Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mets' version of 'Takin' Care of Business'

The Mets play "Takin' Care of Business" after every win. But this song is no more appropriate for this franchise than former eighth-inning singalong "Sweet Caroline." Especially not today.

At least the Mets did not let Tony Bernazard fly out with them to California only to fire him at 3 a.m. New York time, as they did with Willie Randolph last year. Then again, Omar Minaya would have been better off holding his news conference at a time when hardly anyone would be watching.

Only in the world of the Mets could the team finally start turning it around, thanks in large part to Jeff Francoeur, only to have Jon Heyman start twittering possible new GM candidates. Minaya's trade for Francoeur could turn out to be one of his best - and his last.


There was a time when winning three in a row while scoring 25 runs was routine for the Mets. Now it's worthy of curtain calls for the entire team.

Call me Eeyore, but I'm not ready to treat signs of life as pennant fever. Especially when the Mets won despite more questionable moves on the field.

In the sixth inning, with Luis Castillo on second and David Wright on first and none out, Daniel Murphy singled to shallow right. Third base coach Razor Shines held up Castillo, but Castillo ran through the stop sign.

Shines' eagerness to wave everyone home whatever the odds of success has been one of the most frustrating aspects of the 2009 Mets. It has not always been clear that he even has a stop sign. Finally, he uses it, only to have Castillo ignore it.

And Castillo scored standing up.

What Castillo noticed was right fielder Brad Hawpe throwing to second to prevent Wright from advancing to third. So Castillo alertly raced home and scored easily. Castillo was able to steal a glance at Hawpe despite the fact that Castillo's back was to the play.

What exactly was Shines looking at? The out-of-town scoreboard? Why was Castillo able to see what Hawpe was doing, but not Shines?

Back when Shines was waving everyone home, it sometimes seemed as if that was his instruction, to send runners regardless of the actual circumstances of the play. Perhaps he had the opposite instruction in the sixth - hold the runner regardless of what else is happening on the field.

Fortunately, at least Castillo was paying attention to what was actually going on.

In the eighth, the Mets again had Castillo and Wright on second and first with none out and Daniel Murphy coming up. But this time, Jerry Manuel decided to have Murphy bunt. At least Murphy now knows how to lay one down - the runners advanced to second and third.

Now the Mets had their biggest RBI threat, Jeff Francoeur coming up. And, thanks to Manuel's maneuvering, first base was open. So Francoeur was walked, leaving the Mets to rely on the dregs of the lineup.

As it turned out, pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis hit a grand slam to win the game for the Mets. But the Mets won despite Manuel's strategy, not because of it. Manuel took the bat out of the hands of both cleanup hitter Murphy and five hitter Francoeur, leaving things up to the weak second half of the lineup.

If Manuel does not trust Murphy to hit in that spot, Murphy should not be hitting cleanup. In fact, why not bat Francoeur fourth and Murphy fifth? The righty-lefty back and forth works a lot better with names like Beltran, Wright and Delgado. Managers are not going to worry about bringing in a righty to face Wright and Francoeur just because lefty Murphy is between them.

But despite the dubious decisions and the off-the-field circus, the Mets were able to take care of business. What a wonderful world!


Albert said...

They'll do wat they can and watch as elvis would say takin care of business

I.M. Forme said...

shines is horrid and that ain't easy since his job is basically windmilling or not.

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