When viewed in isolation missing out on Bengie Molina last week wasn’t really a bad thing for the Mets, because he’s old and overrated and fairly expensive. However, this report from Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News regarding the team’s fallback plan at catcher may have Mets fans thinking differently:
Jerry Manuel suggested Omir Santos would be the favorite to be the No. 1 catcher if the Mets don’t add another backstop before Opening Day. That presumes Henry Blanco as the backup and Josh Thole and Chris Coste at Triple-A Buffalo. Mets executives are meeting this afternoon, and I’m told it’s 50-50 whether they decide to go with what they’ve got or sign one of the remaining free agents, Yorvit Torrealba or Rod Barajas.
I’d still bet on the Mets signing Yorvit Torrealba, but if they don’t and Omir Santos ends up starting 4-5 times per week behind the plate … well, it’ll be ugly. Santos got enough timely hits last season to convince some Mets fans who just don’t know any better that he’s a good player, but in reality he batted .260 with a ghastly .296 on-base percentage, .391 slugging percentage, and terrible 44/15 K/BB ratio in 306 plate appearances
And before anyone points out that he was a rookie and is thus likely to improve, please note that Santos was a 28-year-old rookie who previously spent nine seasons in the minors hitting .258/.304/.348, including .256/.311/.325 at Triple-A. Guys who spend a decade in the minors posting a .652 OPS tend not to maintain a .671 OPS in the majors, so as bad as Santos was last season that was actually him playing over his head. Bengie Molina never looked so good.
The Dodgers and Astros have selected their starters for Game 1 of the World Series. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will open the series for the Astros, while fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the first of two home games at Dodger Stadium.
Keuchel, 29, has been a steady presence for the Astros this postseason. He clinched Game 2 of the ALDS with 5 2/3 innings of one-run, seven-strikeout ball against the Red Sox and returned for his second postseason win with seven scoreless innings against the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS. He was outmatched in Game 5 of the Championship Series, however, scattering four runs and eight strikeouts across 4 2/3 innings while the Yankees worked their way up to a 5-0 shutout. Nevertheless, he’s perhaps the Astros’ strongest arm behind ALCS MVP Justin Verlander and has not surrendered a single home run in 17 1/3 consecutive innings this postseason.
Kershaw, on the other hand, has had a less consistent track record in the playoffs. While his postseason yips have been well-documented thus far, his struggles on the mound haven’t always led to disaster — at least not this time around. The Dodgers are 3-0 in all three of Kershaw’s starts this month and enjoyed a quality start from their ace during Game 5 of the NLCS last Thursday. The 29-year-old southpaw recorded his second win of the playoffs with a run, three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over six innings. Unlike Keuchel, he’s given up a home run in each of his outings to date (and four homers in Game 1 of the NLDS).
Game 1 is set for Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM ET. The Dodgers have home field advantage through Games 1 and 2 before the series moves to Houston, and will try to capitalize on that advantage in order to extend their postseason winning streak at Dodger Stadium. They’re 4-0 at home and 3-1 on the road this October, while the Astros boast a 6-0 advantage in Houston and a significantly less impressive 1-4 record away from home.