Playing Down To The Competition
I did not see much of the game on Friday night, but Oliver Perez turned in another solid performance after a first inning mistake. Better yet, he walked no batters for the third time out of four starts. With the exception of his seven walk performance in Philly, he has been a solid citizen and it is hard to really get upset about last night's loss with that positive to take away.
That being said, I did catch the end of the game and having a guy on second with no outs and not getting him home is not acceptable. You have to be able to have the execution to get the guy to third at the very at least with one out and you have to be able to at least get the guy home via a sacrifice fly. A patented LoDuca type at-bat would have been ideal for Shawn Green to get Alou over to third and Valentin is quite proficient at hitting deep fly balls.
Whatever...it's minor and more of an execution thing than anything and that will happen plenty this year. However, it has happened too many times this season when the Mets had a great scoring chance with no outs and failed to capitalize. Good teams should be able to succeed more than they don't in those types of situations and that is one thing they have had trouble with. I'm not sure what the fix is, but they have to start rising to the occasion. We are now 20+ games into the season and it's clear the Braves are going to hang in there. Letting this team hang around until September could be disastrous.
As for yesterday's game, the Mets simply are mentally slumping here. LoDuca bunting Reyes over to 2nd with no outs before giving him a chance steal is a great example of that. Of course they didn't get the run home as he got caught trying to steal third and you have think everyone just had a mental lapse. And yes, I realize that was not Willie's call and it was one that Gary Cohen called out right away, but with a rookie catcher that has not played a day above A ball prior to this season, you have to make him throw Reyes out in that spot at 2nd and not 3rd base. Just a peculiar play and though the Mets won anyway, they certainly played down to the Nationals level rather than the other way around. Hopefully they go out today and smoke them in the final and play like a first place team. They could have easily been down 0-2 to the Nationals right now.
Buster muses that Torre's job could in fact be in trouble though I just do not envision him getting fired during the season. The biggest problem has been their starting pitching and the lack of innings they are putting forth. However, Torre is just compounding the problem with his blatant over use of same players in the bullpen.
Last year, there were a grand total of three relievers among the 30 major league teams to amass more than 84 appearances. Right now, the Yankees have five relievers working on a pace to throw in 85 or more games, and three who have pitched in 14 of the team's first 21 games. At that pace, all three -- Scott Proctor, Luis Vizcaino and Mike Myers -- would surpass Mike Marshall's all-time record for appearances, of 106.
Torre is managing every game, it seems, as if it's October and it's must-win. While the competitiveness is admirable, in practice this is doing serious early damage to that part of the pitching staff -- the bullpen -- which really must be the backbone of the Yankees' fight to contend this year. We're not even into May and already there are signs of fatigue in the Yankees' relievers.
He always had issues handling the bullpen and even if the Yankees recover, it is hard to see their relievers having anything to give come September.
And based on his bullpen sessions alone, observers say he can look like the best pitcher on the staff.
But as soon as he takes the mound for real, the 23-year-old Pelfrey somehow loses that edge, and it's the bubbling over of adrenaline and emotion that has led to his 7.90 ERA in four starts.
If it truly is something mental and deals with his approach to the game, Peterson can fix it. If he needs more time getting some consistency and some confidence, then he'll be back to AAA within a few starts.
Newsday posed the question to the experts - executives and scouts around the industry, although not from the Mets or Yankees - who were asked to keep in mind not only the players' talents, but also their ages and contracts.
Of the 16 officials from 16 clubs that responded, on the condition of anonymity, Reyes won in a blowout, 11 to 5.
Of course given the age and the contract, it was sort of an unfair question. Reyes + another top tier player is more valuable than just A-Rod. Overall it was a pretty in depth and a really fun article to read with some great responses by the baseball personnel.