What is this 2005? The Mets threw three pitchers against the Braves on Tuesday, three old pitchers I might add, and came away with the win. It was a little scary for Mets fans in the 9th though. Valverde loaded the bases, but ended up locking it down in the end.
His message to the media after the game when asked what happened in the 9th?
“Bartolo Colon threw innings, Kyle Farnsworth threw one, I threw the ninth. Game over,” he added, with a hint of sarcasm. -from Metsblog
If it had been stress free that would be the answer, and since he got the save that is the answer. The box score certainly tells you that Valverde gave up two hits, and threw 25 pitches. But he also got the save. Does he need to say more than that?
Yunel Escobar signed a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Rays this past weekend. Escobar has long been thought to be a little bit of trouble in a clubhouse, yet the Rays had no problem adding him to the team for the future, though definitely at a good price, as Matt Klassen writes.
There is an old saying that when your winning, their are no problems with chemistry- and that is certainly true. And liking who you are playing alongside certainly can make you relax on the field and allow you to focus on what needs to happen to help your team win.
The Rays though have less problems with team chemistry than some teams. Why is that? Very hard to say, but things like this start at the top, and Joe Maddon certainly is the type of leader that allows for differences in character. Is Yunel Escobar a quality player on the field? Yes. So it makes sense that a good manager would want him to be successful off the field. Did his previous managers not care about such things? I am sure they did- but did they have the time or the skills to manage such things, perhaps not. Bobby Cox was from the old school, where the players manage the clubhouse. That is a great approach when things are going well, and you have some good veterans who can work with a young guy in a positive who might be a little bit different. But remember, these are young men trying to be leaders in that clubhouse. They don’t have a lot of training, and depending on their personal needs, they might be more interested in focusing on themselves than helping a young player grow accustomed to the United States and Major League Baseball. Toronto is similar, with less winning. There was little consistency with the manager. Now, the Rays have someone who can guide the player, and guide the the leaders in the clubhouse. Escobar has confidence in his ability to fit in and work there, and everyone is happy.
Klassen undervalues the confidence that comes for Escobar in this clubhouse when he analyzes the deal that was just signed. Escobar has to be happy or it wouldn’t have happened.
Bryce Harper told the media after Saturday’s game that he felt ‘pretty lost’ right now. When I player says that, then there is a problem. Does it mean terrible things for his season? Probably no. But right now, I’d be pulling him out of my fantasy team line-up, ha ha.
Less than 1% of those that play college ball ever play a day in the Major Leagues. Is that all talent? Mostly, yes, but confidence is a big factor, as is health. Harper has never lacked confidence, until you hear him say he feels lost.
The great news is there are a lot of resources for a guy like Harper. The other thing is we are only a few days into the season, and it really is probably too early for “lost” really to be the final state of things.
But players get out of slumps quicker if they avoid believing there is any kind of problem. And hopefully, an off-day or two will bring back that cocky Harper that can help the Nationals. Here is more from Mark Zuckerman.
The new review system has certainly been something to watch, with managers trying to find the proper strategy to use the darn thing. It will get better, both in terms of how the system works, but also in terms of how managers use it. I saw several Arizona Fall League games where managers were told to use it as often as possible, just to see if the technical aspects of the system worked. And though the program has been cut back since its initial announcement- managers were originally going to get an automatic second challenge in late innings- there still needs to be a learning curve for the managers in how to use it.
Tony LaRussa has some thoughts on that in this Tyler Kepner piece about the new system. Managers will get a little more careful in how they use this as it goes on, and honestly it isn’t the time delay we thought it would be. No more than a manager having a few fits with an umpire throughout the game.
Additionally, some have said that the new system should have someone on site, and here is Joe Torre’s response to that idea. Personally, I’m not completely sold, but I am ready to give it a chance.
Yasiel Puig is a great player. He is not the perfect player, as I think we all can agree. After being benched on Friday for showing up late to BP, Puig slid into first base, head first, and injured his thumb. He plays recklessly. Does it always work out for him? Nope. He did well enough last fall coupled with other bigger injuries in the line-up that no one was going to pull Puig out of the line-up for long. He wasn’t getting sent down until he could learn to think before acting, as might be done to another player. But it is a new year, and if the Dodgers are going to use his talents every day, they need to find a way to teach him to slow down and think through the process. The story can be about him everyday, but hopefully in a good way. Dan Le Batard, not my favorite writer because of his selling of his Hall of Fame Vote to a website this past off-season, writes that Puig should be looked at in a different context as he has a lot of cultural immersion issues. The piece is most interesting because of the other stories of lack of understanding of how things work in the US that have occurred with MLB players. And Le Batard tries to draw a parallel between Puig and Vladimir Guerrero. Frank Robinson was Guerrero’s first manager, and a very old school type that apparently wanted to be careful about correct Vlad’s errors, for fear he wouldn’t be understood correctly. According to Le Batard, Robinson just let him go on making errors, without ever doing much to about it, or even trying to understand his player. Now those quotes probably come from an interview around that time, but I find it hard to believe that Robinson really didn’t make any in-roads. I also find it hard to believe, as Le Batard tries to say, that Dodgers manager Don Mattingly first chose to go to the media with his criticism of Puig. I know the Dodgers organization well, and know for a fact that there is no way they haven’t added a slew of people around Puig to help him assimilate. The Dodgers today are not he Expos of hte 1990s. Puig is also not the same as Vlad, as even Le Batard points out. Vlad was a gentle soul, scared of all the newness. He wasn’t brash. He wasn’t arrogant, as Puig seems to be. So, if Mattingly is calling him out in the media than perhaps as fans we don’t need to be any more patient with him than his own manager. What do you think?
If you aren’t socially media adept, you may have missed the piece of video that went viral yesterday. Cardinal Matt Adams went into the stands to try to make a catch, which a fan ended up making. It was clearly in the stands, so no fan interference was called. As Adams was righting himself, he seems to shove the fan. Perhaps he was catching his balance, and perhaps he was retaliating for the perceived blocking of the ball. Hard to tell what was happening in the video, and Adams is surprised by the questioning afterwards, which kind of tells you he wasn’t spending a lot of time thinking about it.
Fans of both the Cardinals and the Reds feel some solid enmity for the other team, as well, so the fans reaction to Adams, which is a strong gesture with his non-gloved hand, certainly does not on its own mean that much happened. Here is a link to the MLB video of the moment. What do you think?
Mark Lerner, Principal Owner of the Washington Nationals, says the team has maxed out its budget. That means there is no more money to go out and find players, should the Nationals need them to make their expected run at a playoff this year. That could handcuff the GM a bit, or it could force him to become quite creative. Either way, fans shouldn’t be too concerned that ownership isn’t behind winning. The team currently has a $140 million payroll, and has some depth, so there are pieces that can be traded. Here is more from Adam Kilgore.
Lastly, I am trying to get back into the rhythm of blogging everyday. It helps when folks comment, so I know someone has missed the updates. I have also become much more active on social media, so make sure you check out @Johanna_Wagner on twitter or even instagram @lmt_johanna.