Game 50: Pirates Putz Mets Away

So much chaos while I was away: injuries, stomach bugs causing people to leave in mid-game, the long-awaiting goodbye to Ramon Castro, the addition of two more reclamation projects in the organisation...(right, Emil Brown solves everything...)

Anyone looking for a punching bag?

And yet through it all, the Mets, for the most part, kept winning.

But not last night.

If Sunday's near-disaster wasn't sufficient warning, last night's horrific, embarrassing crash and burn against the Pirates, an 8th inning meltdown so reminiscent of last season's 9th innings that everyone immediately began to suffer G-Force Face from the speed with which we returned to nightmares, was the final warning to Jerry and his Gang of Painful Optimists that JJ Putz is no longer a viable 8th inning option.

I'm not saying Putz can't sort out his elbow, his waning confidence, his mechanisms over the course of time. I'm saying the Mets cannot have late inning embarrassments games like Sunday and Monday any more if they want to be taken seriously.

And until Jerry announces Bobby Parnell is K-Rod's new set-up man,the situation is only going to become more inflamed.

Putz is not going to magically improve himself overnight. I don't care how much mechanical work he puts in, these are serious blow outs indicative of a serious problem. Maybe it requires a stint on the DL, a seat on the Ollie Perez Bus To Oblivion, relocation to a witness protection programme, weeks of intense pitching mechanics review or even relegation to the Russian Front softball team but one thing it does NOT require is another one of those patented Mets front office responses, you know, the one where Omar or Jerry or sometimes both in unison, chirp about how rosy and wonderful the existing problem really is and how this problem is not a problem and if we all ignore it long enough, it will eventually go away on its own.

And another fresh wound is whywhywhy when you KNOW your set up guy is having problems, whywhywhy do you stick him out there and NOT have someone already warmed up in the pen to come in once the inevitable meltdown approaches? Why wait until disaster has already struck, when the damage is irreversible? Is it stupidity? Naïvité? Ignorance? Unreasonable Optimism? Why wasn't Stokes already ready before Putz even threw his first pitch?

It's been admirable watching the Mets fighting injury and stomach bug, playing with practical joke line ups day in and day out yet still struggling on, still fighting for victories.

Yet this kind of farce; throwing away a perfectly good victory against a 2nd-rate team was entirely unnecessary. What was running through Jerry's mind? How many stupid bullpen decisions can I make in one night? Why Parnell so early? Why is Putz coming in when that very day he's still working on his mechanics?

Why, Jerry, why?

And what the hell is going on in David Wright's head?

How do you hit over .500 on a road trip one week then strike out in nearly every at-bat the next? What psychological conundrum allows for such radical swings? Does he too suffer from delicate mechanical flustering which requires daily or weekly adjustments? Does he suffer from temporary blindness? Or is it the curse of having Jeremy Reed hitting behind you? How do you build a franchise around a player like this? First inning, straight away, he strikes out swinging with two men on base. Third inning? Sheffield on first, weak fly out.

Whaddaya say David, shall we order a pizza?

It's not Wright's fault the Mets lost of course, that's down to Putz and Jerry. And surely with the injuries and excuses, the Mets can be forgiven for not winning every game they play, even against losers like the Pirates.

But this game was a win.

Simple mechanics. A 5-0 lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates is as close to money in the bag as you can get. Especially when you've got K-Rod.

Instead? A painful loss and more controversy; the Mets' favourite home away from home.

My contribution this week to Flushing University is The Bridge To K-Rod. Enjoy.


jdon said...

All of the above. Let's be honest, they have been playing well lately. And you could make the case that they just hit a bunch of grounders through the middle against Putz---they were not wallbangers. That could happen to any pitcher. It is Putz's entire body of work that concerns me. And one other thing: 1 hit over the last 6 innings against such a FORMIDABLE BULLPEN. These are the patterns that scare me. As for Wright, here is what I see. Friday night, man on third less than two out, Wright up. Kiko Calero on the mound, a pitcher who throws 110% sliders. Wright's least favorite pitch. We need contact. David takes a slider, first pitch, right over the heart of the plate. He always does this. No hit required, David, just some solid contact. Omir Santos knew this when he got the game winning hit. Interviewed after the game, Santos said he told himself not to try to do TOO MUCH. That is David in a nutshell. Trying to do too much.
As for not having someone warming in the pen while putz weaved his black magic, I agree totally. I think Parnell will move up, but they will do it gradually, to lighten the pressure a bit. There will be comments about him doing it some of the time, but we will look up later and he will be doing it all of the time.

Jaap said...

I agree about David trying to do too much. And it's not likely to get any better considering Sheff is hurting and likely to see a downturn in play and playing time. You'd think, considering the new Mets look of small ball and production of runs it would be easier for him to simply try and get produce, anything really. I wonder if he's listening too much to those whingeing about his lack of homers this season...
I'm also concerned about Murphy's lack of hitting lately even though his fielding concerns have been alleviated. Expected him to get hot again once he'd gotten settled in at first yet over the last week he's still hitting only .214 - hopefully he'll find his stroke again soon.

jdon said...

I think the rest of the league has developed a pretty good book on Murph and it is on him to make adjustments or shuffle off to Buffalo.

katherine said...

hey jaap, welcome back. Last night's game was a bad one for you to come home for, that's for sure. AWFUL.

Now there is is apparently some worry that the players have been exposed to Swine flu. Oy. Well, maybe now they'll actually banish people from the clubhouse when they're sick! It drives me nuts when they let sick players stay in the dugout, eating sunflower seeds, or spitting tobacco, and infecting everybody else.

Jaap said...

that may well be, jdon, that they've now caught on the Murph but it seems odd they hadn't started doing so until after all those left fielding gaffes commenced. let's hope that's not the case anyway. seems rather strange after all the incessant hype about what a natural hitter he is.

Jaap said...

hello Katherine, welcome back yourself, haven't seen you around here in awhile. hadn't heard about the swine flu element either, just assumed they eat off the same buffet spreads (do they or is that just reporters?) spend some much time hanging in close proximity of each other for hours at a time and yes, the copious amounts of dugout spitting, one man gets sick the rest are sure to follow....just imagine an entire stadium catching it. makes you wonder...