Thursday, June 21, 2012
Random thoughts from Orioles-Mets
By David Schoenfield
I met up with SweetSpot TV pal, Baseball Today podcast host and man of all seasons Eric Karabell last night at Citi Field for some baseball. A few observations:
- The Orioles can't screw around with their outfield much longer. Chris Davis is not a right fielder but at least he's hitting. Ryan Flaherty played left field and he not only isn't a left fielder, he can't hit. He had a miscommunication with Adam Jones on one play and dropped a fly ball, leading to an unearned run. Later, he had a terrible jump on a David Wright shallow fly/blooper that dropped for a hit, essentially opening the door for two more Mets runs. Considering he has 23 strikeouts and one walk, he's bringing nothing to the table right now. As a Rule 5 pick, they have to keep him on the roster all season or make a deal with the Cubs if they wanted to keep him and send him down to Triple-A. Anyway, with Nick Markakis looking like he may be out now until at least the All-Star break and Nolan Reimold still out indefinitely, the Orioles can't afford to keep playing their alignments. Steve Pearce has also been playing some outfield but, like Davis, he's really a first baseman. Throw in Wilson Betemit at third and defense is a big problem for the O's.
- Interesting scenario in the ninth thanks to the always shaky Frank Francisco: With the score 4-2 and the bases loaded with two outs, Francisco faced Pearce. Do you play the outfield more shallow to give your outfielders a chance to throw out the tying run at home plate on a base hit, or do you play deep to prevent an extra-base that would clear the bases? The Mets decided to play the outfield in. It didn't come in to play as Pearce walked (and Francisco got Brian Roberts to ground out to end it).
- Francisco gave up two singles and two walks but somehow held on to convert his 17th save in 20 chances. No, it's not pretty with him, not with a 5.14 ERA. Heck, Aroldis Chapman has the same number of blown saves. Really just proof that you can be a mediocre reliever and still convert a high percentage of your save opportunities.
- Ike Davis did hit a grand slam on Monday, but he continues to struggle. Not sure how much longer the Mets can stick with him at first base. He has two home runs in his last 107 at-bats and is hitting .121 with one home run at home. Maybe call him up just for road trips, the first-ever home/road platoon!
- Solid effort from Dillon Gee. Over his last seven starts he has a 3.02 ERA and has held opponents to a .198 average. His overall ERA isn't much different from last season, but his underlying numbers are much improved, with a significantly lower walk rate and higher walk rate. For a No. 4 starter, you could do a lot worse.
- The Mets must be trying to save money on their power bill. Most teams turn their scoreboard on before the crowd enters the ballpark. The Mets turned theirs on about an hour before the game. And it was shut off about five minutes after the game ended as fans were still filing out.
- Eric doesn't think the Mets are serious considers. In the National League ... I say anything is possible.