frustrated. Sometimes matchups are overrated. Stanton is not exactly a lefty specialist as lefties and righties are hitting just about the same off of him. Not to mention Bottalio actually has a lower BAA against lefties this year than Stanton.
Check this out.
You know what that is? The ERAs of the people Howe entrusts games with the most as well as the order they came into today’s game. Stanton with 4.11 ERA came in first, then he followed him up with Weathers and his 4.72 ERA, and finally topped it off with Franco who is sporting a nifty 5.24 ERA. After Franco got into trouble, he turns to Wheeler who had not seen action in four days and is not used to these types of closer situations. He was rested, but not necessarily sharp enough for this type of role. He has been used as the long man for the bulk of his workload. There is no reason that Moreno could not come in at some point to try and hold things together. Moreno needs to get in the game more when it matters. Give the kid a chance. Can he really do much worse? I can hardly see how. His 3.20 ERA is the best outside of Looper’s and he only pitched once in the last four days. They insist on going back to the aforementioned aging scrubs when the chips are down, which is very aggravating to say the least. I cannot get upset with Bottalico, he has been solid so for this year and did not get help from Piazza’s inexperience as first. In the seventh inning, Zeile made a spectacular stop, but bounced the throw over to Piazza, which is too be expected why you come up throwing after the stop he made. Piazza then committed too early, which has been his biggest problem with short hops, and did the 'Italian-American gymnast' split thing. If that damn split is so useful, how come he is the only first baseman that does it so often? That play turns out to be huge. The pick was by no means routine, but Piazza rarely makes any non routine play, which is at least required every once in while. Yeah, yeah, work in progress so he will get a pass, yet again. We do not have a team in which we can give runs away so these things are magnified to me. Lost in that horrendous, un-clutch hitting performance was the Mets first hit off Benitez. Piazza's homerun off Benitez, which was his second of the day, now makes the current Mets a collective 1 for 44 off of Armando. Also lost in that performance was Matt Ginter with yet another solid outing in which he went six innings only giving up two runs. He seems to have staved off any reason for Met management to bring up Erickson to replace him, which I know they must be dying to do. Such veteran presence at their disposal not being used must be eating them alive. Finally, the last thing lost in the performance was Ty's three hit performance. His average is now sitting at a very nice .277. I’ll use that last tidbit about Ty to go into my next thought.
Norm from The Shea Hot Corner suggests that Floyd should be used to provide protection for Piazza in the batting order. Although it did not look like he needed the protection today, I could not agree more. I believe a shake up is needed to try and squeeze out more production from this lineup. When I see Wiggie batting sixth in the order, I just cannot help but scratch my head. He is the hottest guy in the Met clubhouse. Howe needs to take more advantage of that. He continually goes with the hot hand (i.e. when Valent lead off for a week or so) except in this instance. Piazza he hit too many solo homers because no one is on base in front of him. So why not put a guy who is getting on base more than any other Met lately in front of Mr. New York? My suggestion to Howe:
Would it work? Maybe not, but how the heck could it hurt?