Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Holy Smokes, that was a great game. Well, the sun will come out tomorrow, as they say. But it's gray and raining in New York this morning. My condolences to the many fine Met fans around town, and my congrats to Cardinal fans everywhere.
Carlos Beltran. Our woulda-coulda-shoulda been centerfielder. Cardinal killer up with the game on the line. Watches a BP fastball go by him for strike one. Fouls off strike two. Deadman's Curve turns NY's Cardinal killer into the Statue of Futility for steeee-rike three. Game. Set. Season. Unbelievable. Go scratch. Go figure.
gloating shouldn't be an option. that was an amazing game. everything i personally was hoping to get out of a game seven: solid pitching, low score, defensive wizardry, nail-biting finish....
wainwright's curve was nasty. delgado's reaction to his 3rd strike told the story.
an amazing game. i hope the 'birds can ride this into the series, and that the tigers are still feeling their magic. if so, we'll have a great week of baseball ahead of us.
i freakin' love october.
Randolph and the Mets had the bases loaded with their best hitter at the plate. You can't ask for more than that.
Good point. You're right, "gloating" is definitely not the word I should have used. I guess that's what I get for trying to properly express my thoughts before I am fully awake. haha. And yes, I agree, it was a terrific game-kept everyone guessing right up until the very last moment.
4 Willie didn't make a single mistake all game.
I wonder if Omar has called Soriano's agent yet.
And Heilman was definitely the way to go in the 9th.
Is anyone ready for a Jeff Weaver vs Kenny Rogers matchup in the World Series? Geez. I don't know if I can handle that.
When Beltran came up, I was thinking Jose Vizcaino. October 21, 2000. 12th inning. Subway Serious. Bases juiced. Vizcaino slices Wendell's slider (a good one at that) for the game winner.
I was thinking choke up, Beltran. A little Vizcaino might do the trick.
Sometimes all it takes is a little Vizcaino.
I don't blame Willie for anything last night - the Mets just didn't hit.
A little something with high Vizcosity to unfreeze those stiff joints. Oh well...
I expect to see some sort of disparaging comment out of Billy before the offseason's over.
4 Agreed. I listened to Gammons and Phillips on that stupid Mike & Mike show about the bunt and Wagner. I'll never understand the love for bunting. Only pitchers and possibly no. 9 hitters should bunt. As for Wagner, maybe Willie should have brought him, but I don't think that he made a major mistake sticking with Heilman. The second guessing of Willie reminds me a lot of the second guess of Joe when the Yankees lose. The Mets had their chance to score, but the players didn't get the runs in. It happens.
Don't forget that the Mets loaded the bases in the sixth, too, and saw Chavez, probably still juiced from his heroics in the top half of the inning, swing at the first pitch. I swear, I thought for a moment that they should have hit for him right there, but I knew that was unrealistic.
Do you think Willie's visit to the mound before Chavez's catch went something like this:
Willie: You OK?
Oliver: I'm good, Skip. I can get this guy.
Willie: (Looks at LoDuca)
Paul: He's good. He's throwin' good. (Looks down at the ground, avoids eye contact, and spits)
Willie: (pause) OK. Let's turn two here.
And technically, they did.
First, they have to field the bunt and make the putout (not always easy in a Game 7). Second, if Glavine bunts them over maybe LaRussa walks Reyes to set up the DP with LoDuca at the plate (since he had a two run lead and a bases loaded walk would not have tied the game).
If you don't have Floyd on the bench (or another HR hitter) in that situation, would you have bunted then?
...but i don't think it would've made much of a difference.
If you bunt, you've given away an out, and you still need a hit from one of the next two batters to tie the game. If you don't bunt and you get that hit from one of the next two batters, then you still have the chance to score the tying run on an out. But you also have a greatly increased chance of winning the game right there in the ninth inning.
That's a really interesting at-bat to analyze. The first pitch was a tailing fastball that ended up on the outer part of the plate. Did Beltran not swing because he was looking for something to pull or did he not swing because he was expecting the hook?
Can anyone read that at-bat and tell me what Beltran's plan was, because I'm not sure.
I think that makes some difference, but not nearly enough to make the play worthwhile.
As for Heilman vs. Wagner, Heilman has pitched better than Wagner in this series and the pitchers spot was due up in the bottom of the ninth, so if you go to Wagner you lose both of them for extra innings. If you stick with Heilman, you've got Wagner for the tenth.
20 Good point, though I was fine with him leaving Perez as I was watching the game.
When he had the 0-2 count, I thought that he was probably thinking that Wainwright might waste one. Problem is he guessed wrong and as you pointed out last night, he should not have been guessing in that situation. Instead of choking up and taking his chances, maybe he wanted to end it with one swing (after the waste pitch) and become the walk-off hero.
In the 9th, I would have bunted (Glavine?) but I didn't hate the call. Wainwright was wild high in the strike zone to the first 2 batters so I can understand not wanting to give away an out in that situation.
You guys remember Jeter's at-bat against Percival in 2002? I don't remember which game or what the score was, but the Yanks were behind but threatening, maybe a runner or two on base.
Jeter took strike three against Percival, diving out over the plate as a scorching fastball painted the inside corner.
Now, as I recall that at-bat, it serves as the perfect example of situational hitting.
Jeter had run the count full (iirc) and was fighting and fighting, clearly looking to work a walk because he was overmatched.
I didn't mind his taking that pitch because a walk was really the best possible outcome of that at-bat, which was obvious by watching how overmatched Jeter was. Jeter evidently knew this too, so adopted the best approach for the situation. He failed to execute it, which was a shame, but he came awfully close; that pitch was borderline and could have gone either way.
The point being, that seems to me a classic example of a good approach that ended in failure.
Beltran's at-bat seemed like a classic example of failure with no discernible approach--at least, no appraoch discernible to me other than waiting for the perfect pitch to jack over the right field fence.
32 Alvaro, finally someone else around here who appreciates the use of a good bunt ;-)
If it were the Yankees in a similar game 7, I would have been an emotional mess. It was both sad and refreshing to watch it as a dispassionate baseball fan.
But does anyone recall the entire sequence? Did he have anything to hit? Was he looking to put the ball in play or to hit it out?
In other words, does anyone have an opinion on the quality of that at-bat?
32 I don't hit Floyd for Valentin in the sixth. Valentin is a better bet than Floyd given the rust on Floyd. Heck, Valentin had a better season overall. He also got that single to start things in the ninth.
33 See what I wrote in 30. When you only have three outs left in your season, you can't afford to give one up without getting a run home on that play.
Again, I'm with you and Cliff (and others) on this. I just enjoy discussing baseball strategy a whole lot more than the latest A-Rod rumor. Thanks for the discussion.
If I were running an organization, I'd demand that each and every player in my organization knew how to bunt, no exceptions. You never know when it might come in handy.
It bewilders me that so many major league baseball players should have such a gaping hole in their game.
People can learn to bunt, it's not a mysterious gift bestowed on the elect from on high.
And yes, it's quite likely he was looking for the hook, which I can understand on the first pitch, that's a reasonable guess and a reasonable count in which to guess.
i thought you might want to check it out.
I personally think the double-steal would have been nuts. Yes, the pay-off is big, but the cost of losing one of the runners to a good Molina throw is enormous. (But 'nuts' is too strong; I think we're talking about a gutsy call that would have been the talk of MLB had Willie made it successfully, but was not worth the potential cost.)
40 Willie burned Tucker earlier in the game. And, while I'm not a huge fan of the bunt, I completely agree with 41.
So if I undertand you correctly, you would never bunt in that situation? Even if all you had on your bench was a backup catcher and some slap hitting LIDR types? I realize that this is very hypothetical since most teams would carry that power bat on the bench for just this type of situation.
If that ball gets away and goes into the outfield, I get the feeling we're talking about a Mets/Tigers WS today..
39 Exactly. Beltran clearly was guessing on that at bat and got fooled because of how effective the curve ball had been previously.
He had no time to get himself adjusted ... just up up and away ....
(but the Gary Matthews "spiderman" catch and the Rowand broken nose catch were better, if less pressure-packed) :-)
excellent point ... its akin to watching defensive linemen pick up a loose football and nearly have a coronary running to the goalline .... you're supposedly an "athlete" ... you can't run 60-70 yards without oxygen?
Read the top post on the page about Neyer - apparently in some ESPN chat before the game, he said he would retire if Perez shut down the Cardinals last night, and donate his salary!
I say we unite with Mets fans, and head up some sort of movement to make this welcher live up to his word..
why oh why couldn't Joe Morgan make those offers!?
49 Agreed. Terrible decision by Molina and Pujols saved his bacon.
I am very impressed that Willie didn't bring Wagner in for the 9th. And the pinch-hit of Floyd. Willie did it exactly right, but the chips didn't fall his way. Kudos to the Cards.
51 I usually agree with Keith Law's analysis, but not this time. I think he's way off on pinch-hitting for Valentin in the 6th, and also letting Perez bat.
Are you new here or something? ;-)
63 The media relations guy, who has to bear some responsibility for the infamous SI article? Good riddance.
But why in the freaking world is Jeff Weaver still pitching while the WormKiller is sitting at home? That just ain't right.
I still think Willie (whom I love!) should have bunted Glavine at that time. Why? Because of the conditions on the field. Does anyone remember the gaff Mariano made when he threw a bunt into centerfield? I can't remember which game it was...perhaps Game 7 of the 2001 WS?
Also, bringing Floyd up there to hit away was a mistake. Had he hit a ground ball, it'd be an easy double-play, given Floyd's injured legs. Had it been a fly ball put out, then it's still 1st and 2nd with 1 out. Ditto if he K's (which he did!).
The other two scenarios are a game winning homer and a hit. Remember that Floyd was cold due to his ass riding the bench for the last couple of games.
I still stand by my contention that a bunt would have been the right move. Larussa would have probably then walked Reyes and forced LoDuca to hit with the bases loaded and one out (a better scenario for the Mets). A vsingle ties the game and an extra base hit probably scores the speedy Reyes for the winning run.
72 Best argument for the bunt I've read yet.
I think I should point out that I have nothing against Neyer myself. In fact, I hear he's a very nice fellow, and I used to enjoy his columns quite a bit. Of course I haven't read him since they put him behind a pay wall, so I can't speak to his writing over the past couple of seasons.
A walk was also a possibility.
I'm not so much against the idea of a bunt, but I wouldn't ask a starting pitcher to come off the bench and execute one with the season on the line.
Glavine is an effective bunter in the game situations he's used to. Maybe with the rain falling, the temperature dropping, and the season on the line he pops up the bunt, or fails to lay one down.
I'm with Willie. Go with Cliff and swing away.
Wainright doesn't throw 95+ and, therefore, is not hard to bunt. If he pops up the bunt, then he has not executed correctly, but the scenario is still then 1st and 2nd with 1 out. If Floyd hits into a double-play, then the Mets are down to 2 outs with only one man on base. The Mets are actually lucky Floyd only K'd.
It ended with him sprawling on the field, a la Melky. After Junior's famous catch in center, someone asked him about his dad's play. Junior said, "I give him a 10 for the catch and a 1 for the dismount."
I'm not sure I want to know how you know that one, Sliced ;-)
Should we be happy just to make it? Absolutely, and I personally enjoy and celebrate every division title the Yankees have won, but we also know the team should make it to the postseason as they have the highest payroll in baseball and a tremendous amount of talent (at least offensively).
Mets fans know their team had some injuries coming into the playoffs which made them less likely to win, yet their team won a round of playoffs, and played their hearts out for 7 games just falling short in the NLCS. If the Yanks had lost a game 7 in the ALCS I don't think you would have seen the anger that we have seen on these boards and elsewhere.
If the Mets fall short in the playoffs the next 5 years in a row, I'm sure we will be seeing some angry, bitter Mets fans.
I was at the game, in fact, when Rusty broke Dave Filly's record of (I think it was seven?) consecutive pinch hits.
And wouldn't you know it, the game was against the Phillies!
And for the record, I was in favor of leaving Heliman in and would probably have bunted, probably with Glavin.
Having the tying run on second base with one out and Reyes and LoDuca coming up seems to me to offer the highest potential for success.
43 Thanks, that was a touching article, especially this:
"Players fit, or try their darndest to fit. Left fielder Craig Monroe is learning Spanish so he can chat more freely with the Latin players, who appreciate it.
"I just think it's good to be able to communicate with your friends," Monroe said. "They're my buddies, so I want to talk with them. They call me Monroeguez. It's fun.""
I once read an article in the Times, maybe two or three years ago about how, according to sociological data, being tight-knit is actually a disadvantage in times of crisis.
Something about how if a team is too close, the failure of one is more likely to resound throughout the team whereas if the team is less cohesive, it tends to maintain equilibrium better.
Something like that.
The article also did a sort of sociological analysis of the cliques on the Yanks, looking at things like how the locker assignments are arranged.
It was a fun article.
The Cardinals in particular used to be a huge regional team; they and the Cubs controlled the entire midwest. Other teams have encroached on the region - and, maybe worse, the Cards no longer broadcast on as powerful a radio station as they once did. Still, there should be a lot of fans to whom the Cards mean a lot.
Trachsel was really the only guy to stink it up, and he would have been in the rotation anyway.
...but there are instances when a group clicks and it can overachieve.
88 i thought that a tigers/cardinals series would be good for baseball. seven different champions in seven years. people can't say that the yankees win it all every year. i would have figured that no one outside of NY wanted to see a NY team in the series. (generally speaking of course.)
nobody should be complaining about the yankees and their payroll. (except maybe george... he's the guy unloading all of that money.)
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