Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mets 6 - Cardinals 9: Can’t Anyone Here Manage this Game?

I have two bones to pick.

I’m not a Willie Randolph hater. I’m not a huge fan of Willie’s managerial decisions either. I’m not an Omar Minaya hater. And, I’m not a big Omar fan either. I just want my Mets to win a championship. “Is that so wrong?” (1990’s SNL spoof of Harvey Fierstein).

Is there anybody in baseball that believes that John Maine is a better pitcher at this point in his career than Steve Trachsel? Anyone? Then why is Maine starting in game two when Trachsel is available and has his required days rest? Does anyone think that Trachsel would have blown separate leads of 3, 2, 1, and 2 runs? Maine is a virtual rookie who got one start in May thanks to desperation on the part of the Mets and then didn’t pitch again until the Mets got even more desperate in July. Prior to this year, he pitched in eleven major league games and had an ERA of about seven.

This is a classic example of a guy you don’t want to rely on in October. He’s a nice fill in when the division title is already in the bag, but he is not a playoff starter. Ask yourself this: Whom would you rather have on the mound in game six with the Mets down 3 – 2 in the series and facing elimination? Because of Randolph’s decision to go with Maine last night, we’re going to get Maine in game six.

Now, say what you want about Steve Trachsel, but all the guy has done in five uninjured years with the Mets is win: Fifteen wins this year, twelve in 2004 (he was hurt in 2005), sixteen in 2003, and eleven each in 2002 and 2001 and most of those years were pretty lean for the Mets. Steve Trachsel is a veteran who can handle October pressure. He’s no Tom Seaver, but he is much better option than throwing a virtual rookie to the wolves. Tony LaRussa gets this stuff. He moved his best available starter up a game in order to get him in as early as possible.

Point two: Shawn Green went back to catch Spiezio’s fly ball within forty feet of my seats last night (145A seats 1 and 2). My friend and I each turned to each other and immediately said the same thing: He should have caught that ball. If he had, game over, the Mets win. I know it wasn’t an easy play, but major league players make that catch. He got there. When a major league player gets to the ball he’s supposed to catch it. Green actually overextended for that ball and it hit the back of his glove. Does anyone think that Mike Cameron would have missed it? Thank you Omar (or Fred).

Tonight is a must-win game with Trachsel on the mound because tomorrow night they’re throwing Oliver Perez who was 3 -13 this year with an ERA over 6.50.


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