Tag Archives: Billy Wagner

Grandpa goes phishing

Jamie Moyer 9-0 against he the Marlins.

I don’t how to describe him anymore – old, wise, crafty. All cliches. Let’s just say: 8 innings, 2 hits, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk. And a no-hitter into the 6th. Moyer has 237 career wins. I don’t think he’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but I bet he makes it in eventually. He’s a great guy, and I think he deserves it. Never underestimate a player’s personality and how that affects voters.

The Phils offense just wasn’t getting the breaks against he Marlins. 22 men left on base last night! 12 on Wednesday and 14 on Tuesday. Considering the explosion they had the week before, I’ll let it slide. But I hate streaky teams. Consistency is key to success. Explosive or anemic won’t take you very far.

Scott Olsen pitched great for the Marlins. But his best play of the night was probably breaking up Moyer’s no-no with a liner off of Chase Utley‘s glove.

Brad Lidge pitched a much more Lidge-like save, only letting one man on base. Make that 18/18. What’s that Billy?

-Greg Berlin

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Wagner with men on base

Not that it matters so much now that Billy Wagner blew his third consecutive save, this one of the starting the ninth inning variety, but I still researched the split I referenced in yesterday’s rant post criticizing Willie Randolph‘s decision to have Mike Pelfrey start the ninth inning.

Wagner with no men on base in 2008: 60 PA, .158 BA, .446 OPS, 9 H, 3BB, 18 SO

Wagner with men on base in 2008: 43 PA, .244 BA, .670 OPS, 10 H, 1 BB, 13 SO

These numbers don’t include the blown save yesterday, by the way. So there you have it, the statistical basis for why Willie almost blew it in Wednesday’s game, only to be saved by Carlos Beltran‘s bat.

-Jonathan Kraft

Phew! Billy and Willie are saved

What a game last night, as Mike Pelfrey (8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO) outdualed Arizona ace Brandon Webb, in a 13-inning thriller that should have ended calmly in the ninth. Instead, due to what I believe was a poor decision by Willie Randolph, Billy Wagner gave up a three-run home run to Mark Reynolds that tied the game. In my view, Pelfrey should have been pinch-hit for in the bottom of the eighth, which would have let Wagner come on in the ninth with the bases clear. I’m not sure what Billy’s percentage of blown saves is with baserunners already aboard when he enters the game, but I’m sure when I look it up later I’ll find that it’s much higher than without baserunners aboard.

Pelfrey was through 110 pitches (a career high) in the 8th. He led off the bottom of that inning. Now, obviously, there are two conflicting schools of thought here. One would let the starter bat so that he could finish off his gem of a game, and go for the complete-game shutout. The other would play it safe for the team, and pinch-hit for the pitcher, trying to stimulate a rally and buy more insurance runs, letting the elite closer finish out the game, giving the starter what should be an automatic win.

It’s incredible how two fans can disagree about such a thing. MetsBlog’s Matt Cerone takes the first approach, even going so far as to say that Willie shouldn’t have pulled Pelfrey after he allowed a baserunner in the top of the ninth with no outs. I completely disagree, and think that it was a terrible idea for Willie to let Pelfrey bat in the eighth. Sure, I understand that it’s great to go for the complete game shutout for Pelfrey, a guy who’s arm is integral to the team’s future success. But Pelfrey is only one of twenty-five, and, in this situation, you have to play it safe. Sure, it’s Wagner who ultimately allowed the home run, but that lead baserunner would never have been aboard if Pelfrey hadn’t started the ninth inning.

The good news is that Carlos Beltran bailed everybody out, walking off with a long ball to end the game in the 13th. The bad news is that the Mets take the field this afternoon, with very little rest for an already banged-up team.

By the way, I now agree that Mike Pelfrey belongs on this team. He’s shown flashes in the past, but this year, despite a few roadblocks, his flashes have been closer and closer together. I think he’s finally turning the corner. Good for you, Big Pelf.

-Jonathan Kraft

Soggy Mets

I’ve always been a cynical sports fan. That’s what happens when you root for the Mets and Jets. But I think I sank to a new low last night when, watching David Wright poke a two-run shot in the second inning, my first reaction was “this isn’t going to be enough.” And after the tornado rain delay in the seventh, the Mets went on to prove me right, as Joe Smith and Duaner Sanchez shit a collective brick to give the game away to the struggling D-Backs. By the way, John Maine needs to figure out a way to get his pitch count down. There’s no excuse for having to turn to the bullpen so early when the team’s elite young pitcher is on the mound.

As a Mets fan, last night’s game was hard to watch. But as a baseball fan, there was something very refreshing that happened in the seventh inning. As Pedro Feliciano took the mound, Shea Stadium became the stage for a revival of the Wizard of Oz, with everything and anything swirling around the field. My experience in the last few years with impending weather at ballgames is that umpires will assume nothing until it becomes impossible to play the game. Everyone knew that the heavens were about to open on Flushing. Everyone expected to get wet. But instead of letting this happen, the umpires decided to stop the game right then and there. It turned out to be a great decision, as the grounds crew (with the help of Scott Schoeneweiss and Billy Wagner) got the tarp out there just in time.

MLB’s handling of rain delays has really bugged me this year. Baseball is so inclined not to postpone or cancel games due to so many factors that players are often put in harm’s way as a result. Recently I saw Odalis Perez leave a soaking wet Washington mound injured after it started pouring at a Nationals Cardinals game. The injury, no doubt, was a result of the conditions on the field. It just isn’t worth the risk.

-Jonathan Kraft

So is this Mr. Hyde?

This year’s New York Mets have shown flashes of brilliance, but have quickly slid back into mediocrity. The Mets limped home to Shea Stadium last week having gone 2-5 on the week, including a four-game sweep by the Braves at Turner Field. But they came home and made a statement, winning important series against the Marlins and the Dodgers.

Leading the way for the Mets was good starting pitching, including a great performance by Mike Pelfrey and, of course, an awesome outing by Johan Santana. Backing those efforts on the mound were superb weeks by Mets hitters, led by David Wright. David hit .407, .515, .741 with 2 HR and 6 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.256. Jose Reyes hit .367, .457, .767 with 3 HR and 4 RBI on the week for an OPS of 1.224. Luis Castillo emerged from mediocrity, hitting .348, .464, .652 with 2 HR and 4 RBI for an OPS of 1.116. And Carlos Beltran woke up, hitting .320, .438, .600 with 2 HR and 5 RBI for an OPS of 1.038.

Of course, there are still problems. Carlos Delgado is still not hitting. The starting rotation is still sketchy behind Santana and John Maine. Any reliever not named Billy Wagner, Scott Schoeneweiss, or Joe Smith terrifies me. But Ryan Church has returned to the lineup, as has the swagger of 2006. The question is, will this Mets team continue to play to its potential and win these important games, or will it go lose a series to a terrible San Francisco team and continue its slide from grace? Will Willie Randolph be redeemed by his club’s performance, or will he become a scapegoat yet again? It’s time for the Mets to step it up and prove that this last week was not a fluke, and that the 12th inning victory against the Marlins was a true turning point, not a rare glimpse of what could have been.

-Jonathan Kraft

A Character Win

When people speculate what can spark a team’s turn-around, they often look to an extra-innings win as a catalyst. It’s impossible to say that one game can remedy a season of mediocrity, but the New York Mets certainly made a statement Wednesday night, winning in the 12th inning on a Fernando Tatis walk-off double.

On the back of Tatis, an unlikely hero, the Mets take the series from first-place Florida, making a strong statement in the first series of the homestand after a roadtrip to forget. Of course, taking two from the Yankees elicited the same sort of “turn-around” talk from Mets fans.

But what was different last night was the fact that every part of the Mets team contributed to the victory. Oliver Perez wasn’t dominant, but still struck out seven despite giving up four earned runs in six innings. Aaron Heilman looked brilliant in two innings of work, striking out four in two innings. Scott Schoeneweiss and Billy Wagner were phenomenal in an inning each. Endy Chavez forced extras with a pinch-hit home run. Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes also homered. David Wright walked twice. And then there was Tatis, the forgotten star, who is to the Mets right now what Angel Pagan was in Spring Training–invaluable.

Sure, there were faults. The Mets left ten on base, to start. That’s been a problem all year, and it continues. The Mets are a talented team. What they have needed all year is a spark, something to start the engine of a lineup that should be producing a heck of a lot more than it has. Only time will tell, but a win like last night’s, a series win like this one, might be what it takes to jump-start this team.

-Jonathan Kraft

Around the Beast

Nationals 5-Brewers 1

Jeff Suppan pitched well for Milwaukee until the sixth, when the [long-absent] Washington offense came alive. After J.J. Hardy mishandled a double-play ball, the Nats broke through, scoring on doubles by Ryan Zimmerman and Jesus Flores and on a Lastings Milledge sacrifice ground ball. Wily Mo Peña his his first home run of the year earlier in the first inning, and Suppan drove in the Brewers’ only run of the game.

Odalis Perez pitched well for the Nationals (5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 84 P) but left with a no-decision. Brian Sanches, just called up from Triple-A Columbus, struck out the side in the sixth and was credited with the win. Saul Rivera, Luis Ayala, and Jon Rauch closed the door for Washington.

Rockies 5-Mets 4 (F/13)

The Mets dropped their fifth straight game as Matt Holliday hit a walk-off single in the 13th off of Aaron Heilman after homering off of Billy Wagner in the ninth to tie the game (Wagner’s second blown save of the year). It was a back and forth game as neither team dominated on the mound.

Oliver Perez was all over the place for the Mets, going 5 innings allowing 6 hits for 4 earned runs, walking 8 and striking out only 2, and allowing a home run on 110 pitches (just 56 for strikes). Rookie starter Greg Reynolds never dominated for the Rockies, going 6 full innings allowing 4 earned runs on 4 hits, walking 3, striking out 5, and allowing 2 home runs on just 84 pitches thrown. He left the game after allowing back-to-back home runs to Carlos Delgado and Fernando Tatis (who replaced the injured Marlon Anderson) in the 6th.

Driving in runs for the Mets were Luis Castillo, Delgado, Tatis, and Jose Reyes, who got in the home plate umpire’s face after being called out on a very low strike three in the 13th. Garrett Atkins, Clint Barmes, and Holliday drove in runs for the Rockies.

Astros 5-Phillies 4

Brandon Backe was superb for the Astros, giving up just one run in 7.1 innings pitched, striking out 6 and walking one. Adam Eaton didn’t pitch terribly for the Phillies (7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO,2 HR, 96 P), but couldn’t keep the ball in the park, giving up two home runs to Hunter Pence.

Also driving in runs for the Astros were former Phillie Michael Bourn (who also stranded three on base), and Carlos Lee (his 36th of the season). For the Phillies, Pat Burrell homered in his second-straight game and Pedro Feliz and Jimmy Rollins also drove runs in.

Diamondbacks 11-Braves 1

Doug Davis returned from cancer surgery in unbelievable fashion, shutting the hot-hitting Braves lineup down for 7 innings, allowing just one earned run on 5 hits, walking 2 and striking out 4 on 89 pitches. His team responded, taking batting practice off of Jo-Jo Reyes (5.0 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 3 HR) and Chris Resop (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR).

Homering for the D-Backs were Stephen Drew, Eric Byrnes, Conor Jackson, Chris Young, and Mark Reynolds. Whew. Kelly Johnson drove in the only Atlanta run of the night.

Giants 8-Marlins 2

Scott Olsen finally came back down to Earth, surrendering 5 earned runs off of 8 hits in just 3.1 innings pitched, walking 3, striking out 2, and allowing a home run on 81 pitches. Olsen drops to 4-2. He was relieved by Doug Waechter, Renyel Pinto, and Tyler Tankersley, who all pitched much more effectively. Dan Uggla homered for Florida (his 15th of the year) in the ninth, driving in both Marlins runs of the evening.

Barry Zito finally got his first win of the season, giving up just one earned run in 6.1 innings of work, walking 4 and striking out 5. Bengie Molina and Jose Castillo homered for the Giants. Aaron Rowand drove in three runs, and Rich Aurilia drove in two more for San Francisco.

Brett Carroll had to leave the game in the fourth inning after separating his right shoulder. He’ll be placed on the 15-day disabled list.