Yeah, I know. “If necessary.”
Mets manager Willie Randolph had the misfortune of chatting with WFAN’s Chris Russo and Mike Francesca earlier today, and confirmed that if New York gets past Chris Carpenter tonight, Oliver Perez, he of the 3 wins in 2006, will start the seventh game.
Of course, this is a big blow to a veteran with the organization, who despite his horrible recent performances and plummeting popularity, deserved some consideration.
Being the professional he is, I’m sure Chris Cotter will rebound from this disappointment.
Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheenan is not the first or last person to wonder why Da Edge was considered surplus to Mets requirements.
With one out in the eighth inning of a 4-2 game, David Wright finally had a big hit, doubling into the left-field corner to give the Mets runner on second and third. With Shawn Green due to bat, Tony La Russa replaced Josh Kinney with southpaw Randy Flores to get the platoon advantage. The counter to that seemed obvious; get a right-handed hitter, any right-handed hitter, to the plate. Green hasn™t been a true two-way player in a very long time. Since 2003, he™s hit .247/.325/.419 against lefties. Flores held lefties to a .258/.337/.355 line this year, while allowing righties to rake: .329/.416/.566. He™s a specialist, someone who can™t be trusted against right-handed batters.
Even if La Russa walked the pinch-hitter to load the bases, which wasn™t a lock because it would mean walking the go-ahead run, you then would have Jose Valentin batting from the right side against Flores, a fairly extreme case of weakness against weakness. The key batter was Green, or his replacement. Willie Randolph allowed Green to bat. One weak pop to center field later, the right fielder was back in the dugout, and the Mets were one step closer to being upset.
The events that led to that at-bat were set in motion a long time ago, first when the Mets sent Lastings Milledge to the minors on August 24, then when some teammates complained about the rookie™s attitude in September. It™s obviously much more important to sustain the wildly dysfunctional social structure of a major-league baseball team than to create an environment where the only capable right-handed-hitting outfielder in your organization can play.
Whether for baseball or interpersonal reasons, Milledge wasn™t on the Division Series roster. When the Mets dropped down to 11 pitchers for the NLCS, they added Anderson Hernandez and his 406 OPS rather than Milledge, even though Cliff Floyd™s Achilles™ problem meant that his status was in question, and the Cardinals had two left-handed speciailists with massive platoon splits. Hernandez™s only chance to get into a game would be to pinch-run for a pitcher or for Floyd in a pinch-hitting appearance. Milledge would likely have played in every single game as a pinch-hitter or as Shawn Green™s legs.
In the eighth inning last night, the Mets needed a good right-handed bat. Franco, Castro…hey, you pick the dictator…any of them would have been a better choice than Green. It would have meant putting Woodward in the outfield for the duration of the game, but so what? Lastings Milledge would have been the best option, but he wasn’t around. If the Mets don’t win two games in New York, they’re going to have to look back at that decision and wonder what the manager was thinking when he put together his roster.
I don’t know if the Toronto Star’s Richard Griffin likes football very much, but he might want to check out Michael Lewis’ “The Blind Side”. If nothing else, it might give him something new to complain about for the next 5 years.
Were the Cubbies responsible for Boston’s monumental Game 6 collapse in 1986? Paul Lukas seems to have the photographic proof.