Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Postseason Recap: Joe Beimel: The most important person in America

At least according to ESPN.

Dodgers 5 @ Mets 6

It's very hard to express how exhilarating/terrifying it is to watch postseason baseball as a fan of a team to someone who hasn’t experienced it before. Basically, the only thing I could equate it to is asking a girl out for the first time in your life, except it lasts for three hours instead of three minutes. Everything you do is magnified both in your head and in your body movements. So in my case, it was kind of like asking a girl out for the first time in six years. I paced, my entire body was electric. I wasn’t up to talking to anyone who might harsh my buzz.

This game was won and lost by the managers, in my opinion. Willie Randolph, as much as I have bashed him in his tenure in Mets manager, was completely pro-active with his approach with John Maine on the mound. At the first sign of trouble after the first few innings, he went right to the bullpen, even though he ran everyone but Royce Ring out, he won the game. You don’t win postseason games with people who have regular season milestones, and in this case, I thought it was absolutely wonderful that Maine was pitching. I’m not sure if Willie would have been as proactive to the whole thing if Glavine or Pedro was on the mound, and I’d lean towards the answer being “no”. He did not have a perfect game; in my opinion he should have tried to step on the Dodgers’ throat in the sixth instead of letting Guillermo Mota bat, and then handed the last three innings over to Wagner and Heilman. Instead, Randolph let Mota get touched up a bit in the seventh (although he was hurt by the Valentin error), leading the game to be tied again.

On the other side, Grady Little absolutely bungled this game. Game one is the most important game of any five-game series; the Dodgers would have to win three of four games if they lost this game. He went to the seventh with a tie game, and instead of relying on the relievers who got him through the entire season; he brought in a pitcher who had been lit up the last few weeks of the season in Brad Penny, who was thought by many to be injured. Penny immediately coughed up the lead, and the final two runs that the Mets needed to win the game. This was a huge blunder that will be lost under the more ridiculous “two outs at home” double play, which I still can’t believe actually happened.

Other thoughts from this game:

-John Hirschbeck was horrendous in this game, for both sides. He cost the Mets dearly when he called Floyd out and when he wouldn’t call Betemit out, and he cost the Dodgers when Lugo struck out during their three run rally in the seventh. And he wasn’t even the worst umpire today, Kerwin Danley was up to the task, providing a maddeningly inconsistent strike zone.

-Shawn Green has NO RANGE at all. If Endy Chavez were out in right field in the ninth, Wagner arguably could have had a 1-2-3 inning. He’s just a terrible player in all facets of the game right now. I hope he proves me wrong and comes up with some good games the rest of the postseason, but right now I would much rather have Endy Chavez playing.

-Jose Reyes continued to be up and down. His first three plate appearances were just brutal, and then when he stopped hacking at everything, he was the key cog in the comeback, reaching base twice in a row and scoring a run.

-Carlos Delgado is scary when he uses the whole field. It made me wonder what kind of player he could have been if he didn’t have the same kind of power.

-The Dodgers are not really a team with the same kind of star power as the Mets have, where they succeed is by throwing above-average hitter after above-average hitter after you. There aren’t any holes in that lineup, with Betemit batting eighth. I was a little surprised that Ethier didn’t get to play, as Kenny Lofton looked pretty bad out there today.

-It’s bad enough that noted-Met hater Steve Phillips had to be there being a smug cunt about the whole issue, but I was very afraid when Joe Morgan was involved too. Thankfully, Morgan didn’t really commit any mortal sins in this game. He did create this stupid “the most important inning is the half-inning after the other team scores” bullshit, but that was mild in comparison to Phillips’ Met hatred. I don’t understand how he gets assigned to their games every time.

Oh right, there was another game.

A’s 5 @ Twins 2

Not really a lot of managerial blunders in this one. 2-2 game until the seventh, both teams had as close to optimal bullpen usage as can be expected when teams won’t use their closers until the seventh. The Torii Hunter play was brutal, but I feel good for Jon Raymond and his Athletics.

I'd do the Yankees game but since ITS GON RAIN, I'll save that for tommorow.

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