Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Official---The Mets Are Unwatchable

  • Mets 9-Nationals 7:
When Vinny Testaverde was playing in the NFL, his father was unable to watch the games
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because he had a bad heart and got excited to the point that it was jeopardizing his health; I'm beginning to think that the Mets are going to be a proximate cause for some emergency room visits during the final week and a half of regular season play...*

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*Did you know that former Van Halen frontman and failed radio talk show host David Lee Roth is an emergency medical technician? Can you imagine needing EMT assistance and seeing him standing over you?

This game was exhausting to watch and the players looked more relieved than happy that they managed to win a game over a team that's coming close to 100 losses. David Wright is a great player, but he sometimes gets into these gamelong funks in which he looks like he needs the jaws of life to extract his head from his posterior. In the top of the ninth inning, with runners at first and third and one out, he swung at a ball that was around neck high to strike out. Given that the score was 9-5 and the bullpen is in such disarray, wouldn't it have behooved Wright to choke up on the bat and try to smack the ball the other way for one at bat? I understand that's not the general job description for a number three hitter
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and no one's asking him to move his hands up Jack Perconte-style six inches above the handle, but there's a time to try and whack one out of the park and there's a time to just make contact. Then he goes out on the field and, clearly thinking about and beating himself up over his failure at the plate the previous half inning, threw a ball in la-de-da fashion to first base on Lastings Milledge's routine grounder and gave the Nationals an opening that could very well have cost the Mets the game. Then there's Aaron Heilman...
It's at the point where manager Jerry Manuel can't put Heilman into any game unless the lead is eight runs or greater. This is not the time to be concerned about anyone's feelings and with the way he's performed in the bullpen over the past two seasons, the Mets are going to have to make a decision on whether to trade him or move him into the starting rotation; as for right now, he can only be used in an emergency or a major blowout. Al Reyes has been with the Mets for two weeks and hasn't gotten into a game; while I
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understand that Heilman is above him on the totem pole, last night was a perfect game to put Reyes in and see what he's got. The same thing with Robert Parnell. I'll be stunned to see Heilman in another important game for the rest of the season.
This was an escape more than a win and the Mets are going to need Johan Santana to keep his pitch count low and go very deep into the game tonight not just to rest the bullpen, but because the majority of the bullpen's confidence is so shot that they can't be trusted to even hold the most comfortable of leads. They're facing a pitcher for the Nats in Tim Redding, whom they've had trouble with; but with Jose Reyes playing like he'd had a couple of Red Bulls and Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran hitting, the Mets are going to have to score early and often even with Santana pitching because they can't take any chances. (Incidentally, Delgado consciously altered his swing to try to drive an insurance run in the third inning, something Wright should take to heart.)
  • Detroit 17-Texas 4:
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Despite the unprecedented occurrences of two safeties to account for Texas's four points, Detroit executive Matt Millen celebrated the victory by saying, "See? Executiving isn't all that hard." Following the game, he was rewarded with a thirty-year contract extension.
  • Brewers 6-Cubs 2:
Ben Sheets is a great talent, but what's his problem? In a game that the Brewers absolutely, positively had to win; with all the turmoil going on around the team after the managerial change amid a collapse; and with C.C. Sabathia having lost the night before, Sheets pulls himself out of the game after two innings with "forearm tightness"? He leaves a game that could possibly break the Brewers season if they lost it and lets their shaky bullpen bear the brunt of that pressure?
I'm not questioning someone else's injuries; nor am I saying that Sheets is imagining these maladies, but what must his teammates think of him after he pulls something like this only two weeks after yanking himself from a game against the Mets after five dominant innings in a game the Brewers eventually lost and served to start the current tailspin? What do the players
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around the rest of the majors think when they watch SportsCenter or read the game recaps and see that Sheets pulled himself out of another game? It's going to be interesting to see who ponies up the cash to sign Sheets long-term after the season because with antics like this, he's a major risk to be the next Carl Pavano or Erik Bedard.
With all of this baggage, a team considering Sheets might be better off going after someone like Bronson Arroyo, who doesn't have half of Sheets's talent, but goes out there and pitches no matter what without complaint; teammates appreciate and respect that far more than they admire unused talent. If Sheets is begging out of games now as free agency is weeks away, what's going to
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happen when he has an $80-120 million guaranteed contract to fall back on? Then how many injuries are going to crop up that are going to limit his innings and give him the excuse to pull himself from games? I said a couple of weeks ago that I'd risk signing Sheets with the idea that he'd find his groove and stay healthy with a different organization, but after this September display, I can't in good conscience recommend that any team risk such a huge amount of money on such a soft pitcher.
  • Is this the time to be blogging?
I'm trying to imagine what none other than George Steinbrenner would be doing if one of his top baseball "experts" were sitting around blogging about his team as they're marching inexorably towards 100 losses, but then George would've fired the entire staff months ago. I
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know what I would tell our old friend, Padres executive Paul DePodesta, regarding his blog, and it'd go something like this: "You have a choice, you can either work here in the baseball department trying to fix this mess you helped create, or you can sit around and write a blog; if you wanna work here, then work here and take that laptop and fling it out the window. Otherwise, beat it. Let me know by the morning what you wanna do."
  • Sean Hannity's interview with Governor Sarah Palin:
I only saw bits and pieces of it, but from what I did see, Hannity looked as if he were seconds away from yanking Sarah's shoes off and giving her a foot massage.

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