- A bad day for closers by every conceivable metric:
Yesterday was not a good day for closers on or off the field.
Let's sift through the carnage and search for survivors.
Mets closer (well, technically he's still their closer in name only) Francisco Rodriguez was arraigned on misdemeanor assault charges after beating up his father-in-law after Wednesday night's game----NY Times Story*.
*Am I alone in thinking that the story title "Mets Season Coming Apart At The Seams" is a tad melodramatic?
I'm not getting into the legal aspect of this, you can get that elsewhere by people who know what they're talking about in that area; what I'm wondering is how this affects the Mets. I find it laughable that the club is being ridiculed for these incidents that happen off the field. First it was the Johan Santana sexual assault accusation and now this with K-Rod; what precisely are the Mets supposed to do?
At the very least, they've placed K-Rod on the restricted list for two days without pay and it's quite possible that he's never going to pitch for them again. It's not like what the Phillies did with Brett Myers as they pitched him because they needed him on the field after he was accused of assaulting his wife in public.
Who knows what they're going to do with K-Rod? Perhaps they'll have him apologize publicly, go through the general contrition process and enter anger management; then they'll pitch him over the last month of the season so they'll be able to try and trade him. With the strength of the Players Association and the sanctity of contracts----and you can bet the Mets lawyers are scouring the thing to try and find a way to void it (forget it)----he's going to get his guaranteed money for 2011 from someone be it from the Mets or another club who has a headache they'd like to dump in exchange for K-Rod.
Could the Mets find a taker for K-Rod if they're creative this winter? Absolutely. The White Sox have never shown fear in taking on bad actors; the Reds might want to get rid of Francisco Cordero's contract and rid themselves of Brandon Phillips (K-Rod and Luis Castillo for Cordero and Phillips?); and I mentioned the Mariners yesterday with their cumbersome and weighty deals with Chone Figgins and Ichiro Suzuki.
Stranger things have happened. Teams were interested in trading for John Rocker and Latrell Sprewell after their public actions made them pariahs. If K-Rod pitches for the Mets this season, it will only be so they have a better chance of getting rid of him this winter. And I think they will.
Here's a clip from the NY Times regarding Jonathan Papelbon following yesterday's blown save against the Blue Jays:
“It seemed like every one of my pitches today was up in the zone,” Papelbon said. “In a pressure situation, obviously, that can’t happen.”
Papelbon said he felt “groggy” all afternoon, both in the bullpen and on the mound.
“I didn’t have much power or energy in my delivery today,” Papelbon said.
Blown saves happen. Papelbon came in and got knocked around; but did Papelbon really need to be called in to relieve John Lackey, who on his 98th pitch of the day allowed a homer to Jose Bautista to make the score 5-3 Red Sox?
Let's shift the situation to the fourth or fifth innings rather than the ninth; would pulling Lackey have been a consideration? Of course not. He allowed a homer; still led by 2 runs and has regularly thrown over 100 pitches in his starts this season----Gamelogs. Why pull him? It was as if the invisible "book of using one's closer" appeared at the first sign of trouble. It's a regular occurrence in baseball in which one base hit----even a dunker or dribbler----is a viable reason to yank the starter even if he's been rolling along happily.
It was overmanaging by Terry Francona and it might have cost the Red Sox a very important game.
Speaking of overmanaging, heeeeere's Joe Girardi:
Mariano Rivera was unavailable to the Yankees because he'd pitched in the two previous games against the Rangers and worked hard. C.C. Sabathia pitched into the ninth inning against the Royals, recorded 2 outs and led 4-1; there were runners on second and third after two singles...and Girardi pulled his ace to bring in David Robertson...to pitch to Willie Bloomquist.
Sabathia couldn't pitch to Willie Bloomquist?
Because Bloomquist bats righty and the percentages suggest that Robertson would be a better choice against him?
Granted, Bloomquist hits Sabathia really well (10 for 28 career with 3 doubles), but so what? Sabathia's the ace of the staff; Rivera wasn't available; would Girardi really prefer to have Robertson pitching to Bloomquist instead of Sabathia?
More "doing stuff" by Girardi almost led to a Yankees loss against an awful team. He should've left Sabathia, who'd thrown 110 pitches, in the game.
Moose in the headlights:
Jonathan Broxton looked afraid to throw a strike against the Phillies last night and this directly led to the baserunners which caused the Dodgers 10-9 loss.
There's no excuse for blowing a 9-2 eighth inning lead. None.
As relentless as the Phillies are (and they never, ever, ever quit), that cannot happen. Can...not.
Broxton had a petrified aura as if the failures of post-seasons past were on his mind. He throws 100 mph; he's a humongous man; he has no reason to be afraid of failure. It's natural after the way he faltered in both the 2008 and 2009 NLCS against the same Phillies, but he has to get past it, especially with a 3-run lead and his team needing ever win it can get, never mind games in which they had a 7-run lead in the eighth inning.
- Viewer Mail 8.13.2010:
Matt writes RE K-Rod:
I'm watching the Mets on MLB network and the announcer says that the media descended on Citi Field in case K-Rod gets released from the centerfield police holding cell. I wonder if this is the first time in baseball history that a player has sat through a game while under arrest in his home stadium.
There've been plenty of players who needed to be locked away and presumably were kept caged for the protection of themselves and others; the Yankees have the airtight sarcophagus in which they keep Joba Chamberlain; it's an interesting question. Perhaps the handcuffs should be sent to the Hall of Fame.
Maybe the Mets can turn it into a bit of cross-promotion and, whenever K-Rod enters a game, they can wheel him in on a handcart with his hands and legs in irons and a mask to prevent him biting a la Dr. Hannibal Lecter.
Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE Rob Neyer and K-Rod:
I'm through with Neyer. That's inexcusable. For all the reasons you stated. I can't stand shit like that. Seriously. He gets paid?!?!? FTW!!!! And I don't watch ESPN anymore unless they're broadcasting a game I want to watch (sound off).
As for K-Rod, I'm signing him up for my MLB-UFC tourney. More info to come...
The mistake was up all day long until he posted a correction underneath sometime yesterday evening or so. He thanked those that pointed it out; I'll assume I'm not among the number for whom he intended the gratitude.
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE K-Rod:
Why did the cops keep K-Rod at the stadium overnight? And where was he? In the clubhouse in handcuffs? How come they didn't cart him off to jail?
Evidently, there's a precinct substation at the ballpark complete with a cage. Presumably, it's for drunk, disorderlies and brawlers...and now for highly paid closers.
Max Stevens writes RE K-Rod and the Mets:
In regards to K-Rod's explosive temper, it should be pointed out just how different it is to play in a place like Anaheim as compared to New York. There's really not all that much pressure in the OC, at least in relative terms. Angels fans are devoted to their team without the fits of apoplexy that you get in New York. The beat writers out here don't have nearly the bloodlust that the New York baseball media have.
The only time Angel fans turn on a player is when they turn on the organization or the manager. Jose Guillen, Shea Hillenbrand and Jim Edmonds are three examples I can think of off the top of my head.
He had a reputation as being a difficult guy while with the Angels, but it never manifested itself in such a way----at least not publicly. New York hasn't given K-Rod a hard time, so this stuff is simmering beneath the surface like with Jayson Williams and O.J. Simpson; people must've known about it and not addressed it until the law had to step in.
The players you mentioned also had bad reputations for being difficult. Guillen is known to be moody; Hillenbrand ran himself out of many venues; and Edmonds got into it with Tony La Russa as well. You never know what's lurking in someone's mind and personal life.
John Seal (West Coast Spiritual Advisor) writes RE K-Rod:
A's fans have long known that K-Rod is a bit of a head case. He's always been one for Joba-style histrionics and celebratory finger thrustings and fist pumpings, but there was a very memorable game a few seasons back when he basically forgot the A's had the winning runner on 3rd and lackadaisically didn't bother to catch a ball thrown back to him by the catcher--allowing the run to score. My guess is the Angels were just better at keeping him under control.
It shines a light into why the Angels were so willing to let him walk after his record-breaking season and they kept it quiet remarkably well. Teams occasionally do that, take the public hit for making a questionable decision until something like this happens; some clubs would come out with a "we knew it" leak to absolve themselves even further; the Angels are not that type of team, but there must be quiet nodding and eyebrow raises among the club personnel that this type of explosion was always a fraction away from happening.
I'm not a fan of the over-the-top supplication towards the sky after a save and wondered why he didn't look towards the heavens after a bad performance with palms upraised and head tilted as if to say, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" It's only logical to blame a higher power for a bad performance if thanking It/Him/Whatever for a good one.
I was a guest with Sal at SportsFan Buzz a week ago Tuesday talking about the trade deadline, Ozzie Guillen and the pennant races. Click the link above or go to the site to download it on I-Tunes. Or you can get it directly here.
Give yourself to the Dark Side...