Sometimes you really want to take a rolled-up newspaper to this mutt of a team.
A night after a taut, inspiring win, the Mets were horrible, from Shaun Marcum’s little bit of Jekyll and a whole lot of Hyde to the hitters’ grinding futility when it mattered. The highlight of the game was Gary, Ron and Kevin holding a respectful and open-minded discussion of sabermetrics — my only moment of disappointment was the disdain for BABIP, which isn’t a perfect stat (such a thing doesn’t exist) but in my opinion is a useful indicator that a player’s run of success or failure is unlikely to last. Nice to see, but when the highlight is something involving the announcers you can guess the game wasn’t anything you’ll want to remember for very long.
So where do we start?
I suppose we should remember that for Marcum’s arm it’s mid-March, and so not be too harsh about his inability to get through five innings, let alone do that having accomplished something positive. But man is it frustrating, and it’s getting old in much the same way Marcum is 31 but looks an Atchisonian 51.
Beyond that, well, if I were an opposing pitcher I’d consider immediately putting the first Met hitter in each inning on base, since that seems to terrify his teammates. The Mets got a leadoff double in the fourth, followed by a groundout and two pop outs; followed Anthony Recker’s leadoff home run in the fifth with a double, then flopped through a strikeout, pop out and groundout; got a leadoff single and a trio of groundouts in the sixth; and then got a leadoff single in the eighth followed by a groundout and a GIDP. See frustrating and getting old above.
Finally, why on earth are Mike Baxter and Jordany Valdespin limited to pinch-hitting roles? The Mets’ outfield is terrible (perhaps you’ve heard), but it’s not going to get better with two guys who have actually earned real playing time sitting on the bench. Sure, they’ve both shown a knack for pinch-hitting, but maybe that’s because they have a knack for hitting – Matt Harvey would undoubtedly be a solid ROOGY, but that’s not the same as it being a good idea. Baxter has never shown any ability against lefties, but he destroys righties, knows how to get on base and is an acceptable defender. Valdespin has had success against lefties in the minors, has shown that he can make adjustments and become a smarter hitter in the big leagues (which is really rare), and is a lot better outfielder than anyone thought. Isn’t their development more important than taking a flyer on Andrew Brown or watching Marlon Byrd get another day beyond whatever his peak was? Baxter should be platooning and Valdespin should be playing every day; I’m genuinely baffled that Terry doesn’t see this and the front office isn’t insisting that he do things differently.
On the plus side … well, the umpires had to go under the stands for a replay, emerged and made the proper call. Joe West can watch TV correctly, which is more than our old nemesis Angel Hernandez can say.