Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Bad News Mets, and a Little Protection in Baseball

Well, the Mets committed five errors, including two in the field in the bottom of the 11th inning to lose 3-2 to the Manny-less L.A. Dodgers on Monday night, or should I say Tuesday morning after 1:30am ET as any tired-looking diehard Mets fan will tell you this morning. The Mets started off the 11th inning by breaking the tie with two outs and scoring the go ahead run to make it 3-2, but then error-prone Ryan Church was amazingly called out for missing third base after the Dodgers appealed the call at the base, a call which Church has not disputed. Then in the bottom of the inning the Mets quickly let some guys on base and then a throwing error allowed the walkoff run to score for the Dodgers, who won 3-2. That's about as hard a way to lose a game as there is, don't you think? Five errors. Five. Two in one inning in extra innings, after a redonkulous baserunning error already cost your team the lead in the top half of that same inning? That's seriously ludicrous. I've been screaming this all season, but where is the accountability on this team?

Said Ryan Church on somehow missing third base for the crucial third run of the game: "I mean, touching the bag is a simple thing to do. But obviously, I didn't....As for me missing third base...it just wasn't meant to be." I heard the interview with him in the locker room on sports radio today and I was just floored. I nearly crashed my damn car. It wasn't meant to be? So some higher power decided tonight was not Ryan Church's night to touch all the bases on the field? How many times is a Met player (or coach) going to not take responsibility for their mistakes before someone does something about it? Do they honestly not see the connection between the total lack of accountability on this team, and the September choke-jobs that this team has by now become famous for? It's unreal to a third-party observer to see how what is obvious to some, others can be completely oblivious to.

But the real thing that got my attention today was the Yankees, and specifically what Alex Rodriguez has been able to do by protecting Mark Teixeira in the batting order. Before A-Rod's return to the Yankees lineup 10 games ago, huge first baseman free agent signing Mark Teixiera's struggles were public knowledge. The guy was hitting .191 as of the day A-Rod returned from hip surgery, and by all counts Tex's acquisition by the Bronx Bombers was heralded as an abject failure to that point. New Yorkers were starting to wonder if Tex fits squarely in to the hole that so many others have fallen into when signed from other cities, particularly smaller markets. It's not just the size of New York that creates problems for people not used to big city life -- it's really the size and the character of the media in town that gets most of these guys. Just having to listen to what gets said about you on any one of four or five sports radio stations now available to New Yorkers thanks to the proliferation of satellite radio, every time you strike out in a big spot turns into a 12-hour trashfest focused primarily on you. Mark Teixeira was heading right down that path, the same path of Randy Johnson, Javier Vazquez and so many other free agent signings during the past several years have gone -- just not fitting in in New York.

But then cue Alex Rodriguez. Although Alex struggled early in his return from surgery, hitting below .200 through his first 6 games of the 2009 season, A-Rod has now hit three home runs in three nights and things are definitely looking up for the American League's best steroid user home run hitter. But the effect on Mark Teixeira has been even more striking. I don't have all of the exact stats in front of me here, but in the 10 games since A-Rod returned to the starting lineup, where he bats one spot after Tex, Tex's batting average has soared to .340, close to double what he hit in the 25 games prior to that. With pitchers suddenly unable for the first time all season to pitch around Tex for fear that A-Rod will come up next and roid-rage one right over the already tinderbox walls of the new Yankee Stadium, Tex has also pounded five home runs over the last 10 games after he hit just five home runs in those previous 25 games sans A-Rod. And with just 15 RBIs in his first 28 games, since A-Rod's return Teixeira has knocked in an additional 13 runs in those 10 games. .191, 5 homers and 15 RBIs over 25 games without A-Rod, and now .340, 5 homers and 13 RBIs in 10 games since The Roided One's return.

What a difference a little protection makes.

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Blogger 1Queens Up1 said...

How bout throwing Johnny Damon a bone for his stellar season batting behind Jeter thus far?

.322, 10 HR, 27 RBI, .390 OBP, .616 SLG
Glad I nabbed him for my fantasy team.

Phillies @ Yanks this weekend, I found out too late or I would have tried for tix.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...


I will be there, box seats, on Saturday afternoon. My brother's company has season tix and he of course nabbed these seats as soon as he saw the schedule.

I'll let you know how the place is.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Loulou said...

Once again very interestesting.
For this week end there are still tickets available on stubhub for not much...

9:48 PM  
Blogger Shrike said...

Protection in a lineup is such a myth. Also, small sample size issues here.


1:47 AM  

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