Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Notes From Pedro’s Return:

Since Pedro’s return happened on a night game on the west coast and was thus missed by most reasonable people (also, apparently, something happened last night with that election thing? It was really stupid of them to schedule that on the night Pedro came back; don’t they know some of us have priorities?), I am offering the notes that I took on it. Pedro opposed Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants.

Top of the first:
-Reyes has a kind of “eh” at bat and gets on with an error, or near error, by Giants 3B
-Easley batting 2nd? well he gets a hit, Reyes to 3rd, so working out ok so far.
What’s Easley’s OBP? [.268]Does Willy Randolph know the answer to this question?
-Wright sac fly gets in Reyes
-Beltran takes first 2 pitches, grounds into a double play.

Bottom 1st:
-Leadoff man, Fred Lewis, hits the second pitch for a single.
-Ray Durham, 2B: Pedro throws two balls, not looking great, at all. Durham flies out.
-Randy Winn: Lewis steals second, Castro makes a shitty throw that ends up in the outfield, Reyes works on getting away from the sliding runner, not catching the bad throw, not sure what he should have done, Winn hits a double, scoring Lewis, shity.
-Bengie Molina: Pedro is throwing pretty hard (91). Gets up 2-0 then, throws two curveballs for balls. Molina is fouling pitches off pretty well. Molina hits a ground ball; Reyes gets Winn going to third, nice play by Reyes, rotten base running by Winn, Molina to first.
-Rowand flies out on first pitch.

I guess you take this from Pedro. I guess this looks kind of good. His velocity is in low 90s. He seems a little tentative, but fuck do I know? Two hits, 1 ground out, 2 fly outs.

Top 2nd:
-Church flies out.
-Tatis starts out looking overmatched by Zito’s curve, but hits a double.

pretty pitches are deceptively seductive: often the impression that you take from an at bat will be a very good looking pitch, which will distract you from the end result and the pitcher’s ability to control the at bat, or put the hitter away. I think this has a lot to do with the overvaluation of Zito that has been going on throughout the guy’s career.

-Carlos Delgado, down 0-2, looking pretty bad. Starts watching the curve, takes 2 balls, 3 balls, hits a bloop that gets caught.
-Walks Castro to get to Pete.
-Pedro swings, he wants to get a hit. Grounds out.

Bottom 2nd:
-Bowker 4 pitch walk.
-Rich Aurilia: Pedro makes two nice pitches, 3rd pitch does not miss by much. Throws a couple more balls, Aurilia flies out.
-Vizquel: grounds out, after going up 3-0
[On the ticker: Detroit Piston’s coach Flip Saunders is Fired! Yes!Yes!]
-Zito: grounds out.

Top 3rd:
-Reyes: Reyes really looks like he has his shit together, 3-0, but then gets out on a pop foul. Ball looked like it was going into the stands, but then blew in towards a fielder and was caught; Reyes stands at the plate for a while, looking hurt and pissed
-Easley base hit.
-Wright looking good; draws a walk.
-Beltran: goes up 3-0, but pops out.
-Church flies out.

In that inning Zito looked damn bad, but the Mets were not quite able to turn that into runs. Perhaps his shakiness, ertaticness, hides some ability to control the inning? Nah. Mets just weren’t being that good, and Reyes getting out was a wind related fluke.

Bottom 3rd:
-Lewis: groundball. Reyes makes a nice play to just get him at 1st, should have been safe due to lousy footwork by Delgado, but ump doesn’t notice.
-Durham draws a walk.
-Winn: strikes out, looking good Pete.
-Molina groundball to Easely end the inning.

Top 4th:
Zito looked rotten in that last frame; let’s put some runs up for Pedro, folks.
-Tatis: strikes out.
-Delgado: walks.
-Castro: hits a ball hard, but a nice play by Lewis gets him out.
-Pedro, first pitch swinging, base hit, looks pleased but confused on first base.
-Reyes: grounds out.

Bottom 4th:
-Rowand flies out on a nice play by Church.

The guys are talking about Juan Marichel, w/o mentioning that Marichel was Pedro’s partner in the cockfight video; apparently the dude was a baseball player.

-Bowker hits a ball to Tatis, looks like Tatis could have made the catch, doesn’t, manages to get a close throw to 2nd, but Bowker ruled safe, I think it could have gone either way, lousy play by Tatis not making the catch.
-someone grounds Bowker over.
-walking Vizquel to get to Zito. Vizquel hasn’t been hitting for crap, apparently, so this seems insane.
-Zito grounds out. But now they have to face top of the order in the next frame.

Top 5th
-Easley: draws a walk. Powermind in full force.
-David Wright: base hit, Easley to 2nd.
-Beltran: Keith is talking about a bunt. Beltran, do not fucking bunt. Beltran hits the first pitch for a double, scoring Easley.
-Church sac fly, scores Wright, Beltran to 3rd.
-Walks Tatis, runners at the corners.
-Delgado: shity defense by SS Vizquel, Tatis safe at 2nd, Delgado to first, Beltran scores.
-Zito leaves the game.
-Castro gets a base hit of off new pitcher Chulk (?) to load the bases.
-Pedro gets his second fucking hit of the night, scoring Tatis. Looking extremely happy and animated standing at first.
-Reyes hits a ball for what would have been a double play against any little league team, but a run scores and the bases stay loaded.
-Easley double scores everyone.
-Wright flies out, what a loser.
-Beltran flies out. Apparently this was the biggest inning of the Mets season. Good job everyone.

Bottom 5th:
-Lewis hits a ground rule double.
-Pinch hitter singles, Lewis to 3rd.
-Wynn singles, Lewis scores, runners on first and second, no one out. 9-2, Mets.
-Fly out, advances runners.
-Rowand: groundout, scores a run
-fly out ends the inning.

Now, if they pitched to Vizquel in the 4th and got him out, not unlikely since Vizquel is something like 1 for his last 30, and Zito leads off the 5th inning with an out (by far the most likely outcome of a Zito at-bat), this is only a one run inning. Although, since they lifted Zito in the 5th, it probably would have been a pinch hitter. Still, I think walking the 8th hitter to get to the pitcher is a questionable tactical move.

Top 6th:
-Church gets on, on another absolutely pathetic defensive play. Give credit to the Mets for taking advantage, but the main thing to take away from this is that the Giants are god awful.

Cohen: it looks like Pedro is going out for the 6th inning.
Keith: Unless they have Claude Rains warming up in the bullpen.
Cohen: Or Ralph Ellison.

-Tatis: Church advances to 2nd on a passed ball, Tatis grounds out.
-Delgado grounds out, moves Church to third.
-Castro: takes ball one, Pedro looks ecstatic trotting into the on deck circle, but Castro pops out to end the inning.

Bottom 6th:
-Rich Aurilia doubles.
-Vizquel singles, Aurilia to 3rd.
-Pinch hitter, Brian Horrowitz: strikes out.
-Lewis: strikes out.
-Denker (?) grounds out.

Awesome. So, assuming, and I think safely, that Pedro is done, he has given just a quality start. Still, that’s pretty awesome after all the lay off. Also, I like how after he got runners on the corners in that last inning, he was like “fuck it. I’m Pedro, you’re the Giants, no more runs for you,” 2 Ks, and a grounder.

Top 7th:
-Nick Evens, pinch hitting for Pedro: strikes out.
-Reyes flies out.
-Easley: flies out.

Bottom 7th:
Smith pitching, 1-2-3 inning on 3 groundballs.

Top 8th:
-Wright: flies out.
-Beltran: flies out.
-Church: grounds out.

Bottom 8th:
Feliciano pitches.
-Bowker: pops out to Castro.
-Aruilia strikes out.
-Vizquel: grounds out, on a really nice play by David Wright.

Top 9th:
-I miss the first two batters do to a test of the emergency broadcast system. Castro flies out.

Bottom 9th:
Schoenewies pitching.
-Walks the first batter.
-Walks Lewis.
-Travis Denker hits a 3 run homer, wonderful.
-Wynn hits a ball to Easely, one away.
-Bengei Molina singles, Shoenewies out, Wagner on.
-Wagner throws two pitches, gets a double play, put it in the books.

Hard to know what to make of this one. Not only do the Giants run a butcher shop in the field, but they lack any particularly dominant/competent hitters, so it’s hard to know how much was Pedro, and how much was the sub-par offense. Also, Zito has been pitching badly and definitely pitched badly tonight, so it’s hard to know how much credit to give the Mets hitters. Indeed, if Scott Boras (Zito’s agent) wasn’t such money grubbing twit, Zito would probably have signed with the Mets after ’06, which means they couldn’t have signed Santana. Willy Randolph and Omar Minaya should chip in and get Boras a fruit basket or something since if Zito had pitched like this for the Mets, both of them would have been killed by an angry mob.

At the same time, the Mets took enough of the breaks they were given, and all around did a nice job. In the 5th, for example, Delgado hit a ball that probably could have been a double play, but everyone was safe and a run scored; while the Giants should have made the play, the end result was also due to Delgado and Tatis both hustling. Everything from Pedro seems encouraging, particularly that his velocity was in the low 90s. I think the real lesson is that the Mets should try to see if they could get that kid Lewis away from the Giants for a questionable minor leaguer and an old Jose Lima baseball card, since the Giants obviously don’t seem to be that good at running a ball club; Lewis made some nice plays in the field, and Keith likes his swing. Batting Easely 2nd, at least tonight, worked beautifully.

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