Heck, I'm not even mad, that's amazing

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In case you missed Friday night’s wildly entertaining, exciting and
ultimately infamous Mets-Yankees game, here are a few things you should
know:

… Robinson Cano hit one over the ridiculously short porch in right
center to open the scoring, but to be fair, it was a legit homer. More
on this later …

… Joba Chamberlain only allowed one hit and two runs. Unfortunately,
he also walked five, hit two, and lasted a mere four innings. Before
the game, a buddy of mine was furious over the previous night’s
disaster in Boston, and sarcastically noted that at least the Yanks’
eighth inning guy was resting up to throw five mediocre innings the
next night. One short pal …

… Keith Hernandez was absolutely on fire, describing an ugly third
inning by Joba as “like watching A ball.” Later, after Gary Sheffield
questioned a called strike on the inside corner, Hernandez said “That’s
the old Derek Jeter move, who never saw an inside fastball he didn’t
think was a ball” …

… Speaking of Sheff, he momentarily time-warped back to 2002,
crushing a hanging curve from Brett Tomko for a three-run homer. It was
one of those rising line drives hit so hard down the line it didn’t
have a chance to go foul. And Sheff wasn’t even halfway to first by the
time the camera cut back to him after it landed in the seats, clearly
milking the moment …

… That homer gave us a great trivia question: name the four players
who hit homers for the Yankees against the Mets AND for the Mets
against the Yankees. Answer: Sheffield, Robin Ventura, Tony Clark, and
Miguel Cairo (!) …

… Continuing a brutal week in the field, Nick Swisher Lupused a
Carlos Beltran line drive that was the catalyst for a four-run rally …

… Trailing 6-3, Jeter hit a fly ball to right-center that probably
traveled about 360 feet. But since this was at The Cathedral They Call
Yankee Stadium (man I despise Michael Kay), the ball landed four rows
deep. REALLY glad we didn’t have to hear John Sterling give his “El
Capitan!” …

… So with the Mets leading 6-4 in the sixth, Livan Hernandez ran out
of gas. And naturally, with the tying runs on base, Jerry Manuel
brought in Jon Switzer, who had been called up from triple-A about
three hours earlier and was now making his debut. What Manuel did was
put this kid in the best possible situation to succeed, only the exact
opposite. In the coming years, I’m sure Switzer will be able to laugh
about giving up a go-ahead three-run homer to Hideki Matsui, the first
major league batter he ever faced. Just not now …

… Because their best setup guy had just thrown four mediocre innings
a couple hours earlier, Joe Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera with two
outs in the eighth to face Beltran. Incredibly, Rivera walked only his
third batter of the year. Then, with Beltran running, David Wright
ripped an opposite field double that put the Mets in front. See, Mike
Francesa, he is clutch …

… Now it’s the bottom of the ninth, Francisco Rodriguez is on the
mound, and he has not blown a save yet this year. Of course, Mets fans
are terrified and assume that number one is about to happen, because
they’re getting flashbacks to all those closers who blew games against
the Yanks: Armando Benitez (at least three, including Game 1 in the
2000 World Series), John Franco (just threw up in my mouth), Billy
Wagner (four run lead in 2006!), and Braden Looper (I’m assuming) …

… Brett Gardner popped up to lead off, and Omir Santos caught it.
This seemed like a mundane feat at the time. Then Jeter singled up the
middle, and Johnny Damon pinch hit for Swisher. On a 3-2 count, K-Rod
threw a hellacious changeup that Damon swung through, but Jeter stole
second on the play. K-Rod wisely unintentionally intentionally walked
Mark Teixeira (who hit one in the third that probably still hasn’t
landed yet) and now Alex Rodriguez is up. And I’m only worried because
K-Rod likes to throws a ton of curveballs, and A-Rod probably has a
better chance of hitting that than his fastball …

… And A-Rod pops up a 94 mph fastball on a 3-1 count! Luis Castillo
is under it! No, wait, he’s drifting. And drifting. And drifting. And
just when he appears to be under it, he uses ONE HAND to try and catch
it. The ball pops out. Castillo stumbles to the ground. Then, almost as
egregiously as muffing the pop-up, HE THROWS TO SECOND BASE! WHY??
Teixeira, who clearly hustled the entire way, scored behind Jeter for
the winning run. 9-8 Yanks. K-Rod gets credited with a blown save and a
loss. Castillo really wishes he were somewhere else, and frankly, so do
Mets fans. Like, for good …

… Some beautiful replays: A-Rod, slamming the bat down, looking
crushed as he jogs to first, then eyes bulging as he sees the drop and
realizes he should start running hard, then shocked elation, probably
more so because he won’t have to deal with everyone calling him a
choker than the fact his team just won; Manuel, poker-faced as the ball
is hit into the air, and Sandy Alomar slides into the shot next to him,
ready for the postgame handshake, only to mouth a stunned “Oh s***” as
he sees the disaster that unfolds; and poor K-Rod, who simply put his
hands on his head in disbelief. Welcome to the Mets, Frankie! …

… Strange as it sounds, the ending to the game was so absurd, I’m
not as upset as you’d think a Mets fan might be (can’t speak for
everyone, of course), and this one will probably sting a lot more when
they’re a game out in September and you think back to all those ones
that got away. But right now, for me, it’s like that Ron Burgundy line:
“You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate an entire wheel of cheese?
How’d you do that? Heck, I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.”

Pedro Martinez: “If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him.”

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On Sunday, Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes was ejected for throwing at Orioles third baseman Manny Machado‘s head. It was revenge for a slide of Machado’s which ended up injuring Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Barnes was suspended four games.

Hall of Famer and former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez said that if he were in Barnes’ shoes, he would have also thrown at Machado, although not necessarily at his head. Via ESPN’s Scott Lauber:

If I was pitching, I was going to drill Machado, as much as I love him. The only thing I would’ve done differently is probably bring the ball a little bit lower.

Martinez added that Machado “did not intend to hurt Pedroia. And I know that because I know Machado.” And he doesn’t think Barnes meant to throw at Machado’s head.

Martinez, of course, was certainly a pitcher who wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to batters and even hit a few of them when he felt he or his teammates had been wronged. This is an unfortunate part of baseball’s culture and the fact that it continues means that it will eventually result in someone being seriously hurt. It’s disappointing that Martinez isn’t willing to be a better role model now that his playing days are over. Martinez could have set an example for today’s pitchers by saying what Barnes did crossed a line. Getting a Hall of Famer’s seal of approval will only embolden players now when they feel they must defend their teammates’ honor.

The “tradition” of beaning batters to defend one’s teammates is anachronistic in today’s game, especially when Major League Baseball has made strides in so many other ways recently to protect players’ safety.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.