So we are all set for the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals to meet in the 2014 World Series. As a Mets fan this post season gets tougher and tougher to watch as we see ball parks full of fans (notice no empty seats at either AT&T or the K during games? No one hiding in clubs or standing on line for 3 innings for a hamburger) cheering their ass’s off. It kills us to watch this, it hurts our blue and orange hearts as we want sooooooooooooooooo baddddddddddddddddddddly to have an October like we had in the 80’s and at the start of the new millennium.
Many of us have been there, we know the feeling the cranks of SF and KC are going through. We’ve also felt the pain of the Cardinal and Oriole fan as well. But right now we are in baseball fan limbo. Our beloved Mets are neither the worst team in baseball but are far from the best. We have hope in our young pitchers and the fact that you can win with starting pitching that can go 6 or 7 innings as long as you have a deep and effective bullpen. The Mets are on the verge of possessing both. But we lack the right leader to orchestrate the strategic pitching moves needed to win.
Bruce Bochy taught Mike Matheny a lesson last night and I hope our manager was taking notes. Matheny left Michael Wacha hung out to dry instead of going to Trevor Roesnthal in the 9th inning. Bochy, with the knowledge that his closer Santiago Casilla, who has been a lock down closer for the Giants all season , was working for the third day in a row and was showing signs of overthrowing, waited until Oscar Taveras was announced as a pinch hitter to go bring in Jeremy Affeldt for the lefty v. left matchup which was won by Affeldt.
Matheny then makes a move in the bottom of the 9th inning that will be discussed and dissected for years and years but may in fact lead to a change in pig headed philosophy in baseball. Instead of going with his closer Trevor Rosenthal because under the Gospel according to Tony LaRussa,”though shall not use thy closer in a tie game on the road”. That’s fine for a Sunday game in August but here were the Cardinals fighting for their post season life. At this point you go with the best arm you have which is Rosenthal, not a pitcher who has not thrown a meaningful pitch in 3 weeks and who has been hampered by a sore shoulder.
From the outset you could see Wacha was not comfortable as he was squinting to get the signs from catcher Tony Cruz. First batter Pablo Sandoval wasted no time with a first pitch single to center. After Hunter Pence flied out (Sandy Alderson must start twitching when watching the Giants hit, there’s no hunting for strikes with them it just see it and rip it) to bring up Brandon Belt. After seeing how aggressive Sandoval and Pence were, Wacha tried to keep his pitches down in the zone, problem is he never came close to the strike zone, walking Belt on 4 pitches. How in the world does Matheny just sit back and not bounce out of the dugout and summon Rosenthal? Or Marco Gonzalez or Randy Choate for the lefty v. lefty matchup against Travis Ishikawa? It leads one to believe that Matheny lost confidence in his pen. You just knew when the count to Ishikawa went to 2-0 (6 straight pitches out of the strike zone by Wacha) that he was going to be swinging from his heels at the next pitch. Sure enough the 2-0 pitch was down and in, just where left handed hitters like it, and Ishikawa swung and became an immortal player in Giants history.