Tagged: coaching

The Overdue Return of the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Awards

David Wells Loses His Win Again 6IP, 1ER.             June 26, 2007
San Diego beat the Giants 2-1, but a blown save by, of all people, the very reliever whose retention he had  championed offseason (Scott Linebrink) took away his W.  A tightly-pitched game overall, though Wells gave up an unusually high number of walks (3), for him.   Maybe it is more accurate to describe it as a tightly-managed pitching game, at least by the Padres, who used 6 pitchers to keep the Giants from scoring more than 1 run in 10 innings The 6th was Trevor Hoffman, who earned his 20th save.  Only Zito — who went 8 innings — and Meredith pitched for the Giants, and they kept the Pads to 2 runs in 10.  Not bad, eh?

Ever wonder what it’s like being Doug Balsley, the pitching coach  for Padres’ manager Bud Black?  As pitching coach for the Angels in his previous job, he looked intense and hands-on, if you know what I mean. 

**SPECIAL NOTE**  I have a bad feeling that Andy Pettitte is going to win the YEAH, YEAH, YEAH Award of the year.  Today fit the bill, and I haven’t the heart to explain.  If you can stand it, listen to the game, bad umpire calls and all.  Calls that favored the Yankees, mind you. 

Breaking Mazzone’s [Baltimore] Chops

Link: SI.com – Writers – Five Up, Five Down (Cont.) – Thursday June 15, 2006 7:42PM.  Gennaro Felice, writer

Former Atlanta icon Mazzone unable to transform Baltimore’s rotation overnight.  (Reminder:  Orioles Manager Sam Perlozzo hired Mazzone, his best friend)

Seo Fine

WORLD BASEBALL CLASSIC ROUND 2:  Mexico @ Korea in Anaheim.   Korea 3  Mexico 2   

     It is good for New Yorkers to hear broadcasters who appreciate Metspitchers.  Of course, that is unlikely to happen while they are
pitching during a Mets game, not by local broadcasters, anyway. No need
to mention names, but whatever poisonous madness is finally working its
way out of the Mets system after some painful bloodletting could not
help but infect their announcers — and fanbase, but that’s another
story — too.  That is why we have heard mainly doom and gloom about
our New York underdogs since the 2000 trip to the World Series.
     Thank goodness for the World Baseball Classic.  Did you find it
refreshing to hear Dodger teammates Eric Karros (1B, 1991-2001) and Orel Hershiser (RHP, 1983-2000) talk about RHP starter Jae Weong Seo — who is about to join his high school teammate Hee-Sop Choi (1B) on the Dodgers — and lefty reliever Dae-Sung Koo — who debuted in the MLB in April of last year and is now a non-roster invitee to Mets spring training camp — as the strong pitchers they really are, with meaningful analysis
and insight by former players — one a legendary pitcher himself — who
analyze the game with a professionalism approaching that with which
they used to play the game?
     Seo started the first game of the second round of the WBC for
Korea against Mexico.  Through 5-1/3 innings, he allowed 1 run, which
came early and failed to rattle him.  In the Mets’ organization he was
so frequently sent down to the minors that it is no wonder that he would lose get shaken up after a mistake or bad luch at Shea.  I have to wonder if the Mets have something to learn from the coaching and mindset of Team Korea.  It is not as if Team Mexico was a lightweight opponent. 
     Before I forget, I want to add Floraine Kay’s observation that Seo showed an easy stance and release of his curveball that put into mind the seemingly effortless form of David Wells at his best.

Another Colorado Shawn May Make Good

SHAWN ESTES:  Career 99-89, 4.71       1-year contract with Padres

Most famous for the symbolic payback pitch he threw behind Roger Clemens in 2002 as retribution for the rockets shot at fellow Met Mike Piazza et al over 2 years, Estes is widely assumed to have missed his mark.  Far from it. David Wells himself approved of Estes’ strategic cost-benefit analysis and execution and gave the story some space in his book Perfect I’m Not. He got everything the team wanted: Clemens had to bat at Shea knowing the world was watching his inevitable punishment. Both benches got warned, so Clemens had to stay over the plate and couldn’t hit anyone, even by mistake. Best yet, Estes knocked in one run and later hit a homer, both off Clemens! The Mets won 8-0. Anyone questioning whether Estes stood up for his new team should take note of the fine that Major League Baseball levied on him for his intention to hit. (The fine looked symbolic, too — $750!)   That’s fine with me.

Lest Estes’ numbers look mediocre to you, consider this:  Dusty Baker kept him on his Giants for 7 years, from 1995 to 2001.  In Baker’s first year managing the Cubs in 2003, what uniform was Estes wearing before too long?  Yep, the Cubs.  More to come….

Bye, Bye, Benson — Same Old Mets

Last time I saw Kris Benson, he lost to Esteban Loaiza on a night I played hooky to see the game with Marc Marc at Shea.  September 14, 2005.  Inexplicably, the ticket price was $5.  I’d have paid a lot more to see this match-up.  As he so often has, Benson pitched well until Mets Dementia set in.  More about that night can be found here.

Nevertheless, as I feared earlier this off-season, General Manager Omar Minaya has gone ahead and arranged to trade him for a reliever (Jorge Julio, plus a prospect).  Floraine Kay suspects this may be another example of his apparent desire to hispanicize the team.  The pattern is looking hard to ignore, but I withhold judgement, for now.  Offered my choice of Benson, Aaron Heilman, Steve Trachsel, or Victor Zambrano, (all 4 had been rumored as trade bait for this offseason) I, too, might reach for the more promising younger player if I were managing Baltimore.  Why Benson — or Heilman or Trachsel, for that matter —  would be offered, I can’t quite comprehend, however. 

On the other hand, maybe it was a friendly trade, at the management level at least.  (Didn’t we all wake up today to the news that  Mrs. Benson wasn’t happy about this?)    As MLB.com’s Tom Singer points out, former Mets GM Jim Duquette is now working for Baltimore’s Mike Flanagan and, as some of us recall, had made a big trade for him with the Pirates in July of 2004.  Apparently he had support from the Orioles’ new star pitching coach.  According to Singer , Mazzone had been eying Benson for 3 years, over which time he had seen Benson keep Atlanta’s slugger squad to a batting average of .212.  "Mazzone saw a project," Singer reports "and someone who could inject consistency into a volatile rotation that already included Rodrigo Lopez, Bruce Chen, Daniel Cabrera and Erik Bedard."

A great reliever might have been worth a trade for Benson, but I’m disappointed that the Mets seem to have picked up a pitcher whose numbers appear to be on the decline, if only temporarily.  I can see wanting to hold onto Heilman to move him back into the rotation from the bullpen, where he was so successfully ghettoized last year.  Ah, too familiar are these pre-season Mets Misgivings.

Post-season Day 5

Scoreboard Sat. October 8, 2005

  • Houston (2-1) and Atlanta(1-2) go another day.
  • What happened today (Saturday — I’m still on Central time) is what didn’t happen.  A whole day of rain delay.  Maybe it’s for the best that we distance ourselves from yesterday’s pitching debacle.  Joe should put Small in again before the ALDS is over.


Post-season Day 4

Scoreboard Fri. October 7, 2005

Johnson    5ER    15.0      3.0 IP; 2 batters in 4th    
Small        2ER     6.75     2.2 IP    L, 0-1                              
Sturtze      0ER   13.5        .1 IP    
Gordon      1ER    6.75     0.0 IP; 4 batters in 7th; 1 unearned run   
Leiter        2ER    9.0       1.1 IP    
Proctor      0ER    0.0       1.2 IP   

NOTE:  2 errors (though I’m not sure I agree about Sheffield’s throw)

  • Poor Aaron Small.  To paraphrase what someone said about Wang the game before, "he deserved better than he got."  Second-guessing Joe Torre’s pitching changes is futile, even when we turn out to be right.  Right?  As they keep saying about Ozzie Guillen, his management choices were brilliant, because they worked.  If they hadn’t worked, they wouldn’t have been so brilliant.  There’s a logical flaw in there somewhere — I  hate when people use that kind of reasoning, but we know what they meant.  The choices wouldn’t have SEEMED so brilliant.  Well, some of Torre’s Game 3 choices don’t seem brilliant either, but chance and luck — distinct entities, I think — may have thrown a knuckleball, and we all know we don’t hit those too well.  Anyway, I  thought — and still think — he left Randy in 1 too many innings.  Did it have to be almost 4?  I didn’t catch Torre’s explanation for that.  If you know, please leave a comment!  I also thought — and still think — he took Small out too quickly.  Another inning or so, even if runs came in, would have controlled the bleeding.  As it was, Torre had to let Leiter pitch too long, accelerate Sturtze’s slump, misuse Proctor as a short reliever (He is a STARTER!), and give Gordon too much lead time to prepare mentally because he knew he was in for 2 innings.  He says he works best with no warning.  As regular readers know, I have my questions about whether Gordon is a big game pitcher.  To be fair, I am glad to say that he did great when we were closing in on the pennant. 

In sum, everyone went home demoralized because of the pitching when a 1-inning alteration in the pitching plan could have kept the game within range.  Remember how the sudden shock of Small’s entrance sparked that fabulous double play and the subsequent 5th inning spectacular?  Oh, well.  Wait ’til…Sunday.

  • Anyone hear what happened with the Red Sox?  (2090!)

  • I swear they are chanting in Chicago (I’m still here):  WHITE SOX!  WHITE SOX!  GOOOOOO WHITE SOX!  In unison!  Who knew White Sox fans could be so cute?!  That’s not a barb.  I’ve liked them a lot for years now.  Yankee fans like them.  I wrote about that relationship somewhere below….Can I still wear my #26 Yankee t-shirt, El Duque?  I’d never have let you go. 

Post-season Day 2

Scoreboard Wed. October 5, 2005

Post-game Commentary: 

  • Angels 5  (0 Errors)     Yankees 3  (3 Errors)         
    W Escobar (2 IP, 0.0)  S Rodriguez (1 IP, 9.0)     L Wang (6.2 IP, 1.35)

Poor Wang.  He pitched great, with lots of groundouts.  Look at that ERA.  He was the victim of Yankee errors, one of which he committed, as well as his manager, who kept him in one too many innings.  The Angels didn’t outscore the Yankees until the 7th, and they tied it up in the 6th.  I worry that Torre is playing the game plan he lost to Boston with last year — saving pitchers for the next game/series.  I certainly share his reluctance to trust the bullpen, but he knows Wang weakens on the early side of late innings, and there’s no game tomorrow.  Leiter was OK.  Proctor was fine.  Good.

PS:  If someone had to hit a homer off us, let it be Juan Rivera.  I always did like him.  Would I give up Matsui or Sheffield?  No.  Can he play center?  He’s used to platooning….

  • White Sox 5  (0 Errors)     Red Sox 4  (1 Error)
    W Buehrle (7 IP, 5.14)  S Jenks (2 IP, 0.0)     L Wells (6.2 IP, 2.70)   

Am I over Wells?  Was it hard to watch him lose for the Red Sox, especially in the post-season?  Is there any pitcher I’d prefer on the Yankee mound at this time of year?  Do I have to answer?

I admire Buehrle’s consistency in the face of accumulating runs.  Jenks was scary but great.  Uncanny how his build echoes Boomer’s.  Papelbon (1.1 IP, 0.0), the Boston reliever, felt more dominant, but then again I may have been too nervous for the White Sox to judge.  Thank goodness for Aaron Rowand.  The first time we saw him on TV, Floraine Kay and I said in unison "Who is THAT?"  That’s a center fielder you can turn your back on.  His bearing — as well as his build — reminds me of Kevin Brown’s, making me wary that his ego may have trouble allowing him to adapt as his body ages.  Then again, we did NOT give Brown time to work his changes out.  Don’t get me going.