Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Baseball 4Q: How Not to Gwynn the Wild Card

Well folks, the 2008 Mets are undefeated at 0-0.

Actually, instead of ranting and raving about this Met disaster.... my perspective is to learn from prior mistakes. Here is my take: The 2006 Mets went all the way to Game 7 of the National League Championship Series after GM Omar Minaya had spent the prior off season trying to strengthen the bullpen. Therefore, there was really no reason to shake the pen up for the '07 season... yet that is what the team did. They made it a focal point to re-sign Guilermo Mota despite his early season steroid suspension. Yet they decided to part with Heath Bell, Chad Bradford and Darren Oliver. This season, Bell went 6-4 with a 2.08 ERA for the Padres, Bradford was 4-3 with a 3.54 ERA for Baltimore, and Oliver was 3-1 with a 3.66 ERA for the Angels. Yet, the Mets thought it was a good idea to make a trade for a KC Royal named Ambrox Burgos. Burgos is out till mid 2008 after he had midseason surgery and despite a 1.10 WHIP in 23 innings he couldn't maintain a steady job with the big league bullpen. Yet the Mets thought that Burgos would make the team better so they traded away young Brian Bannister for him, and Bannister went 12-9 with an ERA under 4 despite the fact that he gave up 11 earned runs in his last 5 2/3 innings. Don't you think the Mets would have been better off keeping that '06 bullpen somewhat intact - and not acquiring Burgos? Heck, having Bannister around would have come in handy when Orlando Hernandez got injured in August,... And let's not minimize the loss of El Duque...aside from a few klunkers, he pitched very well this season. Of course blowing that 7 game lead, losing those last 7 games to the Phillies, and giving up those 7 runs in the first inning, didn't help this '07 team.

Who woulda thunk that that Funky Winkerbean's Lisa Moore character (whose inappropriately intense suffering in the comics was blasted in this blog last week) would last longer than the '07 Mets? Readers of last weeks column are probably aware that the character is on her way out the door. Thanks to a link I found on the Stuck Funky blog, I found out her time will be coming on Thursday. This poses an intereseting question for my Jewish friends. Thursday is the Jewish Holiday of Shemini Atzeret where we go to the synagogue and say a Prayer for the Sick and later in the services, the Yizkor - Prayer for the Dead. What prayer do you say for Lisa? What happens if you go to services before you read the paper? I always try to read Pearls Before Swine before I leave in the morning, and it's right under Funky... what happens if I accidentally see it? And in the Wednesday strip her subconscious was starting to be led away by a man in a suit wearing a facemask...who is the angel who leads comic strip characters to Heaven? Charles Schulz?? And I hope her husband can afford their daughter's health insurance. Our wonderful President Bush just vetoed a Congressional bill that would provide more money for children's health care. I guess that horrible man needs to spend more money on an Iraq war that is helping his preserve his oh so precious oil money!

What a crazy end to the 2007 Regular Season... The Padres were a strike away from icing a playoff spot in the same season that local legend Tony Gwynn was inducted to The Hall of Fame.. yet it was his son Tony Jr. who came up for the Brewers and got the hit that forced the Pods into a crazy marathon extra inning one game playoff against the ridiculously hot Colorado Rockies.

Last year at the conclusion of the '06 Regular Season, we did a column questioning why baseball doesn't delay the start of the playoffs in case a team has to play a tie breaker. Had the Mets not choked, there could have been a 4 way wild card and division tie that would have forced the Rockies to play another game in another city after the Monday Night marathon. Baseball listened because the playoff schedule has been tinkered with... Game 7 of the Wold Series is scheduled for November 1. I don't have much else to quibble with with MLB other than the Mets, plus I am a bit baseball-ed out after 6 grueling months of managing my fantasy team. I finished 2nd - (and I was kind of hoping Brad Hawpe would have come up in that 13th inning so he could hit his 30th homer and give me six 30 home run hitters) and now that baseball fantasy season is over, it's time to spend quality time with Trophy Wife! Wait till she finds out I signed up for an NHL Fantasy League!

Looking back at our preseason picks, I actually picked the Phillies to win the East and the D-Backs in the West. As for the Mets, I didnt think they had enough in the tank... (see the March 25 column) Check out this Pumpstradamus-esque sentence about the Mets from that column,....

"The team will get a big pickup as Glavine gets closer to the magical 300 win mark - but they will not cruise to the NL East as they did in 2006."

Boy is that an understatement!

I picked the D-backs for the wrong reason... I thought Randy Johnson would have an impact - he really didn't and I still haven't quite figured out how they won that division.. Eric Byrnes hit 21 homers and drove in 50 bases.., while rookie Chris Young narrowly missed a 30-30 season hitting 32 homers and stealing 27 bases. My other 2 playoff picks from the NL were the Mets as the Wild Card and the Astros in the mediocre Central. I did pick the Cubs as my surprise team of 2007 and I was quite surprised how lousy the Astros turned out in '07.

In The American League I picked 3 of the 4 playoff teams in March.. the only team I missed was the Sox.. I picked the Chi Sox instead..another team whose horrible play was very startling.. What the heck happened to Jose Contreras? I still can't figure out why a team with this much talent did so poorly,. Is it the manager?? I was so high on them and the Indians that I thought the Wild Card just had to come out of this division.. And the Indians didn't disappoint.. even though Cliff Lee had a horrendous year, young Fausto Carmona came out and turned in a fantastic season. CC Sabathia and Carmona will be getting a lot of attention when they give The Yankees fits during the first round. More on that later in this column...

In the August 24th column, I announced my post season award predictions.. its impossible to predict that in the beginning of the year...... and I gotta tell you, I am writing this in the 13th inning of the Monday Night game and if Matt Holliday doesnt get the MVP, I'll be a monkey's uncle. David Wright came awfully close though. The AL MVP pick remains the same... Not only does ARod win in a landslide...but he also had enough time to impregnate his wife!! Will anybody else even get a vote? For Cy Young, I took Jake Peavy in the NL... that seems to be the most logical pick, but my AL pick was Seattle stopper JJ Putz. The Mariners faded, so it looks like it might be Sabathia instead. For Rookie of the Year - Ryan Braun in the NL, and it looks like my August pick of Dice-K will be replaced by his teammate Dustin Pedroia.

In the original April column, I picked the Mets over the Phils in the NLCS>.... that is not gonna happen obviously... But I did pick the Indians over the Angels in the ALCS.. My Mets over Indians pick won't happen but will Cleveland make it in my Post Season Mulligan Picks column??

Here are my picks for the post season.

The Rockies are sending the Phillies home... that weak pitching staff has no chance against the Rocky hitters. Colorado's hitters are almost as good as The Yankees.

The Cubs over the D-Backs.. I'm not too impressed with the D-Backs after Brandon Webb

I see The Rockies knocking off the Cubbies to go to the World Series. Wouldnt it be funny if the Rockies fly in Steve Bartman for the game and give him free tickets and a free glove with a seat in the front row?

Over in the AL.. I wasn't so sure about the Angels beating the Red Sox, but after his great outing Saturday, it looks like Kelvim Escobar is ok and not injured and he and John Lackey and Jered Weaver form an incredible Top 3. So I take the Angels to knock off the Bosox.

I am also picking Cleveland over the Yankees.. although the Indians might have to balance Sabathia and Carmona the way the '01 Diamondbacks pitched Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. I have been throwing the '01 World Series at all the Yankee fans who have been picking on me this week about The Mets! And for those Yankee fans salivating over stopper Joe Borowski (who drove me bonkers on my rotis team especially with those 2 blown saves against Seattle last week!!)... I think he will be on a short leash with Bettencourt one blown Borowski save away from taking over.

I'm sticking with The Indians to win the Pennant for an incredibly exciting Indian-Rocky World Series.. with a lot of nail biting Borowski 9th innings!! Although Matt Holliday batting against him sort of reminds me of of Joe Carter batting against Mitch Williams in the early 90s. This look likes it's going to be one fun post season!! My prediction is...

Cleveland is going to lose Lisa Moore... but they are gaining a World Series Crown!!!

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK: Amazingly and incredibly Pumpstradamus is 4-0 this season... This week we go to NY, home of my beloved Mets for the battle between The Giants and The Jets. Pumpy originally wanted to pick The Giants because they play at Giants Stadium where he had seen a Phil Collins concert the week before... but when informed that the Jets played there too, he requested a mulligan. The Giants are 3 point favorites... Sayeth the Pump: "Since I picked the Jets over the Sharks in West Side Story, I pick the Jets over the Giants"

UNBIASED GIANTS FAN PICK OF THE WEEK - Last week we were 1-2.. Year to date: 4-7-1

GIANTS 3 point faves over The Jets - The Giants, of course!

Detroit 3 1/2 doggies to WASHINGTON - Take the Lions... aside from the Eagles game, they have looked quite good this season... 34 points in the 4th quarter last week? Wow!!

BILLS 10 doggies to Dallas - That home dogs on Monday Night didn't work out too well last week, did it? The Cowboys better lose soon before we start thinking about Wild Card Races!

CLIP OF THE WEEK: Here is something uplifting for my fellow Met fans!

1 comment:

alberich said...

Happy Simchas Torah to Nate and to all!

Our wonderful President Bush just vetoed a Congressional bill that would provide more money for children's health care. I guess that horrible man needs to spend more money on an Iraq war that is helping his preserve his oh so precious oil money!

Ya know, Nate ... if you were to make statements like this on the TeeVee, all those "sensible moderates" would claim you are as much of a dirty hippy moonbat as I am. When did "sensible" start meaning "wanting to start wars that drain our national treasury"? I dunno ...