Time To Rest The Starters

To a man, the Mets would tell you no, they aren't losing intentionally to the Pirates simply to clinch their first NL East title since 1988 at Shea.

Sure, they had the requisite large plastic sheets atop their lockers ready to be put in place to protect their stuff from spurting champagne bottles.

Sure, El Duque, who would likely be starting Game Three of any playoff, was on the mound.

If this isn't the face of Father Time, I don't know what is.

But this wasn't just any old team the Mets were facing out there. These were the Pirates, after all.

"I don't think we are pressing - we ran into a couple good left-handers and they've got a good ballclub." Paul Lo Duca, whose fly-out in the 9th with a runner in scoring position left the Mets with their 3-2 loss, second straight to the Pirates, managed to say with a straight face. "They're playing a lot better in the second half of the season, and we haven't been swinging the bats that well. We've got to go get them tomorrow."

A good ballclub? The Pittsburgh Pirates?! Well, they are better than the 60-89 Chicago Cubs but only just and in fact, they are worse than every OTHER National League club. If that makes them a good ballclub then it must also make Kelly Osbourne a fit bird and frankly, I'm just not buying that.

Ozzy's spawn is as fit as the Pirates are good...

Regardless of how you chose to examine two consecutive losses on nights when victory would have clinched the NL East, I think the animals are still a little disturbed about Pedro's tearful display in the dugout following his less-than-sublime performance Friday night.

On the bright side, the Phillies keep winning meaning the Mets can still at least win the NL East on the field rather than backing in off a Phillies loss.

But last night was a night a game the Mets would normally win. Duque kept them in the game by allowing two runs and six hits over seven solid innings whilst Met batters were continuously puzzled by the likes of Tom Gorzelanny and Shane Youman, both lefties.

And yes, it's ok, to be disturbed by the fact that the Mets lost for the 13th time in the last 18 games in which the opposing starter was left-handed.

But even with the game still 2-2, even with Lo Duca's rare failure to hit in the clutch in an otherwise remarkable season for the Mets, the 9th inning betrayed the Mets in a rare insult when Aaron Heilman allowed his first run since 3rd August.

Certainly these last two games are more a case of than a worrying concern but on the other hand, Zach Duke is ANOTHER lefty who will face the Mets on Sunday and Duke has gone 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA in two career starts against the Mets.

Worse still, the Mets are no longer the only best team in baseball.

Pulling up in your rear view mirrors folks, are the New York Yankees, now tied with the Mets at 90-57 for the best record in baseball.

Of course if I'd have been told in Spring Training that after 147 games the Mets would be tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball and a mere victory over the Pirates to clinch the NL East, I'd have been pretty damned chuffed.

But in Spring Training, if you recall, the majority of us although optimistic, still had years of poor play to rinse from our memories before we were going to shed our most intimate fears of allowing the Mets to disappoint us once again.

You know what I think Willie Randolph should do?

He should tell his team that he doesn't even want to clinch in Pittsburgh. He should spit on the ground of Pittsburgh and besmirch the character of its residents and tell his team that the only way he wants to win the NL East is in Shea in front of all the supporters.

He should then replace Lo Duca with Kelly Stinnett, Delgado with Julio Franco, with Valentin, Woodward and Anderson Hernandez filling in the rest of the infield. Ricky Ledee, Lastings Milledge and Michael Tucker in the outfield.

If this is truly a "team" then why shouldn't the second string get a chance to do what the first string twice failed to do?

All the pressure would be gone, the starters would all have a day off and hell, even if the Mets clinch the NL East and deprive the starters of being on the field for it, what better motivation for the rest of the postseason than wanting to have the chance to celebrate a victory they themselves accomplished?


sanchez said...

"It's really kind of a no-brainer," said Colts coach Tony Dungy. "As soon as the games aren't meaningful in the standings, [resting starters to preserve them for the playoffs] is something we'll think about. They don't give out rings for being 16-0."

-and look where it got the Colts...

adenzeno said...

Jesus-Its a good thing she has money, AND I almost puked at thyat picture.

Jaap said...

imagine what SHE must think, having to look in the mirror!